I’m a big advocate of always having your sales hat on (i.e., always being ready to close a sale anytime, anyplace, anywhere). It constantly amazes me how many business people disagree with this approach and how they actively turn business away
I recently ran into a small business owner who didn’t like selling. In fact, she seemed to actively go out of her way to avoid sales.
I’ve listed some of her more bizarre business tactics below. While they might appear quite comical, I unfortunately recognize many of these tactics (although perhaps not to the same extreme) in many of the small businesses I work with.
- No Clear Pricing Strategy: Have you ever heard of a retail outlet that didn’t mark its stock with prices? You have now. When a potential customer inquired about the price of a particular item, the business owner replied, “Oh, between $10 and $20,” but didn’t offer to explain the range in any more detail. The customer thanked the business owner and left empty-handed.
Hint: Remember the phrase, “If you have to ask, you cannot afford it”? Because of this axiom, people do not like asking for a price. If you are promoting a product or service on your website, via email marketing, social media, traditional print or broadcast media, or even at the point of sale and you are not clearly displaying a price, you are turning customers away.
- Didn’t Reply to Emails: This lady’s email inbox must be overflowing. According to my friend, who wants to spend serious money with this businessperson, despite several reminders, she just hasn’t gotten around to replying to any of her emails.
Hint: If your email campaigns are sent via a “no-reply” email address or you just don’t monitor your inbox, you could be turning away business. It is highly likely that you are carrying your email inbox around with you at all times on your smartphone. This gives you the opportunity to answer emails on the fly and turn inquiries into orders quickly and efficiently.
- Didn’t Answer the Phone: Do you treat your voice mail like a virtual PA and then not follow up on messages? This lady did; in fact, she told me that she rarely charged her cell phone and hated speaking to people on it. Somewhat bizarrely, however, she hands her business cards out like confetti and enthusiastically encourages any potential customers to call her.
Hint: While you might not be able to answer every phone call that comes in to your business, every lost call might be a lost opportunity. How many people hear your voice mail kicking in and just hang up?
- Couldn’t Be Bothered to Sell: Despite being a very active exhibitor at numerous business fairs, exhibiting was about as far as it went. Selling at these events was “too much hassle,” and she didn’t wanted to be bothered with taking cash away from her shop.
Hint: Take the opportunity to sell at all times. If you have stock on display, you are open for business. If you are unable to sell the items on display, you can, at the very least, take orders. Make sure you carry a small cash float, a receipt/invoice book and, if at all possible, the mechanism to accept credit card payments (PayPal has solutions that you can run from your mobile phone).
How this woman is still in business is beyond me. Perhaps she is taking the concept of a lifestyle business to the extreme and doesn’t need the income. Which of her bizarre business tactics do you recognize in your own business? Share your comments below:
This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.