How to have more work than you can handle

On the one hand it would be nice to have customers lined up at your door, (as long as they are the right customers) on the other hand don’t you just hate having to turn customers away?

What’s the secret? There isn’t one. It’s just a matter of picking up the phone and calling those prospects you have sent quotes to. (and no, don’t send them another email. If you want to win the business, a phone call is the only way to go)

There are some alarming statistics on the number of times quotes are sent, but not chased up. Google it and you’ll see. But more importantly I bet you have heard customers say, “you were not the cheapest quote but you got my business because you called back to see if I had received the quote” Or to put it another way, your competitors did not call back.

How many quotes have you sent out in the last 2 months? How many calls have you made to get feedback? (Oh, here’s another thing, remember that we are “Just calling to get your feedback on the quote you received last week”. We are not “Just calling to follow up on our quote”. The first question is softer, more conversational and less salesy. The second question reeks of pushy salesperson. The choice of words we use are critical.

Why don’t we want to call a prospect?

  • The first reason is ego. Put simply none of us likes rejection. I look at it another way. Every ‘no’ gets us to a ‘yes’ quicker. The more ‘no’s’ you get, the faster that ‘yes’ will come’. And another top tip, start measuring your sales conversion rates. We like to believe they are pretty high. In reality they are lower than you think. This is great because it is a lot easier to double a 30% sales conversion rate than it is to double a 60% sales conversion rate?

What else is going on

  • We think we would annoy the prospect. If you think you are annoying them, then you are. By asking for ‘feedback’ you will continue the conversation and add value. What’s annoying about that?
  • You don’t what to come across as pushy. You are right, we don’t want to be that pushy salesperson. The thing is that they enquired, and they are expecting your call.
  • You haven’t heard back so you just want to give them some space. How do you know if they received your quote? With todays’ spam and cyber security filters it is a real possibility that your email went to their junk file, or you may have simply not taken down their correct email address. It happens more than we would like to think.

Pick up the quote file and make those calls. You will be happy to have that few days off over Christmas knowing you will be coming back to a full board of customers work when you get back.

Thanks for reading,

Stuart “Resilience” Goodfellow

Your Questions Answered

Here are the answers to a few questions I have received. If you have a question, email me at [email protected] and get your question answered here.

What’s another Brand on the Market?

Hi Stuart,
I am about to ramp up my advertising. I have just changed up my brand and still have a few printed brochures, business cards, carry bags and flyers which I use. Should I just use up the old ones first and order the new ones as needed or re-order a whole new suite of newly branded material? It seems like a waste of money to throw out the old material.
– Georgia

Hi Georgia,

According to that evidence-based fact depository Google (not), we are exposed to 1,000’s of brands every day. Our challenge is to get cut through. One of our jobs to our customer is to limit the clutter, reduce friction and increase trust.

What is the message you are sending out to the marketplace if you have 2 types of branding in the market?

The first thing to consider is where do your customers and potential customers see your brand. If it is digital, then make sure your brand is identical all the way through. It might seem boring to you, but it is the secret to increasing trust with our customers.

If your material is printed do this exercise. Place all your marketing collateral on a table (even take a photo of your building and car signage and print it out). I hope that you would see that your brand image stands out. Then place your competitor’s material on the table as well plus other junk mail you’ve pulled out of your letterbox. Does your material still stand out? Whatever you see is your answer. 9 times out of 10 you will probably see a lot of clutter and noise. This is exactly what your customer see’s too. What can you do to turn up your volume? The answer is to keep it consistent.

Audit what you use and what you don’t. Ditch the things you don’t use. Determine the moment when you will only have the same brand and shred the old stuff the day before. Copy all your branded items and save it into 1 file. Identify the fonts, CMYK colours, positioning and make a style guide for future marketing. Order the new material with the new brand and leave it be.

Trust yourself that it works, and your customers will thank you for it.

Pricing myself out of the market

Hi Stuart,
I usually increase my prices around this time of year, but I am worried that I will lose my customers. What would be the best way to approach this?
– Barb

Hi Barb,

Increasing your prices can sometime raise our anxiety levels because it is often linked with losing customers. The truth is that yes you may lose customers but only if you increase them too much and/or have conditioned them to buy on price. (I have never heard of a business who has lost all their customers over a reasonable price increase)

So how much do you increase them? Depending on your business, my rule of thumb is 3% -5% every 6-9 months. It’s a good start and will keep you ahead of hidden increases imposed on you during the year. You could do this across all of your product range with all customers or just a few products or just new or certain customer segments.

Test and measure the impact and plan to have another look at your prices again in a few months’ time.

How to have more work than you can handle