Why do I need you?

Thirty years in a service business has taught me there’s always someone saying they can replace you with more service or for less money.

Whether or not it’s true, you don’t want customers and prospects leaving you to find out.

Recently I unearthed a business card from someone I’d considered as a new supplier, and called her about a project. Though the hour was late, she answered the phone and pressed me for assignment details.

As I finished my tale, she requested a formal outline by email, then hung up.

The next afternoon she called me to learn more. I again gave her all the details, and she repeated her request for a follow-up email.

That’s where she lost me. I’m a prospective customer seeking her out, and she let me off the phone without closing the deal. TWICE!

Admittedly, not everyone’s comfortable talking by phone. A detailed email minimizes chances she’ll get details wrong.

But my calling her should have immediately signaled my preferred way of communicating. And if she’s shy on the phone, sales may not be the right vocation for her.

My purchase involves a commodity item and dozens of suppliers abound. The need to tell her my story a third time persuaded me to talk with her competition.

My first boss told me to never leave early on Friday afternoons, saying; “If you’re working past 5pm, you’ll get those last-minute rush projects.”

Years later, the attitude of being there for customers and delivering a bit more remains with me.

For whatever reason, this woman wasn’t interested in finishing the conversation while she held my attention. I’m quite certain I’ll find an alternative resource, and have lost interest in working with her.

As we’re all in sales in some form, there’s a lesson there for every business person. Every customer has a preferred way of communicating; social media, text, email, phone, etc.

You need to communicate with them in the way they like, and what you want (at least initially) is unimportant.

And if they’ve reached out to you, for heaven’s sake make a little extra effort while you’re on their radar.

Because once you hang up, all bets are off and you may not get the gig.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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