Monday, February 23, 2009

4 Reasons Why Businesses Fail to Follow-Up

Most business owners recognize the need to cultivate and maintain good relationships with their customers. At the same time, many overlook the need to follow-up after the sale or service. Here are four of the many reasons why they may be hurting themselves and being like the ostrich that sometimes waits for the danger to come to it.

1) AFRAID OF APPEARING "PUSHY": Persons involved in Direct Sales often seem to be overly-concerned about this. Keep in mind that there is a difference between being pushy and being proactive. I feel very appreciated when someone from whom I purchased an item calls to see how I liked the item, or sends me a Thank You card. Wouldn't you? And, if during the follow-up call she mentions that one of the ways she grows her business is by referrals, that in no way offends me because I would want to refer my friends or family to someone who cares enough to follow-up.

2) WORKLOAD - Admittedly small business owners and entrepreneurs often carrying a weighty load of responsibility and have to multi-task as the CEO, the Sales Person, the Marketing Department, etc. However, customers are why they got into business and why they stay in business. It may be necessary to analyze if productivity would be enhanced by hiring someone to assist with less essential tasks so that the focus can be on where it's required most.

3) FEAR - There is an old saying that What You Don't Know Can't Hurt You. In business it's the opposite! What you Don't Know WILL Hurt You - your relationship with your customers and your bottomline. Are you afraid to call your customers after a sale or service because you may get a negative response? Would it not be better to know what their concerns are right away so that these can be addressed? And if customers are happy, would this connection not be the perfect opportunity to ask for a testimonial or referral?

4) NO DATABASE: Each of us has to determine how serious we are about growing our business. Having a comprehensive updated database is not an option, it is a requirement. I'm trying to think of any type of business that could function effectively without a database and none comes to mind. Some business owners may argue that the nature of their business does not require their customers' names and addresses. What if you placed "Comment Cards" on the counter and asked customers to complete in detail the first time they fill it out and add an offer to make it worth their time?

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