Four Things That Can Cost You Business

Too much of a salesman

We have all heard the there is a time and a place for everything.   Have you ever been to that birthday party or wedding, where that guy across the table from you, hands his business card to everyone then proceeds to explain how he can get you a better return on your investments, takes notes, asks lots of personal questions. 

Now, a lot of planning goes into seating arrangements, if you don't believe me, you can ask any Bridezilla.  You’re going to be partying for the next 4 to 8 hours; it is only natural to want to know who is sitting across the table from you.  There is a line.  Business cards, yes, taking names and doing presentations, no. 

Too persistent

It is inevitable, you are going to follow leads, and you’re going to make cold calls.  For that, you'll need a thick skin, but the kind of guy that doesn't take no for an answer is pushing it too far.  If they have told you, “some other time”, ten times or if you think going over their head to make the sale is going to endear you to your client, you are mistaken.   Your time would be better spent following fresh leads.

Taking your clients for granted

When your customers call you should respond quickly.  Be sure they can contact you in an emergency situation or leave a message saying when you'll be back and respond promptly thereafter. 

Just because they are doing business with you now doesn't mean they will continue.  Listen to what their needs are, maybe they have changed.  When you become complacent you open the door for your competitors to take your clients away.  

Never ever use your relationship with your clients, either current or past, as a means to charge exorbitant pricing.

Not showing gratitude 

A sincere thank you goes a long way with clients.  Clients are not expecting you to kiss their butts; they just want to know that their business is appreciated.  An appropriate thank you will give them reassurance that they made the right decision choosing you. 

A thank you note for small purchases is certainly appropriate.  Larger purchases, let's say a contract for a remodel, a fruit basket.  Purchasing a new home, a dinner for two is a bit more and would be more appropriate. 

Inappropriate networking will alienate your current and prospective clients.  They are not looking for pushy, flaky, complacent unappreciative people to do business with, would you? 

Use this as your guideline to proper networking and a great way to cement your relationship with your clients and build your business.

Success at the Home Show

Today I just want to go over some observations about the Home Show.  We were out there promoting the BTN Network, looking for home owners with a project and contractors who may want to come visit our group. 

I am sure that Paul will compile the numbers and give us some tangible results.  What got me excited was watching everyone touting not only their product or services but others as well.  You could almost call it “Speed Networking”.

It's kind of funny, people would walk by with no interest, but I would slip them a card and a smile and say, “we a just a great group of guys who meet every week”.   Even as they were being pulled away by their spouse or kids, you could see the curiosity in their eye.  I guess it was refreshing to hear that instead of buy this product or buy that product.

The term “network” gets tossed around these days and can mean anything from a computer network, a security network, a shipping network and so on.

BNI, one of the largest networks, has been around since '85 while Facebook has only been around since 2004.  BTN embraces the new networking, Facebook and LinkedIn and such, but it is networking in the “true” sense of the word, is at the core of BTN. 

That core is a great group of Guys (and girls), professionals at their trade, who take pride in their work.  Meeting once a week to freely trade leads and hold each other to higher standards.

The other part of BTN's “true networking” is, our coffee breaks, getting to know each other in the group, knowing their products or services.  The Home Show was like coffee break central. 

Whether you were listening to Randy Johnson or Linda Herdman or Brian Powers or Ken Sisneros or any of the other members of BTN talking with people about their products, it was clear that everyone came away learning about someone else in the group

That alone makes our group stronger and in my eyes a very successful Home Show.

Clients Are Smarter Than You Think

If you and your client have established a mutual respect and trust, and you’re good at your job, and you have created a need, then you should be able to close the deal.

The question is, “How do I get to that point?”

A customer is asking you to build a room.  It is your job to, “Give him what he wants”, in the customers  eyes.  

It is not uncommon for the contractor to go into that meeting carrying with him all the years of experience, certifications, licenses, portfolios and the feeling that he is the expert.

That is good.  But be careful not to overdo it.  It can have the opposite effect.  You can make the client feel ignorant by using the “I know and you don't” attitude.  

Choose your words carefully.   Maybe the client knows or has seen something but calls it by a different term.   In some parts of the country people may ask for a Soda while you may call it a Pop?   You don't want them to feel uncomfortable.  So keep and open mind.

The best thing to do is to “listen”.  Get a clear understanding of what the clients want.  Note the excitement they display when they mention certain things.  Those will be key points in the finished product and you want them to experience that same excitement when you are done.

See things through their eyes.  Let's face it we have all had that, “you want me to build, WHAT!” experience.  The instinct is…. “You can't _____!”  At that point you have just lost any rapport that you have built with them.

Keep the negatives to a minimum.  You may know twenty reasons why it won't work.  This is their dream room your talking about.   It is better to say something like, “I like that idea, while it offers ____, it also offers these negative points.”   Present a few negative points.  Don't  drown them in negatives, you are not trying to make them feel uncomfortable.

Offer several solutions or an alternative or two that includes the key points that I mentioned above.  It should build up some of that excitement again. 

The reason why they called you is because of your expertise.  You have nothing to prove.  You need to build a rapport and close the deal.  Good things happen when your clients feel empowered and excited.

Keep in mind the clients are smarter than you may think, after all, they called you, didn't they.

Business Card Tips

In your quest for increased referrals, your business card is one of the most valuable networking tools you have.  It's compact, energy-efficient, low-cost, low-tech, yet, it is the single most powerful business tool–dollar for dollar–you can invest in.

The two main functions of your card are to gain business from the person you give it to and to get your name out to other people, via referral, from the person you gave the card to.  Here are Dr. Misner’s 5 strategies to help you make your cards work for you:

  1. Make Your Cards Accessible in Every Situation.  In short, don't leave home without them!
  2. Seek Situations to Exchange Business Cards.  Business meetings,
    Trade shows, jobsites, networks and the like.
  3. Contacts at a Distance – Whenever you communicate with someone in writing, send a card if it's appropriate to the occasion.  When mailing out brochures, bids and other sales materials enclose several cards in every packet.
  4. Courtesy Counts – Along with your thank-you note to the person, whose referral brought you a major contract, include a business card to replace the one they gave away, plus several more.
  5. Misner’s Special Trick of the Trade – When giving out your card, hand-write something on one copy, such as your cell-phone number, a secondary e-mail address, etc. This will give that particular card a greater chance of being held onto.

Tips like these will keep your business cards working for you hours, weeks and even years after it leaves your hands!

By Rebecca Kaminsky & Dominick Giambona