5 Unexcelled Ways to Kill Your Business!

The key to increasing your business profits is to get your existing customers to buy more faster. The key to this is simple: Make SURE what you do is fostering this vital relationship...not killing it.
Once Upon A Time...
The other day, I called what its owners think of as Boston's "premier" silver business. You know the kind: in business since "my grandfather served your grandfather," all simpering, condescending, and (fatal) above the doing of "business". Their motto: "Business is inherited, never earned", a tried and true prescription for dwindling profits... and ultimately a "business to let" sign in the window. Lucky for you this owner's self-defeating behavior inspired this article. As a result, even though the folks who inspired this article may not be saved... you will be!
1) Be personable and enthusiastic when you speak with your customers
Is this "elementary, my dear Watson," as Sherlock Holmes would have said? Absolutely not. Instead of presenting a bright, chipper persona, too many business owners and their representatives appear above your mere business, which they approach with disinterest, disdain, even dismissal. What's worse, the higher you go in the hierarchy, the more of this you may see -- and hear.
Your job, however exalted, is to give the customer a comfortable and serene experience. Your business is never merely about what you do; it's always about how you do it, including the tone and temperament with which you approach each customer... the necessity to be pleasant even if you don't feel like it.
2) Return Phone Calls
There is nothing that so infuriates customers (and rightly so) as failure to return calls in a prompt, professional manner.
In this scenario, the customer calls and leaves a detailed message which is then.., ignored. Result? With every passing moment, the customer gets more and more indignant... while your chances of repeat business melt.
Cure: return EVERY pending call before the end of business EACH DAY. If necessary, put a note on your computer: "I cannot leave until every customer call has been returned." There would be a lot less (justifiable) indignation all round if this was the rule. Make it yours!
3) Keep The Customer Updated
Rome wasn't built in a day... but I bet Caesar Augustus was regularly updated on progress. If it was good enough for the Caesars, it ought to be good enough for you.
Thus, instead of making your customers chase you down for (usually rushed and inadequate) progress reports, be pro-active. Before you leave your office EVERY DAY, call or e-mail reports. These should include commentary on the most important pending items, especially those which may be most troubling and of greatest interest to the customer. Doing things this way, providing reports when least expected, make you the kind of business person people most like to work with.
4) Live Within The Budget -- Or Promptly Explain Why You Can't
Want a sure-fire, unbeatable way to kill even the longest standing customer relationship? Then over spend a budget... and don't bother to tell your customer beforehand, much less explain matters clearly.
Everyone is touchy about money. No one ever has enough. Thus, keeping your customer scrupulously up-to-date on financial issues, especially where increased expenditure is necessary is vital. As soon as you have the facts, inform the customer. Where the sum in question is significant, call; otherwise, a prompt email will do.
The point is: it is the customer's right to have this information in a timely fashion. And it is your responsibility to provide it... or else!
5) Thank Early, Sincerely, Tangibly
Have you ever watched the way some business people "thank" their customers for their life-(and profit) --making business? No eye contact, perfunctory words, a palpable wish to get it over -- and you out -- ASAP. Yikes!
Maybe this customer was difficult; maybe you're just having one of those days when the milk of human kindness turns sour. Even so, you owe it both to customer and your prosperity to thank her properly. If you can do it with true sincerity so much the better; if not, simulate until you can. More, whenever possible give your all-important customer a "little something" extra, the more so if you have not followed the crucial steps above. People like bonuses. Add one whenever you can.
Last Words
We all want repeat business. It's the life blood of business success. Many people wrongly think that all you have to do to get it is be good at what you do. WRONG! You must attend to the "little things", the things I've discussed in this article. After all, as the song says "little things mean a lot." Your customer must always be treated with the greatest possible care and consideration. Empathy is required.
... which is why I decided to pass on taking my business to the silver smith mentioned above. He didn't earn it.
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., http://www.worldprofit.com where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Attend Dr. Lant's live webcast TODAY and receive 50,000 free guaranteed visitors to the website of your choice! For details on Dr. Lant's 18 best-selling business books, go to http://www.jeffreylant.com.


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