Seth Godin inspires people. Sometimes, he asks hard questions and offers tough advice. Most of the time, I find his work to be quite helpful and this December 2008 post at the OPEN Forum had 12 stellar tips hit the mark. I’m focused on only one tip from it in this post.
“#11. Monitor the drop offs like a hawk. Have someone on your team build a database (it could be in Excel) that tracks the last time someone bought from you. The moment someone has their rhythm change, call them! If someone brings in dry cleaning every Monday, call them on Wednesday or Thursday if they don’t show up.”
Calling customers and prospects is a scary thing for many small biz owners. I’m not sure why, but I hear it again and again. “I don’t like to call. What else can we do?” You think I’m joking. The phone represents an open-ended situation. You could call a customer or prospect and have to talk to them, for more than two minutes. Yikes.
I don’t know why this is and I’m not the world’s expert on telemarketing or cold calling or even customer care, but I’m simply reporting what I hear from a lot of owners. Perhaps, this is how advertising and marketing came into existence; Merchants started to forget how to talk to their customers.
Call reluctance in my opinion is part of how we have loads of small businesses using social media and online tools. You don’t have to talk to anyone! You can just email and tweet and chat. Google the term call reluctance. No shortage of help there.
Seth suggests grabbing the bull by the horns and finding the courage to be different. Calling doesn’t seem all that different, but in the age of Facebook and all of the other online tools, it may be the point of difference that gets you the business.
TJ McCue is a content guy at Q4 Sales. He blogs about marketing, small business, and entrepreneurship and the helpful resources you need to take your company to the new heights online. His work can be found here and at Fast Company, Sales and Marketing Management, and the new Telemarketing Appointment Setting Resource Center for Small Business.