Debbie Mayo-Smith

A motivational speaker gives her tips on business success

Debbie Mayo-Smith: Is your business one of the rational 12.5 per cent?

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All the effort to chase down a job can be thrown away by simply not calling back. Image / Thinkstock
All the effort to chase down a job can be thrown away by simply not calling back. Image / Thinkstock

Why would 7 out of 8 businesses not follow up on their business quotes? How much time, energy and money do you; your sales team lose simply because you/they suck at follow up?

Let me explain. This is pretty embarrassing, but for the sake of telling a good story, I'll confide. With six children, you can imagine after 17 years of HEAVY use, our kitchen really needed renovation.

I've been putting it off for years. It's never been about the money. It's been about the hassle. Dealing with the changeover. Not having a workable kitchen for a period of time. Dealing with tradespeople. Lack of time to invest in learning about all the replacement options, and the fear arising from that.

When you think about it - these fears would be similar with any major purchase or changeovers.

Having a quiet period in work (conferencing season was over) I decided to make the commitment to do it.

We bought a new freestanding range. Read about it in They Could Have Had The Sale Then.

We're now 75 per cent through the renovation and it's given me food for at least four columns with observations, thoughts on how to improve business. Not only for the trades, but any business - full stop.

So with this column I'd like to make my first observation from the opening sentences. Only one business, or 12.5 per cent called back.

Is it logical to take:

• Willing and interested customers.

• Time, money, effort of making out of office calls

• Time calculating quotations

• The time, money, effort of marketing and promoting one's business

And throw it away by simply not following up on the quotes your business sends out?

This happens to you, to me all the time. From my kitchen saga, I contacted

• Five different plumbing / gas fitting companies. Two didn't bother to call back.

• Four different carpeting/vinyl companies. One which did timber only agreed with me it wouldnt work so we didn't proceed to a quote. The other three submitted quotes.

I was astounded that only one telephoned back to find out about their quote - McDermond Plumbing. In fact, they separated out their plumbing and gas fitting quotes and I was called twice. That is how I know they have it systemised. The three quotes were all relatively the same - but of course McDermond got the job from us. It was so easy for me to say yup, go ahead and book it.

What about the flooring you're thinking? It's very easy for me to be indecisive isn't it? It's easy to forestall spending four or five thousand dollars isn't it? It's easy for me not to pick up the phone isn't it? Do I need the floors done? Absolutely. Am I simply procrastinating? Yup.

Think about this personally or the next time your sales people have a meeting. Ask them to detail for you what their routine is for following up on their quotes.

I systemise mine and never let anyone go. Just because someone hasn't called you back, it does not mean they're not interested. It is just as likely they're simply putting off making a decision.

Too busy. Need a little push or more information. Or perhaps are waiting to see if you'll call them back. If you do, you definitely will easily bring in more sales.

- NZ Herald

Written by international speaker and bestselling author Debbie Mayo-Smith. For more tips, over 500 how-to articles visit Debbie's article webpage.

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