Thursday, May 21, 2009

Getting Serious About Your Business

When you are looking to transact business, you want to deal with a professional. From the moment you initiate contact until you close the deal you want to deal with a serious business professional. It doesn't matter what the product or service is.
The phone is one of the best places to establish customer relationships. It doesn't matter who initiates the call, it is how the call is handled. Have you ever called someone and got "Yeah", instead of a real introduction. This would immediately throw up a red flag in my mind. I would wonder how serious they are about their business and about my needs as a customer. I don't need a full introduction, sometimes a limited but professional intro is all that is needed, "Hello, this is ____________(your first name)." This is often appropriate for a cell call or one that comes through a switchboard. If this is a first point of contact number, perhaps mentioning the company name would be good, "ABC Company, this is ________(your first name)."

Background can also play a key roll in customer satisfaction. You don't want to answer the phone with a bunch of screaming going on in the background unless you are operating an amusement park or a bungee jumping service. Setting the right tone can be a challenge, but awareness of your surroundings and the appropriate dismissal to the person you are talking to can make all the difference. The last thing you should do is simply ignore the background because the person on the other end of the phone wont.

Having a small business or a home business can often be challenging but no compromises can be made when transacting business. You want the customer to be satisfied from start to finish, resulting in referrals and increased business. The last thing you want to do is cheapen your company. The person on the other end of the phone is looking for real value from a serious business professional. If your expecting to be paid professional rates then act the part. You might be small but you don't have to act small time. Put your business on the road to success everyday with every contact.

Recently my wife was calling businesses off a referal network. She was having to confirm if she had actually reached a business. I was busy doing other things but I could hear her asking one call three times if they were truly the business she was attempting to reach. I learned that this person didn't speak English and had their young son translating. It is hard enough to translate business without a common language, but through a six year old is crazy.

Create a web presence. You don't need a dozen pages or expensive services to make your company website. Often your internet provider will offer you a free page or use a blog service to highlight your product or service with pictures and commentary. Remember your best customers are going to be looking for you. They need a way to find you that will be welcoming and informative. You need a method that brings them in without wiping out the bank. If you can afford a professional page or your line of work dictates it, by all means.

The key is professionalism. If you want people to take both you and your business seriously, don't short change your tools of communication. Be prepared to answer your phone when it rings. Know what is in the background and how to assure your customers if it is unusual. If you take your business seriously every time you interact with a customer, they will take you seriously.

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