In this marketing article I would like to discuss the importance of presenting your business in a professional manner when customers and sales prospects contact you.
The first thing I want you to do is think to yourself, “If I were a customer contacting my business, what would I think of this business? Would I think this is a friendly and professional business with great service or would I think it was unprofessional and a bit of a joke?”
I ask you to go through this exercise because from my experience of working with clients on improving their sales and marketing programs, many businesses are presenting themselves in a very unprofessional manner and they are losing sales because of it.
Here are some guidelines for providing your customers and sales prospects with a professional experience when they contact you:
1. Answer your phone in a friendly and professional manner and say the name of your company. Dont answer your phone by saying, “This is Mike.” Instead, say, “Hello, this is Mike with XYZ Corp. How may I help you today?”
2. Do everything possible to make sure your phone is answered by a live person. In todays fast-paced world, people want instant gratification. If a prospect is ready to buy and calls your business and nobody answers the phone, your prospect will probably go to your competition and buy from them. How many times have you gone through the phone book to purchase a product or service and kept calling different companies until you got a live person on the phone? I do it all the time. If you are not answering your phone, you are losing sales.
3. If you are unable to answer your telephone, you better have voice mail. Nothing is more unprofessional and irritating than calling a business and the phone just rings and rings and there is no voice mail. If you do not have voice mail, shame on you! Immediately stop reading this article and call your phone company and get voice mail.
4. Check your voice mail often and return phone calls quickly. If you want to make more sales, do everything you can to return phone calls quickly. And by quickly I mean in under 2-hours. If you wait a day or two to return a prospects call, you have probably lost that sale and the only one to blame is YOU.
5. Have a fax machine. It makes your business look very unprofessional when a customer wants to send you a fax and you have to tell them to send it to your local copy shop (or not to send it at all) because you dont have a fax machine.
6. If you have a website, use your websites domain name for all employee email addresses. Businesses that are using hotmail, yahoo or aol email addresses look unprofessional. If you do not have a website and you are forced to use a yahoo, hotmail or aol email address, at least use something that looks professional. Using “hotgirl28” at email.com is horribly unprofessional. You may laugh and say nobody would do that but I see it all the time.