Do you find that you are having trouble moving your business forward after the rush of the Holiday Season?
The weather outside is frightful, but even so, are you are starting to get a little freaked out about the lack of gigs, lack of inquiries?
Perhaps you are giving the mistaken impression you don’t WANT the work.
Read on for the details.
All the best,
Some of you may know that I moved around a lot before I got married; 35 times, actually. You might think I know EXACTLY what needs to be done to ready a house for sale, choose a realtor, price it right, market the home, compare offers and progress nonchalantly to a relaxed closing on Cloud 9 with my dream buyer.
What you may not know is that when you only live in a home for only 15-18 months average, and have a BIG corporation moving you (as I did the last 9 times), you don’t really become an expert at any of this! Relocation companies, representing the BIG Corp. do it all for you. (I didn’t even have to show up at closing!)
Since the onset of the internet, the housing market collapse, and lots of competition on both sides of the buy/sell fence, things have changed A LOT. Yet it was still a bit of a surprise when my realtor shared with me the list of 40 (or was it 400?), items that needed to be altered, fixed, updated, cleaned or put out at the curb, from my home of 22 years–all before it could go on the market.
Cue: rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath.
Jill had a great contractor: “Dan” who would be able to do anything, within budget and on time, especially if she shared my urgency with him. You see, she gives him a lot of work, both in her own home and with her clients.
She was right about Dan, and we worked together like a well-oiled machine. It’s amazing what we were accomplish in 4-6 weeks, all in the foulest days of March and April. Then it came time to work on the deck…and I never heard from “Dan the Man” until June; then work did not start until August; then there was delay after delay.
Same with Dan’s commitment to find a landscaper for our ‘spring’ cleanup, which ended up being ‘fall’ cleanup, which ended up being ‘we-called-own-landscaper-in-the-winter’ cleanup.
In September, when we had missed the spring selling season, the summer selling season, and prices of comps were falling all around me, I finally gave up and called my gal pal who had recommended Dan. “What’s up? He was so great when we started,” I lamented.
She wasted no time getting him on the phone and asked him point blank, “Do you NOT want any outside work? This is not the first time that I have heard of delays on the external repairs from clients. It seems to me that you don’t want this work, is that true? Because if it is, I won’t recommend you anymore and I will find someone else who wants the work and can get it done.”
She had summed up my concerns and added it to her frame of reference regarding other clients, and she had identified a pattern: Dan did not ‘like’ to work outside. He appeared to NOT want that work.
(FYI–he was at my house two days later with a team and they finished all of the jobs).
So let me ask you some questions (feel free to shout out your answers, so I can hear you):
Do you want 2017 to be your best business year ever?
Are you positioned to do what it takes to build relationships, act on leads, share your artistic expertise, expand your circle of fans, gain new clients and grow your income?
What is your prospect’s first impression of you when they call or email for information? (FYI, this is not a yes or no question–so take a few minutes to respond).
If you feel too embarrassed to share out loud…feel free to nod bashfully if you have ever:
• not returned a phone call to an inquiry because you are already booked on that date
• have an auto response on your client contact form that says you will get back to them in 24 hours
• then, sometimes…rarely, you don’t
• waited to answer an inquiry, because you are waiting on a bigger, more lucrative gig that inquired earlier
• waited a day or more to respond to a client’s email..because you are busy
• stopped doing everything while you are on vacation, including answering text messages, processing client contact forms, sending out confirmation letters, thank you notes, and answering the occasional client question for upcoming gigs, because after all, everyone needs some ‘down time’
If you have said yes to any of these things, you’re giving the impression that you are not interested in that work, or in that person. They will not understand your need to take a break for a couple of days while you go to convention, or are on vacation, or that you are too busy, or have house guests.
Then there is the worn out excuse of “my smartphone/computer/voicemail/tablet/laptop crashed and I lost everything, until…now.” I’ve had a computer crash, and I’ve lost everything and it is tragic. But as a small business, you have the flexibility to be “scrappy’ and “git her done” anyway you can. Forward your calls, use your spouse’s email, put an emergency message on your Facebook page and give your potential
customers the impression you want to hear from them, and you WILL respond, no matter what. And then: JUST DO IT (cue: Nike Swoosh in the backgound)
1. What do you do to let customers know you want the work?
2. Do you have any favorite contractor stories (no obscenities please)?
3. Use ‘swoosh’ in a sentence that does not involve athletic shoes.