As a blogger we tend to look at certain events in our lives as “teachable moments”. This particular event was a great lesson for me.
As you know I work from home, but what you may not know is that I spend most days balancing work and my daughter. To give you an idea of her personality let me share with you what she did to get my attention. It was turning into a gorgeous day and she really wanted to play outside… with me. I moved my office outside and while I was taking a call on the back deck she locked us both out of the house… on purpose! She said, “Now you’ll have to stay outside and play with me.” But what I ended up doing was spending two hours trying to get back into the house.
Our success relies on both anticipating what will happen and being prepared for it. I have to tell you, the other day I was neither. Not only did I underestimate the ability of my child to lock me out, I underestimated her desire to play with me. In her mind it called for drastic measures!
As business owners we want people to play with us. We let them know we’re available with our advertising and marketing but often we fail to be “available” we they come calling. How many times have we failed to follow up with a lead or never got around to returning that phone message? When this happens our potential customers can lock us out and move on to someone who is paying attention.
I know what you’re thinking, it would be great if we could sit around all day waiting for someone to call but we can’t do that. Our time is much too valuable. While we’re “waiting”, we’re managing, marketing, stocking, organizing, and wearing any other hat that requires wearing. For the Work From Home Professional it comes down to knowing our schedule and limitations and working with in them. After all, our customers are not pulling on our shirt sleeves like our little ones may be. For both groups it’s good to use the “it’s better to under promise and over deliver” model which can give both breathing room and perspective.
Here are 5 tips that will help keep your sales on track and keep your customers from locking you out:
1. Start creating a map of your day that allows time to engage and follow up with customers. Scheduling a daily habit means if you have no one to follow up with you can make “just checking in” calls to see how past customers are doing.
2. Create a customer blueprint. These are the people you want to work with; they inspire you and give you energy. These people are the reason you got into your business in the first place.
3. Have a questionnaire template ready to help you secure all the information you need to complete the order. This increases your efficiency, reduces back and forth calls and positions you as the one with expert knowledge.
4. Have a Designated Sales Folder and keep it in the same place so you can easily get to it. This is where you keep copies of the questionnaires, order forms, pens, and anything you need to close the sale. I like to keep my monthly sales targets on a sticky note stuck to the top of the folder. It’s also great to have a duplicate folder in the car.
5. Be realistic. Sometimes you have to say no to an order or a potential customer. That’s ok. Just because it’s a puzzle piece doesn’t mean it fits the puzzle you’re putting together.
And if your kid locks you out… here’s hoping you have a key hidden somewhere!
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