Are You Losing Clients who WANT to do Business with You?

Note:  This is a guest post by Richard Seppala, the founder of TCS in Orlando, Florida.
He helps businesses measure customer response and ROI for each advertisement or campaign.
You can find Richard at   

Man-knocking-on-front-door-tnIf you run a business, I’m sure you’d love it if someone knocked at your door, you answered it and, there, in front of you, was someone asking if they could be a client. I think I know what the answer would be!

Well, someone calling your place of business to inquire about a product or service isn’t any different than someone knocking on your door. The only difference might be…who’s answering that call?

Are You Losing Valuable Leads?

You could have the best marketing and advertising campaign in the world driving people to call you immediately – a campaign with a potentially amazing ROI – but if you lose your generated leads at the point of sale, that money all gets flushed down the drain.

For instance, maybe you’ve got a receptionist prone to going outside for a cigarette and forgetting to turn on the voice mail system.

A prospect calls because of a great direct mail piece you sent out. They’re ready to do business. But, instead of getting a person answering their call, or, at least, a message, all they get, “Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring. Ring.”

I could type out ten more “Ring’s,” but you get the idea. You’re not making that sale. Probably ever.

Now let’s go with an alternate scenario.

Perhaps, as luck would have it, the generated lead calls after your receptionist’s break.

The receptionist says, in a tired voice, (it is 3 o’clock and the burrito they had for lunch is making them reaaaaal sleepy), “Hi, so-and-so’s office, can I help you?”

“Yes,” the prospect says, “I’m really interested in so-and-so’s so and so.”

“Oh,” says the Receptionist. “Okay. That costs so-and so.”

“Actually, I had a few questions first. Does it do so-and-so and so-and-so? And how long does it take?”

bored-woman-with-headset-tn“I dunno,” mutters the Receptionist.

Awkward pause.

“Could you…find out?”

“Um…I guess…hang on.”

The Receptionist puts the phone down on top of the desk – not on hold – and goes back to ask you the question.

But turns out you’re talking with someone else on another line. The Receptionist waits, not indicating it’s important in any way…finally asks the question…gets the answer…goes back and picks up the phone.

And gets a dial tone. The receptionist shrugs and looks forward to another cigarette break. No skin off their teeth.

The prospect who hung up? They haven’t lost anything either. They’ll just go on with their lives.

Meanwhile, here’s what you’ve lost.

  • A sale.
  • More potential future business.
  • Contact information.
  • Marketing info on what campaign got the person to call in the first place.
  • And a big dent in your overall ROI.

You spent a lot to get that person to contact you. And all you have to show for it is a turned-off prospect who thinks you run a Mickey Mouse organization.

The last customer you should be losing is the one that’s coming to you, ready to buy from you.

That should be a no-brainer, but, unfortunately, all too often that’s exactly where we’ve stopped thinking our operation through – and we lose valuable revenue.

How to Add New Clients without Cold Calling

Woman-on-Phone-smilingThis may surprise you.

An American Management Association study shows that “only 65 percent of clients buy every year where they bought before.”

So . . . how do we find new customers to replace the 35% lost each year? Start cold calling?

Cold-calling for new clients may be the most dreaded activity in a salesperson’s day.

But how do you add new customers if not by cold-calling?

Advertising, Email and direct mail marketing can lead to prospects calling you to order.

But there is a much less expensive – actually no-cost – way to add new customers without cold-calling and it takes very little effort.


Research shows that only 12% of sales people ever ask for referrals.

Think about the last time a friend told you about a good restaurant with delicious food. You believed your friend, more than you would believe the owner of the restaurant. And you probably enjoyed a wonderful dinner at the restaurant your friend recommended.

Two effective ways to ask for referrals from your current clients:

1.  “Who else do you know that could benefit from using our products?”

2.  “If you were to recommend our company and products to a friend or associate, what would you say?”

After this:

*  Don’t say a word until they answer this question.

*  Don’t put words in your customer’s mouth.

*  DO Write down what your customer tells you.

*  DO thank your customer for sharing this information

10 New Prospects

Just think:jumping_woman-teeny If you set a goal that for one week you will get two referrals each day from your customers, at the end of the week you will have 10 new prospects to call and they won’t be as a result of cold calls.  Nice!

Like these tips? Get more on this page!

5 Cold Calling Mistakes

bored man on phone-tnWatching a business associate listening to a cold call prompted this article.

When the phone rang, he picked it up and listened . . . and listened . . . and listened.

After what seemed like 30 minutes of listening (it was probably only five minutes, but still too long) he finally said: “I don’t need any” and hung up.

Whoever phoned him was obviously just reading a script and talking about whatever products he wanted to sell.     Borrrring. :(

5 Cold Calling Mistakes + Tips to Keep the Prospect Interested

Mistake #1. Not researching the prospect and business you are calling.

Tip:  Do some research on the prospect and her/his company before you call.

Spending a few minutes on research will yield big results.

Otherwise s/he will know that you are just “smiling and dialing” randomly.

It’s so simple these days to obtain good solid information on a prospect prior to picking up the phone.

Google the prospect’s name or check and you can get really useful information.

Mistake #2. Not Asking questions.

Tip:  If you take the time to ask questions to find out what the prospect needs and what is important to her, you will get honest answers.

If you don’t bother to ask these questions, how can you uncover needs and pains?

How can you try to sell something when you don’t even know what the prospect needs or wants?

Without asking questions, it sounds like you’re just in it for the sale, your quota and your paycheck.

Asking questions the right way prompts a conversation instead of a monologue.

Open-ended questions keep the prospect on the phone with you longer. It works like magic.

Mistake #3. Not Listening to answers.

Tip: If the prospect has something to share, stop talking long enough to listen.

Really listen, don’t just hear the words.

Mistake #4. Don’t say you “will be in the area.”

There is nothing worse than hearing those words from a cold caller.

That sales technique went out in the 80’s.

It is one of the fastest, most effective ways to induce a hang-up in record-breaking time and shut down the call.

Tip:  Be honest and ask to set up an appointment if there is any interest.

Mistake #5. Not using the prospect’s name.

There’s no sweeter music to the ears for most people than the sound of their own name.

Tip:  Don’t use his name too often because you will sound like a pushy sales person.

Remember that we are all subconsciously conditioned to respond with openness to our name and a question.

 If these tips are useful to you, get more tips at

6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

bored-woman-with-cell-phone-tnThere is good news and bad news.

First, the bad news:

Recent marketing research has found that up to 40% of outbound calls made by salespeople end up in voice mail : (

After talking with hundreds of  my clients, I have learned that number is actually closer to 50% or 60%.

And . . . most voice mail messages left by sales reps are not returned.
(Very discouraging for salespeople.)

Now the good news – yes there is good news!

We may need to dial more numbers, but we CAN get our calls returned.

Read what Steve Sheffield in Vancouver, Washington wrote:

“I jotted down a short voice mail message to leave for a customer
I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks with no reply and she
called me back the next day!”

More about Steve’s voice mail success later.

Think about this:

The first goal of a voice mail message is to get the call returned or, ultimately to result in a live conversation, so . . .

. . . Get Rid of Wimpy Words!

Forget about leaving those wishy-washy messages like “please call me back if you have any questions.” Wimpy words with no call to action do not get results.

6 Simple Tips to Get Your Calls Returned

taking-notes-checklist-notepadWhat action do you want them to take?

1.) Know what you want as a result of your voice mail message.

Write down in one sentence what action you want the listener to take.

2.) Organize your message so that you state the most important and attention-getting information first, since you may be cut off at any time. Include BENEFITS for the listener.

3.) Speak clearly and not too quickly. Pronounce your first and last name clearly, spelling your name if people may not recognize your name. The person you are calling could become annoyed if they have to spend time replaying the message because they could not understand it.

4.) State your telephone number twice: once at the beginning of your message – after your name and company name – and again at the end of the message. This makes it easier for the prospect to return your call.

5.)  Be a name dropper
.  (This great tip is from

If somebody referred you, that person’s name should be one of the first things out of your mouth, even before you fully ID yourself: “Jane, I was referred to you by Barney Rubble. This is Fred…” Starting off this way will ensure your entire message will get listened to. If you don’t have a known person’s name to use, the next best thing is to reference an organization you have in common: “I’m also a member of the Bedrock Chamber of Commerce…”

6.) Prepare and rehearse your voice mail message. 

Reason:  If you leave a bad message, you’re stuck with it, and . . . your voice message is being recorded and can be forwarded to others.

If these tips were helpful to you, see more tips at

As promised, more about Steve Sheffield’s voice mail success:

“Ann, thank you for what I would consider the best ROI percentage that I have ever
experienced in 18 years. I downloaded your books and read just 3 pages in your Voicemail Tips,
jotted down a short message to leave for a customer I have called 4 times in the last 2 weeks
with no reply and she called me back the next day!”

                                                                                          – Steve Sheffield, Southwest Office Systems,
Vancouver, Washington

Want more voice mail tips?  Buy my Voice Mail Tips e-book!

Or better yet:  Join my e-course !

Why a Car Wrap Beats Social Media

popcorn-tinyWhat is the difference between popcorn and a casserole?


Fast and slow.  Flash and substance.

Simple and complex.


NOTE: Today’s guest post is by Marcia Coffey, a communications maven + full-time web
, who believes that design and marketing are equal partners on this digital platform.
Find Marcia at and on Google+

American small business owners are turning up on the social web in droves, but seeing little return on investment.

So maybe a flash and dash car wrap is a better ad vehicle . . .car-wrap-tn

. . . because social is a patience game and that can be a bitter pill.


If you think that setting up a Facebook page or Twitter handle (or even a LinkedIn company page) will open the floodgates to an Internet’s worth of sales leads, think again.

But social actually can be a powerful lead generator, just not in the way you think.

It’s really a place to build loyalty, answer customer service questions and to build a community.

Revenue will come.


Through trust and loyalty.  The best kind.  Not popcorn.

Above all, social media is a brand builder on whatever level you do it, expending how much or how little time you can afford to develop your company’s presence on select platforms.

Visitors to your website EXPECT to see those little social icons in the footer or header. They automatically make your small business look bigger, they automatically showcase your expertise and establish your authority.

Small business owners also need to think of their  social presence as an extension of what’s happening in their physical locations whether it’s a storefront or service business.

Facebook is a great place to extend your personality online so that customers existing and new feel connected.

With a few subtle shifts in priorities and an adoption of the long view, small business owners can put themselves back on the path towards success … and sales.