How gorgeous has the recent weather been? Waking up to the birds chirping away, blue skies spreading above us, and the long summer nights – this is what summer is all about, right?
Well, might I also add; Ice cream too is a staple for this time of year. Whether you prefer it in a scoop or in a cone you have to join me in saying ice cream is a delight best eaten when it is warm outside.
The good news for me, is that I am conducting some work for an incredible ice cream manufacturer whom make by far the worlds BEST ice cream. Hands down. The delights of being able to talk ice cream and to witness people tasting this ice cream for the first time is a blessing. It is by far a fantastic company to consult for!
Anyway, there is a reason for this blog post – I promise.
Just two days ago I had the pleasure of driving to the Derbyshire countryside to present the ice cream to a potential customer. They are in the middle of setting up a tea room, perhaps two weeks out from completion, and they were looking for an ice cream company to support them in their business and to be able to offer frozen delights. In steps me.
Whilst speaking to the team of four whom are setting up the fantastic tea rooms overlooking the green fields of Derbyshire, we got speaking about a local ice cream company. This company are based no further than 5 miles from my prospective customer. I listened to the new business owners how they had contacted this local ice cream company first – they had opted for them over mine originally. They had made contact by telephone and were promised that a member of their team would call them back to arrange a meeting. A week later, they heard nothing. So, being persistent, the tea rooms emailed the local company once more to try to arrange a meeting and to see a representive. However once again – no response. Dumbfounded, confused and a little taken back they reached out to me. A company whom are based hundreds of miles away however had been recommended as being an incredible company to do business with (which is true by the way).
We carried on our conversation and tour of the site when their brand spanking new coffee machine was delivered by two strapping gentleman who started to set it up as we spoke. This coffee machine was stunning. As a fan of all things coffee, I admired the machine and how well it looked on their serving counter. In my admiration I commented on it, talking about the detailing works on the side and how easy it looked to operate. My prospective customer engaged me in conversation and went on to tell me yet again, she had reached out to a local company based just down the road for their machine and their beans. This company responded with; “Sure. We will send you an email with all of the details. You can just take a look at that.” But that is not what my prospect wanted: she wanted a meeting, a sampling, a real conversation with a real person. Underwhelmed she contacted the company whom were installing the machine in front of me (who are based around 40 minutes away) who straight away actioned a meeting and got the ball rolling for sampling their incredible coffee.
Both of these instances alarmed me. Here we have a customer who reached out to two businesses, ASKING for the sale. She reached out to them out of her own will and wanted to effectively buy from these companies. And yet they did not seem that bothered to want her business. Both of these companies are now losing £1000’s worth of business every month all because they decided not to act. They decided to not chase the sale. They decided that they did not need the business and now because of that two competitors have the business. Does that concern you too??
The reason I am writing this is this: if you own a business, or perhaps you sell on behalf of a business, make damn sure you react to every enquiry that you receive. Don’t put it on the back burner thinking that your enquiry will chase you, or will be willing to wait. Don’t use a stupid CRM system to rate the lead as ‘cold’ whilst you deal with other customers. Every, and I mean every, enquiry has the potential to be a customer if you act on them, treat them with respect and do your damned best to learn what it is they are looking for. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day rigmarole of running a business, or running an operation- but never forget why you do what you do: your customer. Without your customer, you have nothing. There will be no paperwork to file, no payroll to run, no marketing to update and no charity balls to attend.
Coming away from this, I know that every email that hits my inbox, every missed call, every text, every tweet will be dealt with. This is how real business is done.
Anyway, I am off to go and eat my bodyweight in ice cream. Want some?