Tips from a Small Business Coach: Are Your Employees Pushing Business Away?
Are your employees truly representing the value and quality of your products and services or are they pushing business to your competitors? It happens more than you may think and unfortunately, you may not know until it’s too late. Most companies don’t really know what’s happening when they are not there, until it’s too late. Here are a some of the most common signs that we see as small business growth coaches.
6 Things to be Aware of that can Lead to Client Deflection
- Watch for employees that have expertise. Employees that have a specific expertise believe they know what is best. This knowledge used correctly can be a great asset to your small business and help establish you as the industry leader. If used incorrectly staff that have a natural bias will end up talking people out of using your product or service.
- Watch for prospects that come to your small business and leave empty handed. There will always be some people who contact your small business and you will not be able to help. Make sure to check in with those people if you have their contact information or ask your employees what happened with that potential sales client. Far too often a well meaning employee will give a simple ”I’m sorry, we can’t help you”, instead of offering a referral to a strategic partner.
- Watch for employees that are using personal email at work. Yes, employees will use personal email at work and will occasionally reroute your client through their email. One of my small business clients recently ran into this. The owner came in one morning and started working on the main computer only to find his staff member had been talking directly with a prospect and telling them to use another company. Unfortunately, this happens far too often so make a policy on this that includes what to do with friends and family so everything is above board.
- Listen to feedback from your current client. Your current clients will be able to tell you how your employees are interacting with them, where they bend the rules and how well they represent the company. Only ask this directly if you have a solid long term and trusting relationship with your client.
- Watch for how sales quotes and proposals are being followed up. Are your proposals and quotes being processed effectively, each having a set date to contact the customer? If not, you’re losing potential sales. It is very common for a sales proposals to be sent out and to never be followed up on. This “we’ll wait until they contact us” mentality kills sales conversion because the prospect feels like you have no interest in their business. So, indirectly, lack of follow up deflects clients.
- Too Many Leads. The fact is, if you have done an excellent job in marketing and have a never ending supply of leads, sales people will begin to treat them differently. It only takes a month or so for any sales person to begin picking through leads and only working with the easy ones. It’s human nature. You’ll need to watch over your inventory of leads and make sure they are processing each one with the same level of business professionalism and diligence to prevent this from happening.
Remember, most employees are not intentionally trying to harm your small business. The vast majority of employees are trying to do the right thing but may lack the understanding of the impact of their actions. Take the time to educate, train them and establish policies and procedures that prevent misunderstandings. When you do, your sales will grow more than you think.