Posted Thursday, February 10, 2005
Running a successful business takes a lot of energy and there are so many areas that as a business owner you need to pay attention too.
It's not enough to spend heaps of time, money and resources into getting buyers for your goods and services and then leaving those clients/customers to their own devices.
If you want to work less, have more time and make more money one very important aspect you have to take care of on an ongoing basis is nurturing those people who are prepared to spend their money with you.
You cannot afford to take their money, sell the goods or perform the services and then hope they will call you when they need too.
A couple of weeks ago I visited my hairdresser for my regular appointment. Now I have been loyally going to this hairdresser for at least 2 years, approximately every six weeks.
On this particular occasion there were a couple of clients having their hair coloured and the owner and another assistant were fawning over three kittens which had kindly been supplied by the local vet.
Apparently the vet was looking for a good home for the kittens and John,the owner and another staff member were going to take them home. The kittens were staying the afternoon at the salon for the benefit of their new owners (my hairdresser and his assistant).
So here we were in an upmarket salon, with three kittens running around and the staff paying more attention to them than the clients.
The second incident that occurred happened after I had my hair washed. I was left sitting in a chair waiting whilst John who is my hairdresser casually took his time looking at another client's holiday photos. That wasted at least 5 minutes. (Some people may not be bothered about having their time wasted, but unfortunately for John, I wasn't one of them).
When he finally comes over, instead of asking me how am I going, or commenting about the condition of my hair, he proceeds to tell me all the details about his life (as he usually does) and is so focussed on himself he was oblivious to the fact that without people like me (a paying client), he wouldn't be in business.
It doesn't end there. The final straw came when his mobile phone rang in the middle of my haircut. With no apology or saying to me "excuse me, I must take this call ", he answers the phone and wanders off for another 5 minutes.
By this time I was ready to explode. Instead, being the cool, calm and collected person that I am (sometimes), I took some deep breaths and vowed I would never go there again.
How Much Money Do You Lose?
As a regular client who had an average spend of $110 every six weeks (that's for a colour and cut), I would be worth around $900 a year plus any product I would buy.
And that's another thing, John often complained about not having enough income, yet he never trained his staff how to sell additional products. People (particularly women) would readily purchase shampoos, conditioners, gels etc. if his staff would proactively recommend it.
They only sold product by default, when a client mentioned they had run out or asked questions. I was one of those clients who asked questions about the various products and was ready to buy, except they were always out of stock! (See how being disorganised affects your income!)
Focus on What Counts
Being a great hairdresser, accountant, coach or anything else for that matter doesn't automatically mean your clients will continue to invest their money with you.
You have to pay attention to them by being proactive in looking after them and not reactive when they complain.
In fact most people will not tell you if they are unhappy with your goods or services, they will just take their business elsewhere. They'll also spread the word by telling other people about their experiences with you thereby damaging your reputation and potential for future clients.
The Final Word
Look at how your business is run. Survey your clients and find out how they really find your goods/services, customer care, follow up service etc. After all, wouldn't they know how good you really are? You and your team may think you're great but it's what your clients think (and pay for) that counts.
It would also be worthwhile investing in a great book by Keith Abraham entitled "Creating Loyal Profitable Customers' - 47 ways to turn your customers into passionate purchasers (available from our office for only $24.95 plus $5 postage).
So don't delay. Get yourself organised so that you have time to focus on what really counts.
About the Author
Lorraine specialises in working with businesspeople showing them how to dramatically boost their productivity, reduce the stress and the mess in their lives and have more time for enjoying their life. (www.office-organiser.com.au), firstname.lastname@example.org