3 Silent Killers of Small Businesses – Don’t Let This Happen to You

Most of the businesses we work with succeed, but that’s not always the case. Recently a Pilates and Yoga studio owner had to close her doors in the Bronx, New York. Not because of slow sales, and because of a lack of interest from customers. It was 3 simple but deadly things that brought a business with a lot of potential to its knees. What happened and what can we all learn from it?

1. Answer your phone
Anytime a potential customer called the phone number on the company website they were met with 4 rings and a request to leave a voicemail. Are you serious? In today’s day and age when a customer had her and a dozen other options to do business with she don’t take advantage of them reaching out and requesting more information from her business?

And it’s not just this one company. 80% of the companies that come to us with slow sales growth have a common problem of not picking up their phone. Most will tell us that they’re too busy working or making money to always answer the phone. This may be true, but it will still shut down a business quicker than anything. Some alternatives could be to hire an answering services, pay a stay-at-home mom or dad $4 for every phone call they answer for you. There are options.

If you fall into this category believe me when I say you can increase your sales by up to 10-20% automatically by simply being the one business out of five the customer calls that will answer the phone and give them the help they need.

2. Slow Follow Up
A cousin to the “Answer Your Phone” problem, a lot of businesses miss out on revenue simply because they wait too long to get back to those voicemails and email requests. One of the ways we helped the Pilates studio was by adjusting her website so it was easier for customers to use a web form to request prices quotes, class times and other information. These emails were sent directly to the owner’s inbox (we know because we copied ourselves on every email so we knew exactly how many she received). This business was getting between 4-7 email requests each week from prospective new students. But tragically the owner waited hours and sometimes days to get back to them. Even worse, even though the email included the customer’s phone number, the owner would simply email them back instead of reaching out and making a sale via the phone. This was yet one more nail in the business’ metaphorical coffin.

3. Lack of Engagement
Everyone has been through the experience of starting to exercise more, but then life and laziness take over and the next thing you know you’re right back on the couch instead of in class sweating your way back into shape. Too much of this happened for the studio customers as well. People would show up for a class, maybe 2 or three. And then drop off the face of the Earth. The owner could have increase her retention rates if she gamified her services to encourage loyalty and repeat business. By “gamification” I mean turn her customer’s experience into more of a challenge like a game versus simply a business transaction. She could have partnered with a local smoothie business and offered a smoothie her own company would pay for when a student came to 5 classes in a row, she could have branded shirts, gym bags and cell phone cases to create a culture where students weren’t just customers, but rather a part of an exclusive group; one that thrived on the students supporting each other and looking forward to being with one another. In short, what she offered was just, well, a bunch of Pilates and Yoga classes and that’s it, then everyone has to go home. What would have helped her bottom line was a dose of engagement to help retain and maintain the customers she had.

We all know running a business is tough, but it’s really not as hard as we make it out to be. Sometimes all we need a little dose of common sense and huge helping of imagination to turn a sagging business into a profitable one.

If you’d like to have more customers reach out to you to request your products and services be sure to call us at (520) 225-0123, or visit us online at mysalesformula.com. Thanks for listening.

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