A Warning to Small Businesses: Your Enquiry Response Time is Obliterating Sales

A Warning to Small Businesses: Your Enquiry Response Time is Obliterating Sales

Sounds serious, huh? If you’re in business to make money, it is.

In today’s age of instant gratification and choice, your business can’t afford NOT to be ultra-responsive across every platform you have available to potential customers.

Here’s why.

This month I was responsible for making two relatively significant purchases. The first was a Yarra Valley winery tour for 25 people; the second, commissioning a jeweller to make a 14ct gold signet ring for my partner’s birthday.

Let’s start with the winery tour…

I enquired with ten tour operators via the Contact Us page on their websites – it would have been more if all the websites I visited had forms that actually worked… These guys were never in the race for my money to begin with.

Of the ten enquiries successfully submitted, two never replied. Ever.

One replied about two weeks later. Thanks, but no thanks. You’re too late.

The other seven responded within a couple of days of each other… The last narrowly scraping in to compete for my $3,237.50 before I reached a decision.

Within a week, I had picked a provider. The tour was booked and deposit paid.

We’re off to Payne’s Rise, Fergusson’s Winery and Hanrahan Vineyard. The tour provider is off to the bank.

response enquiry time killing sales

Now for the jeweller…

This time I made enquiries using Facebook Messenger. I contacted six jewellers to ask if they could help with a custom order for a men’s gold signet ring. A simple ‘yes’ would have taken 5 seconds, and at least registered them in the race for my sale.

The first response came within a couple of minutes to let me know she has taken a break from jewellery making to open a restaurant. I wished her all the best, and next time I’m in Portsea I’ll probably drop in for lunch… She may yet make a sale.

The next jeweller responded about an hour later. Within a couple of hours I had a quote from him, all the information I needed to reach a decision and enough rapport that I felt obligated to proceed with the order… Before having even compared quotes with the other four jewellers who still hadn’t responded. I was emotionally committed.

The following day the order was finalised and deposit paid. I’m off to get my partner’s finger sized. The jeweller is off to the bank.

A string of Facebook Messenger replies trickled in over the days following to request more information. Thanks, but no thanks. You’re too late.

How many potential sales is your business obliterating?

What is your enquiry to sale ratio? How has it changed with the evolution of social media, and have you stopped to wonder why people don’t proceed to sale? It may pay to start asking – in a non-confrontational, polite and inquisitive manner – why people abort their initial enquiries… Did you leave it too long to reply?

If you need an eloquently-worded message template to extract this information from leads and discover the reasons behind your failed enquiries, get in touch and let’s draft something up.

The truth is, if you’re taking more than a couple of hours to respond to online enquiries… Whether it’s emails, Facebook messages, Facebook comments, Instagram messages, Instagram comments, Twitter replies, Twitter messages, Pinterest comments, text messages and any other form of communication you make available for prospects to contact you… You are likely losing sales to competitors who get in first.

And this is you, every time they do.

via GIPHY

Improve Your Response Time

Running a small business is hard. Believe me, I get it. Burnout is real, and switching off is essential to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Nobody expects you to be available 24/7, but the reality is, you don’t need to be for your business to be.

Doing something as simple as setting up Instant Replies on your Facebook Business Page and using the Response Assistant to generate automated messages that engage customers and guide them to frequently asked questions until you’re back online is one way to improve your chances of registering your business in the race for a sale.

Hiring a real-life virtual assistant to be online when you’re not is another way to instantly engage potential customers at their first point of enquiry to increase your chances of securing a sale before prospects scuttle off to gather nine more quotes from highly-responsive competitors.

Get in the Fast Lane

If your business needs help setting up Instant Replies on Facebook and creating message templates to gather data on why prospects abort enquiries, or you’d like your communication channels reviewed to ensure your business is making the best use of platforms that appeal to your target market, get in touch to arrange a Marketing Hour of Power and let’s register your business in the fast lane for more sales.

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