A Warning to Small Businesses: Your Response Time is Slaughtering Sales

A Warning to Small Businesses: Your Response Time is Slaughtering Sales

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

In today’s age of instant gratification and endless 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 made two relatively significant purchases. The first being a Yarra Valley winery tour for 25 people; the second, commissioning a jeweller to make a 9ct 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 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.

The next jeweller responded about an hour later. Within a couple of hours I had a quote from this jeweller, all the information I needed to reach a decision and enough rapport with him to feel obliged 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 to provide a quote. Thanks, but no thanks. You’re too late.

How many sales are you slaughtering?

What is your enquiry to sale ratio? How has it changed with the evolution of social media, and have you ever 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.


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 work or 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 their 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 run off to gather nine more quotes from your highly-responsive competitors.

Stop the Slaughter

If your business needs help setting up Instant Replies on Facebook or creating message templates to gather data on why prospects abort their enquiries, or you’d like to have your communication channels reviewed to ensure your business is making the best use of the platforms that appeal to your target market, get in touch to arrange a Marketing Hour of Power and let’s put a stop to the needless slaughter of innocent online enquiries.

Post tags: