Effective Handling of Sales Leads

January 6, 2010 by ·  

by Karline Mark-Eng

It is surprising how many sales leads are lost unknowingly on a daily basis. Cleaning business owners can easily spend a couple of hundred dollars a month on their advertising such as flyers, community newspaper ads, Yellow Page listings, etc. But, when those prospective customers pick up the phone to call your business, what do they hear? Are they immediately impressed with your professionalism? Is their call answered promptly and courteously? If they don’t reach you, are they assured a prompt call-back with a quotation?

Give yourself full marks if this is the case. However, this is not so with a great number of businesses. What the prospect instead hears is: A garbled answering machine taped message, background noises of young children and pets demanding attention, the harried voice of someone who is behind schedule and rushing out the door or worse, no answer! Undoubtedly the first impression received by the prospective customer is not a positive one. They may assume your company is too small to handle their project. So, instead of those important sales leads being handled properly, they are mismanaged and the prospect is lost to the next company on their selection process.

Hiring a professional telephone answering service is a very economical way of ensuring your company is presented with a professional image at all times. The centre may be asked to page you directly with any new sales leads and to hold the rest of the calls until you call in for them in between appointments. By selecting a company which specializes in “personalized” service, your callers will assume the person answering is your full-time secretary.

One such service which caters to small business clients is MPS Executive Suites. Karline, the owner/manager, is very aware of the importance of handling each call as if it may be your biggest new contract of the year. She says, “we have a very important responsibility to help our clients’ businesses grow. If my clients are successful, then we will be too.” Murray Forbes can attest to the quality of service the association receives from MPS. “Besides handling our calls, the staff also assists with our other office needs such as typing, copying and even boardroom rentals. I can trust the staff to add the professional business touches to all aspects of our work.”

When it comes to reviewing your office overhead expenses, having a professional answering service doesn’t necessarily cost more. If you choose carefully it can generate extra sales leads and extra revenue that more than pays for itself.

How To Enhance Your Corporate Image

January 6, 2010 by ·  

by Diana Gray

When people think of creating a corporate image, they most often think of their advertising material and website. While these are definitely important items to present well, it doesn’t stop there. Your corporate image is being “viewed,” either positively or negatively, every time someone calls you. Do they hear the noise of kids crying in the background, a noisy café or just an answering machine message?

Although there are a lot of worthwhile advantages to working from home and operating without the high cost of a full-time office, it doesn’t have to “look” like you are a small-time business. For a low monthly fee, your business can have a professional address on your business card. For a little more, a virtual office package, offered through a professional business centre, can afford you the corporate image of having a staffed office.

Establish instant credibility

Take your home address – or worse, a post office box address – off your business cards. One tells your potential customer that you have a one-person, perhaps part-time hobby business. The other says, “I really don’t want you to know where I do business or how long I might be around.”

A business mailing address and virtual office are low-cost services provided by business centres, where reception staff can receive mail and parcels and greet visitors who unexpectedly drop by to see you. In addition to establishing greater credibility, you will enjoy the efficiency of being able to focus on your work and appointments rather than, for instance, having to wait for a courier to arrive to your home. A voice mail or e-mail from your “office” will keep you informed of important documents that have been received for you.

If the time comes when your home office is no longer working for you, you can upgrade your virtual office into a full-time office without any of the long-term commitments or high set-up fees and hassle. Your turn-key completely furnished and equipped office with full support staff awaits you.

First impressions count

How many times has meeting taken place in a coffee shop? Was it as productive as you had hoped? Often, the distraction of cellphones ringing, the conversations at the next table, the clatter of coffee cups or a cash register closing is not only frustrating, but takes the focus away from concluding a deal.

Holding the meeting in a professional business environment keeps the concentration and discussions focused. It also communicates the message that you are serious about your business and respect the other person’s time. For about the same price as the tab at the coffee shop, you can rent an office or equipped meeting room by the hour or by the day in the business centre where you have established your mailing address. This not only enhances your image, it also makes your meeting more effective.

Your phone is your lifeline

It today’s highly competitive environment, exceptional customer service is no longer a luxury, but a necessity, to keep your customers happy and informed. When a prospect receives a garbled answering machine message or is left in a voice-mail maze, it provides the competition an opportunity to offer something better.

Having friendly, informed and helpful receptionist answering your phone adds an extra level of personalized professionalism that speaks to the quality of your business. It lets your customers know that you care about them and their business, and that you value their time. Being able to be directly connected with your important callers – while the less urgent matters are screened for later handling – adds to your productivity and time management.

Focus on growth

Many businesses fail because they are too busy working “in” in their business and not “on” their business. Time is your most limited asset. The best way to gain more time in your day is to recognize the tasks you are doing that could be done more efficiently and effectively by someone trained in that area.

Gregor Anton, B.C. president of Leader Global Consulting, is a believer in contracting out for business centre support services. “Having the experienced office staff at the Central Park Business Centre take my calls, handle my seminar registrations and make follow-up calls adds hours to my business day. They not only save me time, but also reinforce the business message that I teach in my marketing bootcamps, to focus on business growth.”

Business centre staff is available on an hourly basis to book appointments, update databases, prepare professional documentation including contracts and spreadsheets – and more.

Take advantage of the flexibility and variety of services available to ensure you have the tools you need to leave a lasting positive impression on every customer and prospect.

Whether you have a virtual office or a full-time office, a professional business centre can provide you the foundation from which your business can expand to its greatest potential.