I’ve been sourcing some promotional items for a client from two different suppliers. Both have failed to send me a quote when they promised, and one has emailed to apologise for the delay and told me it was caused by a large order coming in from a corporate.
HANG ON A MINUTE!!!!!!
Why am I and my client any less important than the large corporate? I asked first…so surely I should be dealt with first?
And this supplier doesn’t yet know how large my client is! Not that this matters…my client is a not a corporate but our business should be treated with exactly the same respect and attention.
Rant over (well, slightly!).
What this supplier doesn’t know is:
• How often my client will come back in the future to order more items
• How many other businesses (large and small) that my client will recommend this supplier to if he is impressed
• How many other businesses that I will recommend this supplier to if I am impressed
• How quickly – or not – the large corporate will pay. My client will pay their invoice immediately – which I generally find the case with small business owners (we know how important cash flow is and so we treat other small business owners how we want to be treated, ie with quick payment).Corporates seem to pay on their own schedule, which tends to be at least 30 days.
The thing is, we NEVER know what’s behind an enquiry and where it will lead in the future. If your marketing is doing its job correctly and bringing in the right kind of leads, then those leads should be treated with the same level of importance and respect, no matter who they are. If you’re not happy with the type of lead you’re attracting, then you need to change your marketing.
Part of your marketing is how you deal with enquiries as they come in: it all adds up to your brand identity and shows your values. That is, it shows your prospective purchaser whether they want to do business with you or not.
Years ago I helped someone out on Twitter. This particular lady had got herself into a bit of legal hole with a promotion she was running. Part of my role as a marketer is to know marketing law and so I dug her out of her hole (mostly damage limitation in her case). It took a few hours of my time and a few phone calls to both the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards. I did this for free. There was no way that this business owner could afford that level of help, but that didn’t matter. She needed help, respect and attention, and this she got. When we’d sorted the issue out, she went off happily (never to run that promotion again!).
A few days later I received a request from another business owner to answer a one off marketing question for a low fee. I answered that question, telling her how she could avoid spending more of her budget in the process. That lady turned into one of my best paying clients for about four years until her business grew too big for my help and she needed an agency instead.
That business owner turned out to be the cousin of the lady I helped out on Twitter.
So….I’m sure that you already do…but let’s get the message out there that every enquiry into our business should be treated with exactly the same level of respect and attention, no matter what size of their business, or what size of fee.
Dedicated to your success,