Dial up for profits

Don't lose sales from failing to follow up on incoming calls

Each year, companies lose billions of dollars in sales by failing to follow up on incoming phone calls. One study indicates that only 20% of all leads that are generated by retail sales organizations are followed up, yet incoming calls were found to be the best source of new leads. Bob Popyk, a national columnist, speaker and publisher of Creative Selling(r), a monthly newsletter on sales and marketing strategies, offers some basic tips for keeping in touch with potential customers.

  • Always make sure that you ask for a name. Also, try for a phone number (or an e-mail or snail mail address for your mailing list) and try to make an appointment to get the caller into your store.
  • Establish rapport with the caller. If you get their name right away, you can use it throughout the conversation. Your voice, tone and attitude is the only impression the caller has of you and your business. Your voice can determine whether you add a new customer, or lose that customer to a competitor.
  • Be helpful. Your caller may not be aware of all the services you’re offering, or all the makes and models of your product or the assortment of accessories you stock. Be familiar with prices, makes
  • and models and what’s available in stock or what can be ordered. Don’t be passive or react only to what your caller has said. Go beyond the call of duty in offering them more than they’ve asked for.
  • Try to negotiate a potential sale. Suggest a date and time for them to come in to see whatever it is they’re looking for.

For a free sample issue of Creative Selling(r), call (800)724-9700 or visit www.creativeselling.com.

College Scholarships Available
The Padgett Business Services Foundation, a financial reporting and tax consulting franchisor, is offering more than $100,000 in scholarships to high school seniors in the U.S. who are children of independent business owners. Regional awards for $500 are offered as part of the Padgett Business Services’ International Scholarship Program. Since its inception in 1998, the Padgett Foundation’s Scholarship Program has awarded over $500,000 to dependents of small business owners.

Scholarship applicants must be graduating high school seniors who plan to attend a post-secondary accredited institution. The legal guardian of the student must be an active owner of at least 10% of the stock or capital in a business that employs fewer than 20 people. All awards will be based on applicant test scores, high school grade point averages and educational and career plans. Local winners will be announced in May. All regional winners will become eligible for a grand prize scholarship of $4,000, announced in June. The deadline for applying is March 1, 2000. For an application and more information, contact 800-PADGETT or scholarship@smallbizpros.com.

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