Used to be, you could reach Sarah day or night.
She was pretty much available on her cell 24/7. If you were a client, you could call. If you wanted to ask about being her client, share your story or just kick her tires, Sarah was your girl.
“I might miss someone! It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and I don’t want anyone to go find someone else to do the work they need!”
It’s the classic lack mindset. “They’ll find someone else if I don’t perform when they snap their fingers.”
The problem with dog-eat-dog mentality is that dogs don’t actually eat dogs. Dogs follow the strongest leader.
As a business owner, you must be the strong leader of the pack. And the pack is your prospects, your patrons, your patients, your purchasers… your peeps. When you lead them, you become the alpha-female. You set the criteria. You teach them how to treat you. You create the standards.
Most business owners don’t create standards. They’ve simply trained themselves how to react to the needs, desires, doubts and drama of everyone around them. And they’ve trained everyone around them that they are available at any time for all of it.
Which is exactly how Sarah ended up owning a business where she had burnt up all her time, her focus and her adrenals. She just thought she HAD to answer her phone and be there for everyone all the time – or else?
“They will go away.”
Not true at all.
Something magical happens when you take the leadership role in your business. When you set standards, people not only follow, but they actually like to know the rules. They appreciate your clarity.
Though there are many places to begin with standards and leading the pack, the first and easiest habit is the phone. Many solo business owners still answer their phone whenever it rings.
So think about this from a sales perspective. When you answer your phone on the spot for a prospect, you are teaching that person from the very first minute they experience you, that they are the leader of the pack. They are the alpha. They call, you answer and you perform. Even if they do hire you, guess what kind of client they will become? You got it! The kind that wants you 24/7.
Stop this craziness and become the leader. Create a structure or system that you follow to the letter each time a new prospect calls you.
Here’s what to do:
1 – Schedule a time slot in advance when you will return phone calls each day or week.
2 – Create an outgoing voice message indicating when someone can expect a return call from you. Encourage them to leave an email if they want a faster response.
3 – When you return the call, you can either schedule a time for an intake session (if this is a new client inquiry), or you can trouble shoot on the spot, depending on the nature of the call.
(Obviously, none of this applies to clients who are calling in for their scheduled appointments.)
You can also eliminate all of this by hiring someone to answer your phone for you, and take care of your customer service needs on the spot.
If you don’t believe it’ll work, you can just test it out for yourself. Sarah did. And she was blown away at the results. She lost exactly two clients. The rest were grateful for the new standards she was setting. And the best part is that her confidence level skyrocketed.
You can call her and ask her yourself if you want. (But you’ll have to leave a message and she’ll call you back at 4:30 this afternoon.)
So, share with me in the comments below…
Do you still answer your phone? Or is there another avenue where you make yourself available all the time for people? How are you NOT behaving like the leader in your business?