by Jocelyn

I am moving today, and a curious thing happened when I was trying to hire a moving company. Perhaps from this story of how not to handle incoming sales calls, we can learn some valuable lessons.

I needed to employ the help of a moving company to assist me in my 8th move in eleven years. I have experienced all kinds of moves – from down the street to down the Eastern seaboard.

A friend of mine handed me a card and said that this moving company was unparalleled. She said it would be the easiest move I’d ever made – and I had the experiences to compare! I consulted for further verification and they had received good reviews there, too.

So, here I was, a decided customer with MONEY TO SPEND. I didn’t need the sales song and dance, I had pre-vetted this company and wanted to buy from them.

I called and was told that the sales manager was busy, but that someone would get right back to me. For one day, no one did. I thought, if this is how they treat a potential sale, maybe I don’t want to buy the service. So, I contacted a second recommended company and was accommodated beautifully.

We all get our share of lukewarm prospects, but you never know which incoming cold call has already done their homework and has settled on you as their first choice. So, here are some things that could have helped my first choice get my business.

1. Make sure that you have a smart, friendly organized person handling your incoming calls. Remember – they are an important brand touchpoint!

2. Have a system in place for logging in new contacts, and taking messages.

3. Perhaps have some information that can be emailed, or referred to on the Web site while the potential customer is waiting to have a call returned.

4. Guarantee a call back time – we all get busy, but there should be a reasonable window to return calls.

5. Don’t wait more than 24 hours to return a call.

Those are just some of my ideas. Anyone have any more?