Three times just lately, I have made contact with someone through social media and expressed an interest in what they do.  Each time they have message me and promised to send me some information.  And each time, they have failed to deliver! Are they aware this is a classic way of losing clients?

Now, perhaps they are getting so many messages they don’t need my business and aren’t interested in me.  But if that is the case, then just tell me in the first place.  Bad news travels far faster than good and if anyone ever asks me about any of these businesses, I will not hesitate to tell others not to bother with them.

And quite frankly, it is just bad manners.

It could, of course, be a case that they have simply forgotten.  But if that is the case, it is even worse for their business as they are missing out on potential income and are losing clients who could go on to be quite profitable for them.  If you are busy and cannot deal with enquiries immediately, ensure you have a system set up to remind you to send out information that you have promised to.  If you have a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system, then great.  Enter details into there and allocate yourself a task.  At the simplest end, have a paper diary and make a note in there.

At the top of most customer’s lists, by far, when dealing with a company is that they keep their word.  So if you promise something and then fail to deliver you will not only be losing clients, you will also lose your business reputation.

Regardless of how this mismanagement of your potential clients affects your business, think how it affects them.  There is a saying that it is not what you say to someone, but it is how you make them feel.  By promising something and then never getting in contact again, you may make the person feel undervalued and worthless.  There is a real danger that some of these people may be having a tough time in their personal life and this ‘small’ omission on your part, could add to their feelings of worthlessness.  I am writing this because I have seen this happen, and until I did, I didn’t realise the impact that we, as small business owners can have on other people’s lives.  A simple thing that we don’t think really matters, can have a huge impact on the person at the other end.

I am not saying that you have to responsibility for other people’s personal issues, but I am saying stop and think when making promises you are not going to keep.  Next time someone asks you for something, think twice before blindly saying you will send something on or do something.  Be realistic.  Tell them if you are too busy. Tell them if you don’t think you can supply what they want, when they want, or even if you don’t think they are the right client for you.

Being honest could stop you losing clients and save both your business reputation and hurt feelings for your lost client.

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