These days, the “competition” among small service driven-businesses is insane.
Why did I put “competition” in quotes? Well, everyone and their uncle is starting a service-driven business, either full time or as a side gig. It’s a byproduct of technology becoming cheaper and more widely accessible. It seems like every influencer is popping up a website (maybe within an hour, with today’s templates), and then pushing out “free education” as well as social media. The industry is flooded with what I like to call pop-up shops.
Take wedding venues, as just one example. If you have been in the industry for long enough, you know that there’s a huge difference between a trusted brand and someone who just happens to have a sprawling oak tree out back, and wants to make an extra buck.
A Trend With An Impact
When this trend first started, consumers didn’t know any different. They didn’t know what to look for, or what questions to ask. They based decisions on the look of the website and social media buzz. Basically, they bought a car for its snazzy looks and soon realized it doesn’t even start!
As a result, many consumers have become jaded. They hired a “pop-up shop” – thinking that they were hiring a professional business – and the experience was frustrating. Maybe the owner didn’t even show up, or the clients received horrible service.
That creates apprehension the next time they’re looking for a service-driven business. Burned in the past, these clients are craving professionalism.
Proactive Communication Conveys Professionalism
So, how do you do it? How do you become a trusted brand when you may be just starting out?
How do you convey professionalism early and often?
Easy. Proactive communication.
Let’s start with this statistic: More than 50% of businesses don’t even answer their lead inquiries! 50%! And half of those that do take several days to respond to a new lead. That’s insane! The fact is, the faster you answer a lead, the better the chances are that you will book them.
But let’s go back to that more than 50% of businesses. Why don’t they answer their leads?
In today’s world, it’s much easier to be reactive, instead of proactive. Many small business owners wait until a lead makes contact, and then reply when time permits. Sometimes that free moment never arrives!
The smarter alternative? Put a system in place, so that each lead is answered automatically.
From experience, I can tell you that some small business owners refuse to take this simple step. They may complain that they “don’t have time,” or they fear that the system will seem impersonal.
Both are bad excuses. Service-driven businesses that fail to reply to leads automatically are losing potential clients. It’s just that simple.
Anticipate Questions, Build Trust
Proactive communication is key to success in business. By proactively communicating, you are creating a rave-worthy client experience and a trustworthy brand.
If you answer questions before your clients even ask (or think to ask), you will instill confidence that you can do the job, take care of the details, and provide a great experience. These are all things that increase your worth as a professional.
Better still, when clients trust you, they also trust you with their friends. That means more referrals, and more money!
Does This Ever Happen?
Not attracting bookings, despite your low prices? Or do you have clients who try to control the experience? (Something like this …)
Client: “I think if you did ________, it would be better.”
You: (Eye roll)
Or, have you had clients haggle over prices? Or write a nasty review, when the whole time you thought it was going great?
The common cause for all the above is a lack of trust, which comes from a lack of proactive communication. If you can turn your reactive communication into proactive communication, then you’ll find the success you desire.
Know The Difference
If you are struggling with the difference between reactive and proactive communication, here are a few examples of reactive communication:
- Client: “What time are we meeting tomorrow?”
(Your failure to send a reminder email tells them that you’re too busy for them.)
- Client: “What do I need to bring tomorrow?”
(By not providing a guided experience, your clients feel they need to take control. That undercuts confidence in you.)
Another scenario is having issues the day of the service.
- Example #1: Your client shows up with the wrong items or is completely unprepared.
(The experience is tarnished, which reflects badly on your brand.)
- Example #2: Your client isn’t prepared to pay or sign the contract.
(You lose valuable time. Your client is left in “sticker shock.”)
- Example #3: Your client is unhappy with the product or service you provided.
(Proactive, ongoing communication can avoid such nasty surprises.)
Basically, each time that clients ask you a question, you are being reactive to them. Instead, we need to anticipate the questions that clients might have, and offer those answers proactively. A great way to judge how well you’re doing? Ask your client, “Do you have any questions?” They should simply say, “Nope, you covered it all.”
If they do come back with a lot of questions, write those questions down. Then, with your next client, take those answers into consideration as you communicate.
Making Proactive Communication Easy
Let’s face it, this kind of intuitive, proactive communication isn’t always easy, especially with today’s time-pressed schedules. That’s why you need an all-in-one automated solution like 17hats.
With 17hats, you can organize and manage your leads and contacts effortlessly.
New leads will receive a personalized email as soon as they complete a Lead Capture Form, which is embedded within your site or social media.
Leads and clients can easily book appointments with 17hats Online Scheduling. Once booked, those same customers automatically receive confirmation and reminder emails.
Using 17hats, clients can access and complete documents such as Invoices, Quotes, Contracts, and Questionnaires within their secure online Client Portal.
And finally, by running your business on 17hats, time ceases to be the enemy. Automation becomes your silver bullet. By proactively communicating with 17hats, you will stand out from the crowd, and come across as professional, organized, and reliable.
Learn more. Join our free demo to understand exactly how 17hats can help you convey professionalism through proactive communication.