Unless your goal is to scare potential customers away, never say these seven things to them.
Seven things you never want to say to a customer
1. Never say to a potential customer: We don’t accept credit cards – Your customers expect you to accept credit cards – when you tell them you can’t – you immediately disappoint them and give them a big reason not do business with you!
These days, most businesses do qualify for a merchant account from their bank or at the very least qualify to open a WorldPay account. (We’ll cover that in another article.)
Bottom line – you are not really in business unless you can accept credit card payments.
2. Never say to a potential customer: Please allow 28 days for delivery– When your customers are ready to buy, they usually want the product immediately.
If you tell potential customers they have to wait 28 days before they can get the product, most will go somewhere else to buy. Even if customers have to wait just a few days, or in some cases, a few hours (i.e. to access to a subscription web site or download an eBook/Software item), they will often go away without placing the order.
Bottom Line: To avoid losing customers, make sure your products are available for immediate shipment. Be sure to offer next day shipping when possible. And never offer products that require customers to wait 28 days for delivery.
3. Never say to a potential customer: No questions allowed! – Often customers will want to speak to you before placing an order. But if you don’t include a phone number in your ad or on your website, it is like saying ‘no you can’t call us and ask questions!‘
Not having a phone number where customers can reach you before the sale often discourages the sale itself.
Bottom Line: Always include a phone number in all your ads, web site, press releases, and sales letters.
4. Never say to a potential customer: We aren’t interested in your call – Incoming calls to your business should always be answered – either by a live person, or by a professional voice mail system.
Never let phone calls go answered. Doing so immediately causes doubt in the customer’s mind. They begin to wonder, “Is this a real business? No one seems to ever answer the phone. Maybe I should place my order with another company.”
In my office I have a voice mail system to answer all incoming calls that can’t be personally answer. When we are out of the office during business hours, we forward our office phones to our mobile phones. This allows us to take business calls whenever they come in, wherever we may be.
The same is true with fax calls. Potential customers expect you to have a fax machine – all real businesses do. If a potential customer wants to fax you a question, a sales order, or anything else, you want to be able to receive the fax.
Bottom Line: Make sure your business phones are answered. During business hours the phones should be answered by a real person, and a voice mail system after hours. If you can’t afford a voice mail system and stand-alone fax machine, then configure your computer to answer your phone and receive incoming faxes for you.
5. Never say to a potential customer: We don’t have a website – these days, customers expect you to have a web site. And they expect to see information about your company, your location, the products you offer, support materials, and more at that web site.
If you don’t have a web site, your customers might find a competitor who does.
Bottom Line: Almost all businesses should have a web site. The website should have a professional design, be easy to use, and provide the kind of information potential customers will be looking for.
6. Never say to a potential customer: Sorry, I don’t have a business card – it continues to amaze me how often I am asked for a business card by potential customers who I come in contact with in non-business environments.
For example, recently whilst I was buying a new car, the salesman asked about the kind of business I ran, and after hearing the explanation he said, “I know someone looking for that kind of software. Give me your business card and I’ll pass it on to him.” And he did, and we got a call from someone who may turn into a customer.
Bottom Line: Make sure you have business cards with you wherever you go. You never know when you might find a new customer. (Make sure your business card has your name, your company name, your web site address, your email address, and a brief description of the kinds of products or services you offer).
7. Never say to a potential customer: Yes, our product can do everything you ever wanted. That can’t possible be true – no matter how great a product or service you have, it can’t do everything.
If a potential customer asks about features your product doesn’t have, be honest. Tell them that you haven’t included the feature, but it is a good suggestion and you’ll consider adding it (if that is possible).
Whatever you do, don’t mislead potential customers about what your product can and can’t do. Be honest about it – customers do appreciate honesty. You can avoid disappointing customers by being clear about what your product can or can’t do.
Bottom Line: Better to lose a sale than to create a disappointed or angry customer. If your customer is looking for a feature that you don’t include in your product, tell them so.