How Much is Your Sales Prevention Department Costing You?

More and more shops are using a gatekeeper to help with shielding the owner from someone that person (the gatekeeper) decides they shouldn’t talk to. This has been more prevalent as shops are busy AND running short-handed on techs.

Some even use their “gate-keeper” to screen their mail, making decisions on what he should or shouldn’t see that comes in his mailbox. Once they have made the decision, what the gatekeeper thinks the owner doesn’t need to see goes in the trash without the owner even seeing it or knowing it showed up.

In a particular case I know about, the gatekeeper was making these decisions with NO guidance from the owner. This person was using their own experience and background to make these decisions AND this person had never owned their own business. “Really?”

One of the most important things I learned as a young man when I first got into the repair business was the importance of opening my mail on a timely basis. More and more credit card info is sent so as to look like a plain unassuming piece of mail; how much is getting thrown away?

How much correspondence from a customer is there that the owner never gets to see? How does he know?

You Can’t Respond if You Don’t Know

Another “gatekeeper” duty that is costing business owner money is the call screener and the voice mail. I recently called a shop owner on his cell to tell him I called his shop and nobody answered. He told me oh, my customer service rep must have seen the caller ID and when it came up Results Marketing, she thought you were trying to sell us something. What about those customers who work at marketing firms and are calling from their work phone and want to schedule to have work done?

I had another tell me their CSR didn’t answer because they saw it was a number they could tell was from an out of town because of the area code. There is no way to tell that today, with the different area codes used in cell numbers. I have a relative who moved to Cleveland from San Francisco years ago – she still has the same phone number with the area code tied to San Francisco.

I often call businesses with answering machines and leave my name and number and asked to have the owner (I used their name) call me back; many never called back. No way they knew whether or not I was a customer or a prospective customer.

Do You Have a Sales Prevention Department?

Talk about “Sales Prevention Departments.” Is this what you really want to happen when you invest money to get new prospects to call? Think about who you have making those kinds of “decisions” about your business!! Don’t leave it to them.

I know most of your shops are busy and many are short-handed. BUT given the current state of the economy that may change soon, how many customers are you losing now that you’d love to have when things get tight?

No, you shouldn’t be answering your own phone, but someone should answer every call. If you can’t, the recordings should be monitored and addressed in a timely fashion! If you think I’m wrong, have someone mystery shop your business with more than one call. You may be in for a rude awakening.

I recently performed a mystery shop for a client; he was surprised to learn what his employees were telling me in answers to some questions. His response “I’m really surprised they would say that, we’ve gone over that in our meetings.”

This client has multiple locations. After the first one, he wanted me to check another one, where I might get his “better” employees. At that location, I spoke with a store manager. The results were almost identical.

Shop Owners Must Make the Decisions and Train Their Staff Accordingly

Critical decisions about your business should not be left to an employee’s decision making capabilities. They should given direction about who to let through and who to take messages from. They don’t know what you know! You decide if it’s a person or business you want to call back or ignore. Your business success should not be left to an employee who, in many cases, doesn’t have the training or the knowledge to make those decisions. Why would you let them make those kinds of decisions for your business?

If you’re so busy you can’t go through your own mail, you need to change something!

Shut Down that Sales Prevention Department. Can you really afford to miss potential calls from new prospects? Or even a good current customer who needs help right away and, if they can’t get it from you, they WILL go somewhere else!

With the labor shortage, and the strain it’s put on the business, we’re seeing more and more Sales Prevention Departments pop up across many industries.

I suggest you determine whether your sales prevention department is costing you business. I know that’s a loaded question.