Wasted Marketing & the $20k Phone Call

Do you spend thousands of dollars on marketing and then waste the interaction it creates?

I run a company that spends a lot of time and money connecting home sellers with real estate professionals.  One of our biggest struggles is convincing real estate agents and investors to treat every phone call, every lead, as if it had $50,000 attached to it.

Especially in small businesses, we tend to get back to people “when it’s convenient” – well, that doesn’t work in the Internet world, where 50 of your competitors are 1 click away and ready to respond faster and better than you are.

And you may not even know it’s happening – most customers won’t say “someone else called me back before you did, so I’m working with them” – they just won’t call you back at all, leaving you to wonder what happened.

In the Internet economy – the research shows that if you take more than 15 minutes to get back to any new prospect who contacts you via a your web site, or a lead who fills out a form, or someone who leaves you a phone message – your chances plummet of ever working with them at all.

That’s something to think about when spending thousands of dollars or more each month trying to reach qualified customers.

Seth Godin (marketing genius and author) has a great post on his blog about this – and how letting an employee who isn’t amazing at customer service answer the phone can waste all your marketing dollars…

The $20,000 phone call

When a homeowner decides to put his house on sale and calls a broker…

When he calls the moving company…

When a family arrives in town and calls someone recommended as the family doctor…

When a wealthy couple calls their favorite fancy restaurant looking for a reservation…

Go down the list. Stockbrokers, even hairdressers. And not just people who recently moved. When a new referral shows up, all that work and expense, and then the phone rings and it gets answered by your annoyed, overworked, burned out, never very good at it anyway receptionist, it all falls apart.

What is the doctor thinking when she allows her neither pleasant nor interested in new patients receptionist to answer the phone?

— Seth Godin

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