Do you want to get rid of a client really fast never to have them return? Of course, that’s not what you want. When you’ve earned a client or you have a prospect in your sales funnel you want them to stay a client for a life-time continuing to buy from you, and referring others to you. The life-time value of a life-long client is huge, and critical to sustaining a viable business.

Unfortunately, you may be making a simple and common mistake that sets you up for high client attrition. I’d like to demonstrate this mistake by sharing a personal experience. Recently I was shopping for a new provider for a merchant account. I used the internet to let these providers know I was looking. Immediately I got emails and phone calls from the four providers I’d contacted. After gathering all the data and information I needed to make a buying decision I narrowed my selection down to two. I initiated the purchase process with both because I wanted to put them to the test. I contacted both companies. My call to company A was answered by a live person who very personably answered all my questions and reminded me that I could contact them at any time and they would get back to me as expediently as possible to address my concerns. Company B acknowledges initiation of the sales process with an email, but when I called I could only leave a message that would be “transcribed and forwarded to a customer service representative who would contact me shortly”. I wanted to give company B a chance to respond so I waited…3 days. After 3 days I called again, and again, and again. Always the same none response. Finally I found a number after much searching that was answered by a live person, but this was just an answering service and they could do nothing more than take a message.

As you can imagine I did not choose company B. And your prospects or clients won’t choose you either if you can’t respond to them. Clients and prospects are reasonable folks for the most part. They don’t expect that you will instantly take care of them and their needs anytime they call, but they do expect that you will acknowledge that you got their message.

When you acknowledge their message indicate when and how you’ll respond, or if you need more information. The time gap between their request and your response needs to be reasonable, and you need a mechanism for dealing with emergencies. Yes, in sales their emergency is an emergency for you too, and you need a reasonable plan for responding.

When you flub up and ignore a message or don’t follow through on a client’s contact you can expect they’ll get angry. You can also expect that they won’t appreciate having to get angry to get a rise out of you. And even though they may allow you one time to mess up by not responding to them you can also expect they’ll leave you like a hot potato never to return, and ever to tell all how you can’t be relied on if it happens again. And…well, you know what that will do to your career.

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