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Perception is Everything

I get on contractor’s butts all the time for not answering their phones. I spend hours trying to figure out ways to get their phones to ring, and what do they do? They send the call to voicemail. Well guess what, people don’t want your voicemail, they want to talk to you about how you can fix their problem.

I understand you are pretty much useless answering a call while you are in a ditch or working a front-end loader, but when you are cruising from job to job and you just don’t feel like answering a call, you didn’t just avoid a phone call, you threw away a chance at a hundred, or a five hundred or a ten thousand dollar bill.

If you are OK with that, then get off my blog!

If throwing away opportunity is what you consider good business practice, then go in peace. You are destined to live a meager life. But if you want 2012 to be the best year you’ve had in a while, then you have to pick up your phone for Pete’s sake!

But, I understand if you truly can’t take that call

And I have a solution for you. Grasshopper (aff link). Grasshopper is not your typical PBX phone solution alternative, Grasshopper gives your company the ability to setup departments. Say your wife handles the bills, then set up a department for say accounting or sales, or 24-hour emergencies. Make yourself look big! Why?

Because perception is marketing

From the site:

Sound Professional & Stay Connected

The Virtual Phone System Designed for Entrepreneurs

  1. Toll free or local number – local or national presence
  2. Unlimited extensions – for departments & employees
  3. Call forwarding – work from anywhere
  4. Voicemails via email – play online or on cell phone
  5. Manage online or by phone – no hardware to purchase
  6. New Feature! – 855 Toll Free Numbers

Now, I use these guys for client work and they really are good. The cool feature I like the most is that they will have a professional voice over person (male or female, you get to pick) do your entire menu tree, which is great when you have a Philly accent as thick as a cheese steak.

So stop sending people to your cell phone, or worse, that ridiculous answering machine that is still sitting on your desk. If marketing is perception, and your prospects perceive your organization as amateurish, how much new business are you losing because of bad phone habits? I bet you don’t even know!

6 responses to “Perception is Everything”

  1. Peter Martino Avatar
    Peter Martino

    We use Grasshopper. It’s a great service. We also use a call answering service after hours and on weekends. Costs us about$250 a month, but in my opinion it’s well worth it to have a live voice answering the phone at all times. Don’t assume a potential customer–who doesn’t care if it’s you or any other contractor in town–will call you back (or even leave a message). Just last week I called a plumber to do some work on my heating system (I left a message). 5 DAYS later he called me back! The work was already completed by someone else. This is the same type of person that complains about not having enough work….

  2. John Buell Avatar
    John Buell

    Thanks for the “kick in the shorts” Darren! I do miss calls, especially when running the loader. I need a flashing light or something! Grasshopper does look interesting.

    1. Darren Avatar

      You are welcome John! We all need one once in a while! Have a Merry Christmas!

  3. Shawn Warren Avatar
    Shawn Warren

    YOU TELL EM DARREN!! Same goes for anyone for that matter, but yes most specialized contractors I’ve tried to deal with don’t answer their phones. Another pet peeve is not returning messages.

    That’s one thing I pride myself on at Freedom Builders & Remodelers. No silly answering service with multiple prompts. 99% of the time you will get a live person every time you call. If you do happen to get voice mail. I will return your call usually within the hour.

    1. Darren Avatar

      Hey Shawn! Where have you been? I hope very busy from all the work you get from reading this stuff I do here at Darren’s house of useless knowledge! I want you to have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours! Let’s catch up after the new year!

  4. Shawn Warren Avatar
    Shawn Warren

    Merry Christmas Darren. Been well, not as busy as I have hoped, but at the last minute picking up. I have several folks helping and plans for a marketing blast starting in March. I have some other good thing finally coming into fruition sourcing Materials – (by passing ‘Big Box stores) direct. One I’m excited about, American, made in the Midwest line of quality cabinets 🙂 at very reasonable prices