“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton
As a business owner, you know that attracting prospects and turning them into customers is the lifeblood of any company. But have you ever thought about why someone would choose a competitor over you? If you’ve ever lost a prospect to a competitor (it happens to the best of them), there are several likely culprits. Check out five reasons you’re losing business to your competitors and what you can do to win back the hearts of your prospects.
1. Poor Search Rankings
Do you know which search terms your prospects use to find local businesses like yours on popular search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo? Are you landing on the first page of these search engines after a prospect types in a search term? If you don’t know which search terms to use for your industry in order to be found online, or if your competitors rank higher on a search engine page than you, you’re probably losing business to your competition.
That’s because most consumers don’t look at search results past a search engine’s first page. And, according to BIA Kelsey and ConStat, 97% of consumers use online media to shop locally. The best strategy to high search engine rankings uses both organic search engine optimization (SEO) and Pay-Per-Click campaigns. So make sure you have an online strategy in place so you can be found in search engine results before prospects find your competitors.
2. Poor Online Reputation
Do you know what people are saying about you and your business online? Do you know how your reputation compares to your competitors? Managing your online reputation is critical in today’s connected world. That’s because prospects will often check online review sites and your social media pages as part of their research during the buying process.
In fact, 90% of respondents in a 2013 survey said online reviews influenced their buying decisions. No matter how good your products or services are, if past customers have left negative online reviews or posted negative comments on your social media pages, you’re most likely losing business to your competitors.
The good news is that there are proactive strategies you can use to address poor online reviews and negative comments on social media. And, you can work to build a positive reputation online to help provide a more balanced view of your company. There are also services that can save you time by monitoring your online reputation for you.
3. Website Quality/Features
Your website is your calling card to the world. It’s often the first place prospects visit to learn more about you and your business. But if your website has poor design, lacks crucial information like an easy-to-find phone number, or is difficult to navigate, your prospects will simply leave your site to check out competitor websites.
There are many features you can add to your website to help make it more appealing and helpful to your prospects – features that can help convert a prospect into a customer. The time and money you invest to ensure your website is the best it can be will pay off by attracting and keeping your visitors on your site, which in turn can lead to new business.
4. Slow Response Times
When prospects contact multiple companies via an online contact form or leave messages after business hours, you want to be the first business to follow up. That’s because up to half of all sales goes to the company who contacts the prospect back first. Your prospect is a warm lead because they have already reached out to you either online or over the phone.
So don’t waste this opportunity to win new business simply due to a slow response time. By being the first one to follow up with your prospects, you’re demonstrating that you’re proactive and professional. It’s your opportunity to establish rapport, answer their questions, and perhaps even set an appointment or schedule a visit.
5. Customer Service
A brand loyalty survey by ClickFox noted that 56% of respondents said their “first purchase or first customer service interaction with a brand” is the deciding factor in determining long-term brand loyalty. Quality customer service is essential at both the prospect stage as well as the customer stage.
Think about yourself as the customer of other businesses and the interactions you’ve had. How were you treated? If you called a company, did the person speaking sound professional and courteous? If you visited a business, were you greeted warmly and given the attention you needed? If you contacted a company by email, did you receive a prompt and articulate response?
These are just a few examples where excellent customer service comes into play in the earliest stages of the sales cycle. If you’re providing poor customer service to your prospects, they’re more likely to take their business to your competitors.
So take the time to do an honest assessment of how prospects are being treated once they contact you. If you can win a prospect’s heart early on, you have a better chance of converting them into a customer later on.
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