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Allen & Associates Consulting, Inc

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Marketing Opportunities Lost When the Phone Rings

red-phone-highly-paid-expert-350When the phone rings in your business, are your employees prepared to turn the call into a solid marketing opportunity? Or are they rushing through the call, not connecting with the prospecting customers and losing you thousands of dollars in revenue?

How many businesses do you call that WOW you on the phone? How many actually take the time to connect with you and use the opportunity to actually market their business more effectively. This always amazes me because most businesses spend countless dollars on advertising hoping customers will call them, but when they do, customers are often put on hold or put off?


You know how frustrating it is when you call a business and before you can get a word out you hear, “Can you hold please?” Most of the time you don’t even have time to respond and they already have you on hold. So why did they even bother asking?

You didn’t call to be put on hold or transferred three times explaining your question or concern over and over. Then when you finally think you’ve been heard you hear, “Sorry you’ve got the wrong department. I’ll need to transfer you. Can you hold please?”



The only thing worse that being put on hold is going through voice mail hell. Will a REAL LIVE person ever answer the phone? Often there are so many choices on the voice mail that you forget what you called for and then the message comes on and says “To repeat these messages press …” Then you go through it all over gain and finally you reach the right person in the right department and they say, “Can you hold please?” ERRRRR!

Do these companies ever call their own companies to see how their prospective customers are being turned off everyday? I doubt it!


When discussing lost marketing opportunities in my presentations I ask for volunteers who will allow me to call their businesses in front of the audience. Some brave business owner always steps up to the challenge. They call their business from their cell phone and hand it to me. I get on the call posing as a prospective customer and at the same time, the call is heard by the entire audience on the microphone. Most of the time they are shocked by what their employees have to say.

For example: The owner of a company who sold sandals wholesale had a warehouse in the city where I was presenting. He made the call and handed me the phone. I explained to the employee that I understood that they were wholesalers but wondered if they could tell me of a retail store in the area that sold their shoes. After the employee told me he was not sure, he put me on hold and when he returned he told me, “No, sorry, we don’t have anyone in town.”

I said, “Okay, well I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. Do you know of a store that sells them there? I really want to buy a few pair because I think there great.”

“No, I don’t think we have a store there either. I really don’t know what retailers carry our shoes.”

The business owner sat there in shock as he heard the conversation. When I hung up he told me how upset that made him because they had a couple of retail stores in the area plus some in my city as well.

Whose fault was it that the marketing and sales opportunity was lost? The employee or the owner? Both… but if the owner never communicated to the employee how to handle calls and had never gone through different scenarios to allow the employee to think on his feet, how would he ever know how to do it, much less do it well.


Studies consistently show that the telephone remains one of the most underused business tools. Researchers called 5,000 yellow page advertisers to say that they had seen their ad and asked about the price of products or services.

The results revealed endless lost opportunities. More than 78 percent of those phoned didn’t bother to ask for the caller’s name. Lost Opportunity!

Over 55 percent took eight rings or more to answer. According to the researchers, many of the people who answered the phone rushed through the call and spoke so rapidly that it was hard to understand them. Lost Opportunity!

Less than 10 percent answered the phone in a manner that made the caller feel welcome enough to want to do business with them. Lost Opportunity!

Your telephone could be a powerful marketing tool if you and your employees regard every call as a marketing opportunity.


Answer the phone by the second or third ring. Taking too long to answer creates an impression of disorganization and/or lack of interest.

Speak slowly and clearly giving your name, your company’s name and a simple, direct offer of assistance such as, “How may I be of assistance to you today?”

Put a smile on your face when you pick up the phone and a smile in your voice before you reply. To get into the habit of doing this, place a mirror next to the phone so that you will see your facial expression when you answer.

Are you ringing up marketing opportunities or placing them on hold?

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