Advertising & Salesmanship: Losing the Business but Gaining the Customer

There are 3 practical tips you could take away: in advertising and the act of salesmanship.

The action points are revealed towards the end of this case study.

But before then, just follow me through this short encounter I had early this year, 2017…

There I was, engrossed at the task at hand. A phone call came in. This time; it was an unknown number.
For such calls, depending on my mood, I could choose to pick this strange number or not. I thought to myself.

As a small business owner, you would agree with me that we wished our limited time was not wasted on frivolities. With time that is how we get wired as entrepreneurs.

We like to optimize our resources. Yet, we don’t want to lose any business or opportunities. And these can come from anywhere and when we least expect. For a split of a second I contemplated, followed my hunch and I picked the call.

My voice grudgingly said, “Hello”.
The man at the other end – with such a respectable tone – asked after a product we advertised, about 4 years prior to this time.
So he reminded me. “I saw your advert online; and I need more details and that’s why I am calling…if you are still into it”.

This got me straightened up; now, with a clearer voice.

(As you read this; what would you expect I do at this time but to give the prospect more attention. I put aside the task at hand.)

He asked many questions to get full details. Suddenly the call came to an abrupt stop. As we say in my clime; his call credit must have been exhausted.

Now I was calculating if I should return the call. I was wondering if my investment in my personal time would be worthwhile. I was thought again of the cost of the phone call, if I had to return the call.
Yet, you need to sell. But was he going to be a buyer? I was not too sure.

So I gambled on my instincts again. I called him back. I eventually persuaded him we continue on his further inquiries on the WhatsApp platform. That would save me some cost even if he wasn’t going to place an immediate order.

The specific material we use for the product in question was different from what he wanted. He wanted a material that would last many years. I told him the type we had would not go beyond three to six months. These are items kids play with. He wanted to place an order!

I had to tell him the truth despite the desperation in his expectation. Every other component of the product he loved but for this different input. However I gave him a few suggestions where he could source for such a material outside the country.
At the end of that initial phase of his inquiry, he surprisingly volunteered by saying,” I like your honesty”.

Out of the blues he asked; if we offered a totally different service that he urgently needed. (I don’t know why he brought that up.)

But by share coincidence or by providence, this new request has presently become our major job.
I told him that was what I was working on for a client, when he called. And I highlighted how we could be of help.
Thereafter, he promised that he would engage in due course.
Our chat ended. That was a prospect from a least expected channel.

Practical Tips to Take Away

  1. Continuous advertising will ultimately be rewarding.
    Set aside an affordable amount out of your expenditures for advertising.
  2. Tell your customer the truth, always. (That is smart selling)
    Do not hesitate to tell your clients the truth even if your business can’t meet up
    with their specific requirement at a particular time. You can’t sell to everybody.
  3. Treat all prospective customers with respect.
    You never can tell of the positive outcome – at the present and in the future —
    if such an encounter makes them feel good.

Tell me your reactions below…

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