I wanted to do business and I got ignored

I recently had some small business owners visit my home to give me an estimate for some yard work. As expected, some were keepers, while others weren’t a good fit.

Within a few days, we started receiving proposals.

I quickly responded with “Thanks for the proposal; I’ll let you know if I have questions after I’ve had some time to review.” A few weeks passed from these initial visits. My wife and I discussed options, plans, next steps.

My yard may look like this one day, but it's been slow going to find a suitor.
My yard may look like this one day, but it’s been slow going to find a suitor.

The 3 proposals that I received were good, not great. They left a few questions that were perfect for a follow up call, or, at the very least an email thread.

Amazingly, it has been nearly 2 weeks since these initial visits, and not one small business owner has followed up with me.

I expected a:

“What did you think of the proposal?”

“Did you have any questions?”

“Can we schedule a time to start the work?”

My hope for these business owners is that they are so floored with business that they don’t have time to respond. Maybe these owners have 50 proposals in flight all at once. This sounds like a good, and avoidable, problem to have. Unfortunately though, as a potential customer, I do expect a response.

If you are bursting at the seams with business, hire someone to follow up with prospects.

I can only imagine what percentage of a small business owner’s business happens through referral. When you refer someone, it is based on ‘out of this world’ commitment to winning your business, overdelivering on your need, making you thrilled that you made the right choice when selecting a vendor.

I want American small business to thrive, yet I am discouraged by a recent experience of feeling ignored, unwelcomed. Let’s hope this is an anomaly; a small blip on the trail of unrelenting focus on the customer for small business owners everyone.

Meanwhile, my yard sits; waiting for an eager and willing small business owner to transform into a garden paradise.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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