By Sean Gagnon, Special AFS Contributor

One of the great things about living in northwest New Jersey is the abundance of farms around where we can get fresh organic turkeys for our holiday meals.

A few years ago I found one of these farms and have been going there ever since. The quality of the turkey is incredible and we look forward to it every year. This year was no exception so about 6 weeks ago we put in our order.

A beautiful 25-pound fresh turkey that I know all of my family and friends will enjoy. With Thanksgiving fast approaching my anticipation is growing, I recently had an exchange with the owner of the farm and there are some valuable lessons for all of our businesses.

Phone Skills Matter

Earlier this week I was in a meeting and my phone rang. It was my friend from the farm. His name is Rick but I affectionately call him ‘The Turkey Guy’. I couldn’t take the call but he left a message, however from this exchange there are three valuable lessons to be learned. 

Lesson #1 - If you make a business call and the person doesn’t answer, leave a message!  I’m shocked at how many times someone calls me and doesn’t do that. My take is that if you don't’ feel it was important enough to tell me why you called, I don’t feel it’s important enough to call you back!

After my meeting, I listened to his message and here it was: “Hi Sean, It’s Rick from Vacciano Farms. Can you please give me a call? I need to speak with you about your order. My number is 555-1212. Have a great day.”

Lesson #2 - Make your message short but get your one key message across. Too often I hear people - even my own reps - leaving 30-60 second messages with 2 or 3 points to try and get across. People are busy. Get to the point but make it compelling enough for them to want to call you back.

Lesson #3 - Tell them why you are calling but leave some mystery as well. If he had told me exactly what he wanted, chances are I may not have called him back. You’ll see why in a moment. I did know however that he wanted to speak to me about something that was important to ME! He didn’t tell me about him or what he needed but caught my attention with something valuable - my order! Guess what? I called him back right away.

Seize the Opportunity

I recently listened to a podcast where the speaker made a fantastic point about communicating with our customers and potential customers. He said - “You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person”. Sure we need to try and spread our message to cast a wide net, however much of that will fall on deaf ears. On the other hand, when you have someone who wants to hear from you, a current customer or a lead that has already responded to your messaging, you have to seize the opportunity.

Far too many salespeople and entrepreneurs miss this simple fact. Someone responds to an ad or other lead generation tactic and they don’t follow up!  A person is literally telling you they are interested and you get back to them - maybe - at some point?  You have to treat these leads like GOLD. That is what they are. Do everything you can to get in touch with them NOW and show them how your product or service will solve their problems.

Often times we say things like, “I don’t want to be pushy” or “I don’t want to be too ‘salesy”. Turn that around and show them everything you can do for them. Show them how much VALUE you can provide. They may buy more or they may not but that’s not up to you. In today’s business environment it is incredibly hard to cut through all the noise and actually win someone’s business. When you do you have to create as much value as possible for your customer and they, in turn, will do the same for you!

If you sold someone on personal training services or group cycling classes don’t stop there. You need to sell your services with a purpose!

  • What else do you offer?
  • Do you have retail offerings like cool shirts with your sayings on them?
  • Do you offer nutrition services?
  • Flexibility sessions?
  • Do you have a cross-promotion with the local massage therapist that they can take advantage of?
  • Do you offer gift certificates that they can use for holidays and special occasions?

See where I'm going? All of these are potential sources of revenue that you may be missing simply because you don’t ask. When you have a customer you have to tell them everything that you do. Again, they may not buy today or tomorrow but there will be a time where they will as long as you keep bringing the value. This is how you exponentially increase your revenue with the customers you already have. This is how you grow a business!

Oh - I almost forgot. What did the Turkey Guy actually want? When I called him back he thanked me for my business and told me the turkey would be ready on Wednesday. Then he proceeded to inform me that this year the farm was baking fresh apple and pumpkin pies. Would I like some? Sure! Throw one of each in there. ($30 in additional revenue). Then he says, before I let you go I wanted to tell you know that we also started bottling our own wine this year. We have 3 blends and I can throw some of that in too. Sure - give me 2 bottles of each (for my guests of course!). Another $90 in revenue! In one simple phone call he saved me 2 additional trips to the store (VALUE TO ME) and DOUBLED his revenue (VALUE TO HIM).

The Turkey Guy gets it….. do you?


Sean Gagnon is the founder and president of The Abs Company. He received his master’s degree in clinical physiology from the University of Florida.  For over 10 years his company has been focused on core-based functional training products for the commercial and consumer fitness markets. The Abs Company products can be found in over 10,000 facilities and millions of homes in over 40 countries worldwide. The company mission is "We Change Lives from the Core”. Sean and his team are proud to do just that every day!

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