I constantly try to tell people that every marketing piece that you do should end up having a goal, and that goal should be to have a human-to-human conversation. But the question is, what's the experience in between? What kind of experience is your user having to get to that point? What are the impressions that you're creating as you're generating the goal to get to those interactions? One of the things that I've learned over the years is that lessons need to be learned, but they're wasted without action. So, let me tell you a little story…
Cute Little Puppy
My wife comes up to me and she shows me a picture of this cute little Black Lab puppy. We were planning to wait a while before we got another dog when our dog passed back in November because this was our year to travel. We were going to go to Wisconsin, North Carolina, and visit the kids in downtown Chicago. Then, of course, boom, COVID! Now, nobody's going anywhere.
We've kind of gone back and forth about getting a dog and she walks up with this picture of this little Black Lab named Bella, and I just looked her and I said, “Okay, let's go for it.” I said, “Go ahead and fill out the application.” She started to do it and she goes, “Oh my god, I can't do this.”
I went and filled out the application and it was four pages long. They were asking so many questions. This dog had not been posted on their website yet. It was just on Facebook. I went to their website and filled out this long application and submitted it.
Then I ended up getting a call. I was actually out on the golf course and said, “Hey, we want to do a meet and greet with you on Friday.” And it's like, “Really? Okay, cool.” Ended up being that the meet and greet was for a different dog that was on their website and not the dog that was on Facebook. So I said, “No, no, we want this other dog, Bella.” Well, they said, “Well, some families are looking at her. There's a lot of interest.” I said, “Okay, let me know.”
I waited but heard nothing back. I texted them because they didn't answer any phone calls and said, “Hey, what's up?” They said, “Oh, well, she's still going to meet and greet with this family. We'll let you know.” A day goes by, didn't hear anything.
So what's the story? “Oh, they're going to make up their mind tomorrow. We'll let you know.” Then, “They're going to do it in the morning.” Waited the entire morning, texted again. Asked, “What happened?” They said, “Oh, the family decided to adopt the dog.”
Okay, so I went through all of that filling out that form to find out that there was nothing to fill it out for. That, my friends, was a bad way to do a transaction.
Deja Vu All Over Again
The same thing happened the second time. Our daughter saw that we were possibly looking at getting a dog and she found another one and said, “Hey, you guys need to go for this one. I know I can get it for you. All you got to do is fill out the application.” My wife tried to fill out the application and it just quit on her. She couldn't get it to work. I said, “Okay, well, let me try it.”
I went in and filled it out and it took almost a half-hour. When I got to the end and they said, “Oh, you missed these questions.” And the questions were, do you own a home? Yes. Do you rent? I just skipped that question. It made me go back and try to fill in do you rent? I had to put something in that field. And then I went back through the entire form, got to the end, hit submit, and then it asked me, “Hey, there's some more things you need to fill out.”
By the time I got to the end of it, it basically quit. I emailed them through their contact form and said, “Hey, I tried to fill out the application. We're interested in this dog.” She goes, “Oh yeah, time's out after 30 minutes. It should only take 20 or 25 minutes to fill out,” which we both did. We both wasted about an hour. And they send me a word document. And in this word document, it's not set up to fill in. It was just a mess. I submitted that and then they send me another email back saying, “Well, there's been a lot of interest in these dogs. We don't know if you're going to be in line for them or not.” Okay, think about that.
Ball Of Confusion
We had an interest in one little dog. If I was able to just maybe say, “Hey, we have an interest. What's the status?” That would have been enough. We didn't need to provide all the detailed information until we were being considered as an adoption option. The second time, the same thing happened. Why do we need to go through all of that work multiple times only to find out that the dogs are not available? Was there another way to start this process without filling out a very detailed form? Why could we not just communicate?
In the world of animal rescue, there's a good problem this year. With more people staying home, the shelters are empty, dogs are getting adopted. What has not changed is the process that they're using. I understand the need to vet people upfront, but now the process could be a little different.
I found that there are lessons to be learned from this. It could start out with a basic form to simplify the initial process. Once you're in the running for an animal, then maybe fill out that big, long, form.
How Complex Is Your Process?
The question I have for you is about the way that you're working in your business today… are you asking too much from people upfront? Are your processes designed to get them to want to come back again? Due to all the changes in business with us working from home, doing more Zoom meetings, maybe taking more phone calls, have you adjusted the way that you're starting and developing communications with clients or potential clients?
Here's my takeaway from this that I wanted to share:
Tailor The Expectations To The Level Of Interest
Don't make somebody fill out a ton of information when you're just starting to get together. One of the things that I do when I'm meeting new people is I have a form through Acuity. They fill that out and I get the basics. I get their email, their phone number, and that's it. I don't ask them to fill out this huge long form in order to have a conversation. Are you doing that? The end goal is to make communications as simple as possible for the amount of information needed at the time. If you're just starting off, make it simple. If you get to a point where they need more information, then give them the opportunity to fill that out if it makes sense. But don't ask for everything upfront.
Let Conversations Develop In Phases
Consider making it a process where you gather more information in phases. When you start a conversation, develop the process. If you decide to work further with a person, or maybe interview them on a podcast or work with them as a virtual assistant, then contact them and get more detailed information. That's where you can gather their address, their phone number, their social media, or whatever you need. So there are phases that you can go through as you develop the relationship.
Ask For Feedback
The next thing that you want to do is ask for feedback. Did this make sense? Was this the right time? I understand these pet organizations are volunteers, but they should be collecting feedback about the process so when things change, they can adapt to it.
The final thing you have to do is take action. Learning happens all the time, but it's potential can only be realized when you take action. As you get that feedback, start to make the process follow the needs, rather than just saying, “This is how it's done.”
Now, we may not have gotten those dogs because of whatever reason, but I can guarantee you this, these organizations did not get an advocate to help promote them to our friends, all because of their processes.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas, or questions about the lessons that can be learned by getting feedback to develop processes that work. Are these tips for making your business better? What worked and what did not live up to your expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?
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