Just about every organization has that ‘something’ about their business – “elephants in the room” – that is causing them to lose sales or stops repeat business.  Sometimes they can’t see them, other times they won’t.

Oftentimes, we know all about it but hope that our prospects or customers don’t notice.  WARNING: customers DO notice and, most of the time, they won’t say anything to you or the decision maker in your company.  But many don’t even realize they have a problem employee.  Like the person at the sales counter or on the phone that doesn’t like talking to people!  People can sense this and will react to it, either by not coming back, not coming back as often, or possibly by not spending any money.

Recently, I had an experience at a local fast food restaurant with a very large business killing elephant.   I went to the counter to place my order and the person taking and filling my order had a shirt on that looked like he had taken it out of his car after it was crumpled up in a ball for days and had just worn it while he lay under his car to change the oil before coming to work.  Not real conducive for selling appetizing food!

We both know the manager there was hoping nobody would notice.  If the manager didn’t realize what the shirt looked like, an eye exam is in order.  I haven’t gone back since!

Here’s another example that concerns a private consulting client, a medium sized accounting firm that had its own telemarketing department.  They asked me to make recommendations on how they might improve the quality of the leads coming out of the telemarketing department.  After doing some investigation, all signs pointed to the manager of the department.  During a meeting of the partners, I shared my findings and immediately two of them looked at the senior partner and made comments along the lines of, “See, I told you…”  They asked for my recommendation and I told them to replace the manager.  The senior partner’s next question was, “Do you think we could get someone else for the same money?”

Everyone connected with that department knew who/what the problem was and were even willing to talk to me about it. This was a big elephant in the room that management was hoping would fix itself, or that nobody else would notice as the problem.

If You Don’t Ask…

Take a look at your business and see if there aren’t elephants lurking around.  Ask your employees; many times you’ll be surprised that some are just waiting to be asked.  Ask your good clients what they think, if they have suggestions on how you could improve your business.

If you have a service advisor or sales representative, is there that big thing (elephant) about the way they present the sale to the client that stops people cold when it comes to buying?  I once had a service advisor who, when calling a client that needed work with a large ticket price, would open the conversation with “Are you sitting down?”  Not a good way to start the selling process.

I have seen some great marketing and advertising go to waste because people couldn’t get past the elephant when they responded to someone’s great ad!  Like not having the phone answered in a timely fashion or by someone trained to schedule an appointment.

You may need to do some hunting, but find those elephants.  Seek them out and send them to the zoo where they belong!