Remove Barriers That Prevent Potential Customers From Calling You

Before you can even attempt to give clients the solution they’re seeking, you have to be a company they’re willing to contact in the first place

Remove Barriers That Prevent Potential Customers From Calling You

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill

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New Year’s resolutions almost always fail. And most of the time, it’s because we don’t eliminate the barriers to our success.

We might throw out the chips, but we don’t meal prep so that we have healthy options on hand for those “hangry” moments. We might buy a treadmill, but we don’t set out our gym clothes or create a set schedule for our daily workout. 

The reason we fail is because we’re focused on the end result, not what it takes to get there. We’re focused on how good it’ll feel when we’ve hit our goals, and not on minimizing our perception of the cost along the way.

Many of us make the same mistake with our businesses. We think our customers are focused on the outcome of working with us. That they want the leak to stop. They want the garbage disposal fixed. They want the newly remodeled bathroom.

And while it’s true that they’re looking for solutions to their problems, that is not all they’re looking for. And it’s not even the first thing they’re looking for when deciding which company to call. 

Truth is, there are all kinds of barriers that stand between your potential customers and the desired outcome you can provide. There are all kinds of hurdles that have to be crossed before you even arrive at their home to do the work. If you don’t lower those barriers or reduce the perceived up-front costs associated with working with you, you’ll never get the opportunity to deliver the desired outcome. 

Say someone has a clogged drain and searches Google for a plumber in your area. They should know within seconds or minutes of that search which of the plumbers in search results can fix their problem and deliver the desired outcome. 

What they might not know right away is:

  • Which plumbers will answer the phone?
  • Will I have to wait for a long time for an appointment?
  • Will I have to sit at home all day or will they provide a short appointment window?
  • Is this a reputable company?
  • Will they try to sell me things I don’t need?
  • Will they take care of my issue and stand behind their work?
  • What will the experience be like? 
  • Will they rip me off?

All of these questions have to be answered to some degree before you even get an appointment on the books. Because if the perceived cost — be that hassle, uncertainty, frustration, powerlessness, time, money, or something else — is too high, they’ll keep shopping until they find a plumber who has reduced or eliminated those front-loaded costs. 

So what can you do? You can work hard to lower those initial barriers so you get the call and the opportunity to deliver the desired outcome your customers are after. 

Do this by:

  • Training your customer service representatives to answer the phones quickly and professionally. 
  • Right-sizing your business and prioritizing service calls, so you can get to people as quickly as possible.
  • Streamlining and improving operations so you can provide tighter appointment windows. 
  • Adding trust signals and authority to your website and marketing materials and consistently getting reviews on Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, and elsewhere.
  • Adding guarantees to your website and marketing materials if possible.
  • Acknowledging when mistakes are made and promising to make it right in person and in reviews.
  • Using videos, photos, and copy to show potential customers what they can expect when they work with you. And work to consistently get reviews that speak to the customer experience. Add this content to your website, Google My Business (GMB) listing, and social media pages.
  • Be transparent about pricing and what goes into pricing on your website, social media pages, and in person. The more willing you are to educate, the more trustworthy you’ll be in the eyes of your customers. Because someone who is willing to explain and answer questions has nothing to hide. 

As you start this new year, broaden your focus. Don’t be fooled into thinking the desired outcome is the only thing you need to be considering. Instead, look at all the ways you can lower barriers, reduce upfront costs and risk, and make working with you the obvious (and easiest) choice. 

About the Authors

Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill are the co-founders of Spark Marketer, a Nashville, Tennessee-based digital marketing company that works primarily with service businesses. They're also co-creators of the award-winning app Closing Commander, which helps contractors close more estimates effortlessly, and co-authors of the book, Blue Collar Proud: 10 Principles for Building a Kickass Business You Love. Both regularly speak at service industry trade shows and conferences across the nation. Visit, or


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