What is the scariest sound for any business to hear? While a list of verbalized negative comments and complaints from unhappy or dissatisfied customers or clients might seem like the easy answer, the more correct answer is one word, silence. 

The scariness of silence in business comes in many forms. “Silence” is described as “complete absence of sound,” and this lack of sound can lead to or may be the downfall of a business. Here for one of the scariest and spookiest times of the year are a few examples of silence and how it may be the most frightening sound or “no sound” of all:

The silence of the bell or buzzer on your retail location front door — While this is where you may first notice a silence that raises concerns about the lack of traffic to your business, it is far from the worst forms of silence.

The silence of the phone not ringing — While it is true that many customers will search on the web for your information and address, a phone call and interaction with a customer pre-visit can lead to a higher conversation rate of getting people to visit. This holds true especially when there are other options for the products or services you are selling.

The silence of people outside your business not talking about your business — Word of mouth and referrals from current customers are key to the growth and success of business. If people are not championing you as satisfied customers and willing to say so verbally or online, this can be a scary thing.

• The silence of a cash register not ringing — This includes that silence of fingers not tapping on a keyboard, iPad or card swipe tied to a point of sale system. No sound can equal no income which means a real problem with the business’ cash flow.

• The silence of employees with no one to speak to — The sales equations usually requires two parties, the individual selling and the individual buying. Without customers to talk to, the fate of the business may be in jeopardy.

• The silence of an unhappy or dissatisfied customer — This example takes for granted that from time to time your business will have an unhappy or dissatisfied customer. The worst thing that could happen is they remain silent and do not bring their concern or issue to your attention. They just decide to never return to your business. And most likely decide to be less silent and tell others about their experience.

• The silence of having no solutions to problems or situations — Finally, the scariest silence may be a lack of ideas, strategies and solutions being shared by your team and trusted advisers. There may actually be solutions to every one of the “silence” examples above, however it takes a willingness of the business owner to establish a culture of open-mindedness and listening to keep the conversations, strategies and good realistic achievable solutions flowing.

In any other context, I would say “enjoy the silence” but not when the silence is scary for business. Happy Halloween!

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