Photo by Doug Robinson
“What can I do to get more appointments?” This is a common question asked by many blue collar outside salespeople who are experiencing a winter slump. It is hard for many to understand why appointments are an issue when many of these businesses have tons of Google reviews with stars out the wazoo and a great web presence that produces high-traffic. Many also have commercials playing on their local cable stations being seen by legions of potential customers.
As your humble blogger I would suggest nosing around the front office and listening in on a few incoming phone conversations is a good way to search for answers. If you already automatically record these types of communications at your company it will be even easier to do. When I have done this in the past I have heard everything from monotone grumpy-pants admin employees who sound as if they don’t want to be bothered, to know-it-all service managers who bloviate about what they know but stop short of scheduling an outside salesperson to actually show up and put a pair of eyeballs on the problem in question.
I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut that if you changed up the responsibility over the phones and livened them up with an energetic personality and customer friendly tone of voice, you would automatically experience an appointment spike resulting in increased sales, even during the slowest, worst weather seasons of the year.
Before you close your browser thinking this post doesn’t apply to your operation, consider the volumes of data that state there is a 96% chance your company is dropping the ball during the phone process. You might be saying, “OK, I’ll play along; what can I change about my front office phone call handling that will improve my company’s performance all that much?”
Mandate smiling – Over 20 years ago, as a sales training specialist in the services industry, my company purchased thousands of small tent mirrors, like the one in the photo at the top of this post. Its purpose was to simply sit by the phone at every work station and provide a reminder to every employee as they glanced at it that they must SMILE when talking to callers. Why you ask? Because you can hear a smile over the phone!
Don’t forget that only 7% of your communication with others is the words you speak, while nearly 40% is your tone of voice and inflections, so when you speak to callers with a smile on your face, you send a positive message that can cause them to choose you over a frowning competitor. So when you listen to your employees phone calls, can you hear the smile? Why not make that one of your company policies?
Asking for and setting an appointment – The purpose of the inbound phone call is for you to invite one of your salespeople to a caller’s home or business. A customer with an appointment is three times more likely to make a purchase than one without an appointment. For Pete’s sake, don’t make them take it away from you!
Imagine you notice a couple of shingles peeled up following a storm and call a roofing company to ask about it. They probably wouldn’t say: “Sounds like you need a new roof which is $7900!” As much as they want to help you over the phone, their priority would be to make an appointment for a consultant to come check out the problem and then make a diagnosis.
So, there you have it. If they can hear your smile, and you schedule an appointment so that an accurate diagnosis can be made, you will have answered the question about staying busy and increasing your company’s footprint in the marketplace. These two actions will position you for an improved 2018.
———Ready to Stop Struggling? ———
Whether you want to hire Doug, or you prefer to do it yourself, you should check out Doug’s website to see his suggestions for your customer service and sales dilemmas.
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