Getting a higher closing rate requires commitment; an unwillingness to let people get off the phone without booking an appointment. Once that phone is hung up without booking a call, that customer is lost forever. Set it as a personal commitment that no one who calls will get off the phone without booking an appointment. Be willing to beg on your hands and knees if necessary.
People who call your company for service are stressed out and want to feel they have called the right place. The right place is a place where people are nice and can meet their needs. They want to feel good about calling you, so project warmth. Think thoughts of loving kindness all day and project it through the telephone lines.
No one likes calling around shopping for service. No one likes spending the time, facing the uncertainty and doubts, or having to make decisions. That means that when people call they want to be sold, so be assumptive that they are going to want to book the call every step of the way. Project a positive level of expectation.
Work under the assumption that callers have either already called other companies or will continue calling around, whether they book a service call with you or not. That means you’ll have to stand out. You'll stand out by giving them a warm feeling when they talk to you. This is done primarily through tone of voice. Put a mirror on your desk and smile into it as you speak.
Opening the Conversation
If you answer the telephone in your company, speak the name of your company and your own name slowly and clearly.
No matter how heavy the call load is, don't convey that you're in any kind of hurry. Make sure callers know they have your undivided attention. Their call is not an inconvenience, and it's a pleasure to speak with them. Thank the customer for calling.
Frequently, when customers call to book a service call, they open the conversation with a question. The most common questions are:
- How much is a service call?
- What do you charge by the hour?
- How quickly can someone be here?
Get The Facts
Listen to what callers have to say, then show some compassion and understanding. Right off the bat, make it a point to put their minds at ease regarding their immediate problem.
Say something like, "That sounds terrible. Let's see how quickly we can get someone out there to take care of this for you. Your address, please?"
Once you get their address, go for their name. Ask for it by saying, "Can you spell your last name for me, please?"
If that phone is hung up without booking a service call, and you didn't get an address, that customer is lost. Therefore, you must make getting the customer's address your highest priority and their name a close second. Try to do that before answering any questions. When you've got their name and address, they can be added to your mailing list and possibly recovered at a future date after receiving a few of your mailings.
Set up the Service Agreement Sale
As early in the conversation as possible, ask, "Are you a maintenance agreement customer?" or, "Do you own one of our service agreements?" Many times, you have to know the answer to that question before you can answer a caller's original question.
Don't go into a sales pitch about the service agreement. It's not necessarily appropriate to start trying to sell people additional products or services prior to putting their mind completely at ease about the problem they're calling you about. At this point, the appointment seller's job is not to sell the agreement; it's just to open the door for the service agreement sale and get the customer to expect the tech to present it as an option.
While concluding the call, say, "Be sure you check with our technician on how you can save money with one of our maintenance agreements."
Occasionally you'll raise a caller's interest in the service agreement enough for the caller to press you for details on it. Respond by saying, "The technician has all the details on that and, if he can get you a discount, he will."
Next month I'll cover how to answer the question of how much you charge, how to make the call cash-on-delivery, and an effective way to get most people's e-mail address.
Charlie Greer is the creator of "Who Answers the Phone?"an audio CD course that teaches how to get more service calls that are of a higher quality. You can call Charlie with questions about this article at 800/963-HVAC (4822) or email him at [email protected]. Visit his newly re-designed website at www.hvacprofitboosters.com.