4 Simple Strategies to Convert More Inbound Phone Calls to Sales
Many prospective customers will call your business looking for information. Here are a few tips for making the most out of your inbound sales leads.
Maybe yours is a physical location and they want to know what you have in inventory before coming to see you. Or maybe your business is a dentist office or fitness center that receives inbound calls from prospective clients. Many times, these inbound phone calls (also known as “phone ups”) can be terrific opportunities to create new business for your company. Here are some ways to ensure you and your team are making the most of these opportunities.
Here are a few ways to capture more business on your inbound calls
Ask for name and contact information
Get the caller’s name, phone number and email address early in your inbound phone call. This way, you can follow up with the prospect if they don’t decide to purchase on the first call.
The most important thing to remember when it comes to asking for contact information is to assume the prospect will give it to you… like this:
What’s your name?
What’s the best number to reach you back at?
What’s the best email address for you?
Can I get a phone number for you?
Can I have your email address?
Can I have your name please?
Have a reason to get the contact information.
Asking for a name is an easy one. Most people will gladly give you their name, even if it’s a fake one.
Phone number and email address is trickier. Typically, people will be hesitant to give you this information unless there’s a reason for them to do so. A simple reason, such as, “I’m going to place you on a brief hold while I look that up for you. Just in case we get disconnected, what is the best return phone number for you?” will probably work just fine. Or, depending on the situation, you could create a reason to follow up with the prospect, which might require some of their client information.
I have some helpful information I can send over to you. What’s the best email for you?
We actually have a great video about what you’re asking for. Could I text it to you?
These things offer your prospect help in exchange for contact info. This give/take relationship is important for establishing trust. More on getting contact information here.
Create a reason to follow up
Let’s say you’re selling a product that requires a lot of research before a decision is made. If a prospect calls your business and is not ready to give you their credit card number on the first phone call, have a prepared reason to follow up with them in a couple days. For example, let’s assume you’re a stove shop and you’re selling high end gas fireplaces, pellet stoves, and the like. If a prospect calls your business to get general information, but isn’t ready to make a purchase at that very moment, close the call with the following:
“We know this is a big investment. I’d like to send you an information packet that we have put together with some answers to frequently asked questions, pictures of different models, some example energy cost savings, and some other items. What’s the best email address for you?”
No prospect is saying “no” to that, I promise you… unless they’re really weird about giving out their email address. If this is the case, you should offer to text them a link to the information. The best part about this approach? It gives you a reason to follow up in a few days with, “Hi Jim, Brad from The Stove Shoppe. Any questions about the info I sent over the other day? Hey I was thinking about you because I just received a phone call from the manufacturer yesterday, and there’s a new offer available… can I tell you about it?” Boom. You’re going to get more business from this approach.
Have 5-10 prepared questions
Ask questions of your own to direct the inbound call toward a purchasing decision. Prospects will often call your business with a bunch of questions for you and, while this is a wonderful display of interest in your product, you should be ready with some questions of your own.
Why ask questions of your own?
It demonstrates you know your product, and that you’re an authority. It also gives you a chance to draw attention to questions your prospect might not have thought of.
People do lots of shopping online and are sometimes able to learn enough to make a decision without the help of a professional. Getting back to my stove shop example, we’ll say the prospect calls in with some general questions about pricing on a particular Jotul stove model. The salesperson should be happy to answer those questions, but should also have questions of her own:
What are you primarily going to be using the stove for? Heating? Looks?
What type of heat source are you using?
How much maintenance are you prepared to handle?
How big is the room?
Do you have children who might need to be protected from the stove? (i.e. do you need to purchase a gate as well?)
It helps you understand the prospect’s real needs, so you can make a recommendation.
In the stove shop example, a salesperson who is armed with the answers to the questions listed above can better address the prospect’s needs. If the prospect originally called in a model that doesn’t suit her needs, the salesperson has the opportunity to make an alternative recommendation if necessary.
It allows you to direct the conversation and ask for the next step.
Here’s how this could be applied in our stove shoppe example:
Salesperson: “OK Mary, based on what you’ve told me it sounds like the Jotul might be a great model for you. Would you like me to go ahead and get the order started?
Salesperson: “OK Mary, based on what you’ve told me, it sounds like the Jotul might be a great model for you. But we should really take a look at your room before getting the order started, just to be sure. When might be a good time for me to send an installer out?”
Salesperson: “OK Mary, based on what you’ve told me, I think the Jotul might be a little big for the space. Since you have kids, you’re going to need a gate around the unit which is going to increase the area by about 10 square feet. The good news is I have a slightly less expensive option that will give you the same heating features in a more compact space. If you’re in front of a computer, I can show you right now.” Or, “I can email you some info on a few other options and follow up later, would that work?”
You get the drift? The salesperson would not have been able to ask for the business or make any recommendations if he had not asked questions and assumed control of the conversation.
Ask for the business
My first sales manager, the great Gary McGilvray, had the greatest sales advice I’ve ever heard. One of his truisms was:
“A sale is a two part process. 1) Do everything you need to do in order to ask for the business. 2) Can you guess what #2 is, Brad?”
You absolutely must ask for the prospect’s business
Assuming you’ve done everything necessary, including
Asked questions of your own
Overcome price objections
then it’s time to take the next step and ask the prospect for their business. Don’t skimp on this, because the customer will rarely take this step for you. It’s more likely that she will tell you she “needs to think about it” and hang up… which puts you in a perpetual waiting game that should be avoided. Here are a few easy ways to ask for the business.
If you don’t have any other questions, let’s go ahead and get the order started and I’ll get installation scheduled right away.
When would be the best time for us to come out and get this taken care of for you?
Would you like to go with model A, or model B?
Are you going to pay cash or would you like to finance this?
(If the next step is an appointment, not a sale) When’s a good time for us to get together so you can see these in person?
If there is no immediate close to be had, that’s OK! The next best option is to plan a “next step.” This helps you position yourself as the person your customer will inevitably do business with, after she has had a chance to think about it. Here are some examples of “next steps.”
I understand, this is a huge decision. I actually have some info that will be helpful to you in making the right call. I can send it over to you and we can chat later in the week, after you’ve had a chance to review and think it over. How’s Thursday sound? (set a specific date so it won’t be a surprise when you follow up)
I totally get where you’re coming from, it’s important to be able to shop around. Why don’t I have someone stop by to take a look at the room and give you a written estimate? That way you’ll have something concrete to consider. We have someone in the area this week.
We have some free trial packages you can use just to get a feel for the software before committing. I can get you set up on that, and then we can talk more next week. How’s that sound?
If you implement these simple strategies, you will absolutely see your appointment conversion rate skyrocket.
Wondering how your phone performance stacks up? Thinking your team could use some improvement? Contact us for a free trial of “Phone Up Coach” and start seeing your needle move this week.