A Hidden Profit Killer In Your Business – Is Your Staff Driving Away Sales By How They Answer The Phone?

bad receptionistI have been a “fly on the wall” in many businesses and this has given me a unique vantage point that often even the business owner doesn’t have.

(sometime its difficult to see problems because we are too close to the situation right?  I know this is true for me)

Today I have an important warning for you that could literally be costing you serious money in your business and it may not be a problem that you “think” you have.  It could be a hidden profit killer in your business.

Anyway,

My team and I work with a LOT of business owners, in all kinds of different businesses all over the world.  I can’t tell you how many times we have sat down with clients who have said they “tried everything”…  (yellow pages ads, a new website, SEO, social media, direct mail, Google AdWords, Facebook ads – you name it – they have tried it…)

Maybe you can relate…

Anyway, in many cases we started working with the client and began a paid traffic campaign to help get their phone to ring and attract New leads.

 Here’s where we are a little different than some of our competitors.  

You see, my team and I have a strong desire to KNOW what is actually working and what isn’t.  What is driving results and what isn’t…

Crazy thought I know but trust me, some agencies don’t care at all and they just report on ‘activity’ they are doing for.

 For us, if you can’t measure it why they heck do it?  

One of the things we ALWAYS do with every one of our paid traffic campaigns for a local business is to drive all of the clicks to a Mini site (so we can track conversions) with unique landing pages…

On the Mini site we usually have a couple ways to track conversions including a Web Contact Form and the other is a Phone Number.

Rather than ‘just’ putting our clients phone number on the site we instead drive the calls through a unique “Analytic Call Tracking” phone number.

This is a number we set up in our special system that allows us to Record the phone calls of leads we generate with our paid advertising efforts that way we know how many email AND phone leads we are sending our valued…

(the prospect calling that number will hear something like “this call may be recorded for quality assurance or training purposes”)

Here is what we have found:

As you a business owner you may ‘assume’ that your staff should know how to answer the phone.

You assume they are taking care of your customers.

You assume they are empathetic, caring, and utterly professional speaking with potential paying customers.

You know what they say about ‘assuming right?’  ;-)

Here’s an example of situations we have seen unfold:  

analytic call tracking1.  Someone clicks on a paid Google Ad we are running on behalf of the client…

2.  That person then visits the landing page that is exactly about what they were searching for and the ad they clicked…

3.  On that page is a phone number offering a free consultation…

4.  That person likes what they see on the web page and decides to give you a shot and make the call…

(This is great right?  Great advertising in action!!  Careful, we are not home free yet…)

5.  The front desk staff member answers the phone and says,

“Hello this is ABC Company” in a gruff voice and you can hear the attitude through the phone like you are reaaaaaally inconveniencing them for having ‘the nerve’ to call them…

6.  The prospect, taken back a bit, then goes on to say what they are looking for, explains their problem in hopes that your business can help them solve that issue.

What happens next should make any business owner cringe….

7.  The staff member on the phone KILLS the sale because of how they respond to the prospect…

It could be something subtle or it could be something ‘in your face’ obvious that completely REPELS that prospect from wanting to spend another moment of their precious time on the phone with your staff member who clearly could care less that they called…

We have heard people KILL sales in a number of ways:  

  • THEIR ATTITUDE:  People can actually ‘feel’ your mood through the phone so if you sound like you don’t give a damn that they are calling guess what?  They will hang up and call one of your competitors…
  • THEY DON’T ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS:  The front desk staff doesn’t ask any questions to find out what the valuable prospect really wants.  Asking the ‘right’ questions can prove that your staff know’s their stuff and create trust…
  •  THEY DON’T CARE – If the front desk staff doesn’t care, guess what?  That person will be calling your competitors…
  •  PRICE PRESENTED TOO SOON:  The front desk staff IMMEDIATELY throws Price in the face of the prospect before the prospect even feels like they have listened to their unique and special situation (everyone feels like their situation is unique and special by they way even if you know its not).

It doesn’t matter if you KNOW its not by the way. Not one damn bit… You should listen and respond to that person like they are the most important person in the world because in that moment, they are.

The prospect has all the power, they are taking the risk in calling you, THEIR money and time is on the line and, if they don’t feel like you value that time they will say something like, “Ok thanks, let me call you back”

No, no they won’t…

When you hear that what is REALLY happening in that prospect’s mind is more like this:  (“I know you don’t care about ME so I am going to call your competitor, I don’t trust you, I don’t LIKE you, I don’t think YOU can help ME”).

When you hear, “Ok thanks, let me call you back”  that means you did SOMETHING to kill that sale…

Look,

people do business with people they ‘know, like and trust’ so if the front line of your business aren’t people that are like able, create trust, or not willing to get to know the prospect the chances of you converting that person from an interested prospect into a customer are ZERO…

In spot checking some of these calls, sitting down with the business owner and actually listening to some of them, you would be APPALLED  at how some of these calls are answered.

Some things to understand about this hidden problem:  

  • The staff member may not be doing it intentionally…
  • It doesn’t mean the staff member is a bad person out to hurt the business owner…
  • It doesn’t mean they need to be fired immediately (although we have seen that happen before)
  • Some may have personal BELIEF issues.  

Meaning they ‘believe’ that their boss is a jerk, they ‘believe’ the potential prospect doesn’t have any money, they ‘believe’ the prospect is only a “tire kicker,”  they believe that what the business charges is way too much, etc.

Belief is powerful and if they have hidden beliefs about your business, what you offer, your service then it may handicap their ability and willingness to ‘close an interested prospect’

(I have heard people answer the phone at a business, look around to make sure their boss isn’t in earshot, and say to the prospect, “you know, you should really go down the street for that because Joe the owner charges waaaay too much for this.”)

This is downright sabotage and I promise you my friend, it HAPPENS…  Sometimes firing someone IS the answer

With that said, I do think as the business owner the responsibility is on YOU.  If you want to have control over the outcomes in your life and your business you have to accept personal responsibility and realize that it IS in your control how your staff answers the phone.

You have the opportunity and responsibility to to have systems and training put in place rather than “hoping” they are doing a great job on the phone.

(Hope is a crappy strategy in business)

hope-is-not-a-strategyHere are some things that we know:

  • “If its to be its up to me” – this is a quote that speaks to personal responsibility and the realization that as a business owner it is your duty to ensure business is happening the way you WANT it to be happening.  If its not you need to change it…
  • It DOES mean that just paying for marketing and advertising efforts of any kind isn’t the whole equation.

Getting prospects to call your business is just the first step.  CONVERTING them from a Prospect to a CUSTOMER is a whole other ball game.

You’re only as strong as the weakest link in the chain after all…

We have had some clients who are AMAZING on the phone and they have no problem at all getting these interested prospects converted into valued customers…

Its all in how the call is handled.  They show compassion, empathy, they ask smart questions that show they know what they’re talking about.  They instantly convey trust, credibility, and give the prospect a feeling that they will be taken care of and that your business WILL do what it says.

No one wants to look foolish because they made a bad choice…

No one wants to be ripped off.

No one wants to be treated like crap.

No one wants to be treated as just another number…

Some Take Aways:

It DOES mean that as the business owner it is YOUR responsibility to ensure the phone is being answered the way you want it to be…  

Please understand that EVERYTHING you (and your staff) do is Marketing and Marketing is EVERYTHING…

How you answer the phone included…

The best companies we know of and have worked with invest time, effort and energy in training their staff to take inbound calls the right way…

They track inbound calls (what you measure improves), they create scripts, they rehearse, they role play, the do random spot checks and listen to the calls (this alone can be INVALUABLE!)

Here’s The Bottom Line:    

IT DOESN’ T MATTER if you or your staff spend hours posting on social media, promoting your business, investing in Google AdWords ads, Facebook Ads, Yellow Page advertising or anything else IF you never convert any of those leads because you don’t have a system in place to help those leads.

You don’t need pro salesmen answering the phone, you don’t need sick sales pitches, but you DO need empathetic, caring people who ask questions and genuinely want to help the person calling.

People will NOT trust you or give you a shot if they don’t think you give a damn…

Its your responsibility to show that you care, show that you are competent (the best way to do this is in asking the right questions not necessarily listing all your great accomplishments).

So I encourage you to have someone you know “secret shopper” your business, try out our Analytic Call tracking solution, and train your staff to answer the phones the way that you want them answered.

It could mean all the difference in the world and you may discover that all your “marketing and advertising stuff” that you didn’t think was working would miraculously start working.

I am not saying this is the case for you but I will tell you this.  Make sure you are solving the REAL problem in your business…

Discover and solve the “Problem that is” – that is the real key…  You could be a busy little beaver trying to solve problems that aren’t REALLY the problem.  Better to get to the root of the real problem and solve that.

Wishing you the best of success.

Sincerely,

Kyle Battis

PS – If you would like to have a ‘fly on the wall’ in your business and learn more about our Analytic Call Tracking service just let me know and I’d be happy to chat with you about it.  Its really inexpensive and can be hooked right up to your current phone number.

It may just be the thing to uncover the ‘problem that is’ in your business…

analytical-call-tracking

About Kyle

Kyle Battis has been involved in advertising and marketing for over 14 years. He has a background in Direct Marketing, Online Media Buying commanding $150,000 per Month Ad budgets, Live Presentations, and has extensive experience designing Marketing Funnels that make money. He has been part of ‘Start-ups,’ been the Director of Marketing at $8 Million/Year companies, $15 Million/Year companies, and has helped coach his clients to Double and even triple their business. Kyle is also the chief presenter of the NH Strategic Marketing live events and online events. During these events, Kyle takes business owners of all sizes and their teams on a crash course through the NH Strategic Marketing 8-Step Perfect Customer System. The NH Strategic Marketing Program is a complete marketing system unlike anything you’ve ever seen. This marketing system has helped many businesses become the #1 company in their local market and it is based on principles that have been proven in over 350 industries. The exclusive NH Strategic Marketing Program combines some of the best elements of proven marketing systems and strategies to help you control your market. Kyle is also an author, coach, speaker, product creator, membership site manager, and has trained over 3,000 entrepreneurs in all 50 states and in over 40 countries on how to grow their businesses using the internet. Kyle lives in Concord, New Hampshire with his wife and English Bulldog Noble.

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