Inbound calls cost a lot.
In this day and age it’s more costly than ever to get a qualified sales lead. Traditional media like print, radio and television are driving less calls than they used to, resulting in a much higher cost per call just to get someone on the phone to talk to about your products and services.
So when you finally do have someone on the line, it’s important to make every second of that phone call count.
All-Systems has known this for some time, which is one of the reasons we were the first in our industry to start utilizing call tracking numbers for our retailer’s marketing campaigns back in 2004. We knew this simple to use, easy tool would allow us to provide valuable feedback to our retailers on the performance of their sales calls.
Through listening to thousands of calls, we’ve heard it all. Eventually we were able to tell if a customer was closed just based on the call length (average was 4 minutes). We could also tell when a retailer’s competitor would secret shop them (thank you caller ID!).
Majority of the calls we listened too that didn’t result in a sale all stemmed from the same six issues.
Inbound Call Mistakes
They Didn’t Answer the Call Right Away
An inbound call is a hot lead, and if they can’t get a hold of you, unfortunately they’re just going to call someone else to get what they’re looking for.
You’d be surprised at how many retailers will schedule a marketing campaign and neglect to have the appropriate staffing to handle the calls, and along the way loose leads they paid for to their competitors because callers were ready to buy… NOW.
We understand you can’t grab every call right away, but you definitely want to be sure that your voicemail greeting is clear and concise, and that you leave clear instructions on how else they can get a hold of you, and provide a timeline when they should hear back. Then it’s important to stick to what you said you’d do via the follow up. Otherwise by the time you get around to it, the caller will already have purchased from your competitor.
They Didn’t Use Professional Greeting
Always be sure to greet callers with a scripted greeting. Here at All-Systems we greet our callers with “Thank you for calling All-Systems, this is [person answering]. How may I assist you?”. This shows callers that they called the right place, and exactly who they are speaking to.
You’d be surprised how many retailers answer their phones with just “Hi” or “Hello”. Making this simple change can make a strong first impression which will go a long way in converting that caller into a buyer.
Their Greeting Isn’t Consistent
If you have multiple people answering your phones, it’s important to be sure everyone is adhering to the same greeting. Otherwise if a caller happens to call multiple times and get someone different each time, there can be some confusion as to whether or not they called the right place.
One example we overheard on a retailer call was the owner’s 15 year old daughter answering one of his calls. When she did, she said “Hello?” and that was it. When the customer asked if they had the right number, the girl yelled “DAD!!! IT’S FOR YOU!!!”.
While the daughter meant well, it comes across as unprofessional to the people who call you. If you have other individual answering your important sales calls, be sure everyone greets callers the same way, and make it a professional greeting (see above)!
They Didn’t Ask “How’d You Hear About Us?”
Not asking your callers how they heard about you is a missed opportunity to learn how well your marketing or referral programs are working. You wouldn’t want to continue spending money on a print or radio ad if it wasn’t generating any calls for you, right? By asking your caller where they heard about you, if they mention a specific publication, broadcaster or website you can then note it and be better prepared planning your marketing efforts for the next quarter.
They Immediately Pitched Without Listening
Every caller that contacts you will not be in the same place in the sales process. Some will still be in the information gathering phase, but many will be ready to buy at the time of the call.
It’s important to listen to the customer and determine where in the sales process they are, and adjust your sales script to what they tell you. Otherwise you’re attempting to sell someone who’s already been sold, which is irritating for the caller.
You Don’t Ask for the Sale
Every call, you should automatically assume they are buying. That’s what a confident sales professional will do. So after you’ve addressed all the customer’s questions and objections, always attempt a trial close like “What day next week would you like your installation?”
This allows the caller to either approve closing the sale, or provides them an opportunity to tell you why they’re just not ready yet and for you to answer their objection. Keep attempting the close whenever possible. It’s not pushy and most people would expect a skilled professional, especially one who answered all their questions sufficiently, will be asking for the sale. So don’t be that retailer that doesn’t.
How many of these inbound call mistakes has your company made? All-Systems is here to help. Contact your All-Systems Account Representative to schedule a training, and they’ll help you streamline your inbound sales call skills in no time.
In the meantime, we want to know…what was your biggest inbound call mistake? Comment below and share some of your worst with us. We all learn from mistakes and can grow together through sharing them.