Comprehensive Guide To Setting Appointments With Phone Sales
The use of the telephone as a business-marketing tool still has many advantages, not least of which are cost savings. Commercial cleaning & janitorial service companies still know that it is far more cost effective to have a telemarketing team office bound, rather than expensive salespeople on the road. This does not imply that the days of the sales representative are numbered but it does beg the question of how they can be used more effectively.
An in house marketer should now qualify leads then send out a sales representative or owner out to sell face-to-face to someone who is interested in making a purchase. This can more cost effective than sending a representative out to canvass the area on a cold calling speculative basis.
I found the sweet spot is get that first estimate and then canvass all the businesses within walking distance. The phone is kind of just planting the seed if you will.
Table of Contents
Define Your Goal
Phone marketing can be defined as the systematic use of the telephone to achieve your business objectives. This can include using the phone for the following purposes:
- Market research
- Database building
- Lead generation
- Sale support
The first step is to define your main objective and then secondary objectives by creating a marketing plan
Janitorial services are very diverse in their service mix. Some focus on office cleaning only while others target commercial carpet cleaning and floor care.
We know the main goal is to schedule an appointment but there are secondary benefits also.
Telemarketing can be used as a stand-alone tool in that a marketer can telephone prospects to qualify leads and arrange appointments, sell goods and services or undertake market research and database building.
This can involve following up a lead given to you by the sales force or referrals. It can also include calls made after attending a trade show, networking event where a number of names have been collected. The marketer can follow these up, qualify them as being worthwhile prospects for the company and arrange appointments for the sales representative/owner to call or for further information to be sent.
Marketers can back up the salesperson by following up leads, reactivating dormant accounts, qualify prospects and set up new sales appointments.
Keeping in regular touch with your customers is a good way to help build customer loyalty. A telemarketing person can help support sales through maintaining contact and helping resolve queries and complaints. They can also give an insight into your customers’ needs and identify opportunities for cross sales.
The telephone is a valuable tool when it comes to this area. Phone reps can gather information about prospects, leads, customers and their needs and the market place, as well as sell. All this valuable data should be stored in a database for future reference and targeting.
Building a prospect database is a vital marketing tool. It must be maintained and regularly updated. Therefore, adequate resources should be allocated to do this. Calls should be made regularly to ensure the contact is still live and that the details are correct. This should be done particularly before a mailing or email drop.
Benefits & Challenges of Phone Sales
Love it or hate it (and many hate it) the telephone is a powerful tool. It has many advantages over its direct rivals: face-to-face communication and written communication. Here are just some of them. You may be able to think of others to add to this list.
- It is personal – more personal than a letter. You can speak to the person direct. It is highly interactive.
- It is direct – you can deal with queries and objections direct and immediately
- It is accurate – you can reach your contact direct
- It is flexible – it can be used from any base as and when a person wishes
- It is cost effective – it is much cheaper than having a sales representative out on the road
- It is time saving – it can reach a wide area much faster and can reach more people than if a sales person were calling on those businesses
- It is controllable and measurable – you can evaluate the results of your calls, control campaigns and monitor the effectiveness
It is non-visual you can’t see who you are talking to.
This is the obvious disadvantage. Because the telephone is a non-visual tool it causes us additional problems in the communication process. Let me explain this in a bit more detail.
Our personal communication is not just the words that we use – it also involves body language and tone.
When people meet us, they make judgments about us and the way we communicate through our body language and our appearance.
A considerable amount of the impact we make on others is based on what they see and that they hear, not just the words that we use.
How Do We Sound Over The Phone
Either get another friend or cleaner to asses you when you read this passage or record yourself and then rate yourself, listening to the playback.
Providing great service over the telephone is a tough job. We know the telephone has an impact on how we communicate messages.
But even without non-verbal communication, we can still use the telephone as a powerful tool for communicating with our customers.
To do this, carefully construct a message, paying close attention to the words and explanations we will use.
Try to let your personality show through by voice quality, and to keep tone upbeat and pronunciations clear.
Does it sound bored? Aggressive? Sincere? Friendly? When my voice sounds tired, they let me know. That helps me put the spark back.
Here Is A Great Way To Assess
- Too soft
- Medium – just right
- Too loud
- Over-pronounced – too precise
- Too high – may sound whining
- Too low – may sound gravely
- Natural and varied – nice to listen to
What Do Prospects Want From Us On The Telephone?
We can succeed at telemarketing by:
- Doing ordinary things extraordinarily well
- Doing what we promise
- Adding value and integrity to every interaction
- Being at our best with every call
- Discovering new ways to delight those we serve
- Surprising ourselves with how much we can do
- Taking care of the client in the way we would like to be taken care of
- Finding out what they need
- Selling the customer those things they need (and suggesting solutions to their needs)
We can fail at telemarketing by:
- Not identifying needs
- Not suggesting alternatives and value products and not selling
- Being too timid
- Being too aggressive
- Not meeting our promises
- Making things difficult
- Acting on our behalf, rather than the customer’s
What Do Prospects Want From Us When We Contact Them?
- What do they not want? What irritates them? What will damage the relationship that they have with you & your company?
- What do they want? What will enhance the relationship that they have with you, & your company?
The First 30 Seconds…
Research has shown that it takes a maximum of 30 seconds to form an impression in the customer’s mind, when communicating over the telephone.
People will quickly ask himself/herself:
- Do I like this person?
- Do I feel comfortable speaking to him or her?
- Would I like to speak to them again?
- Is he or she in a mood I like?
How To Make Good Phone Impressions
How do you “look” (sound) to the customer? Are you able to convey your thoughts accurately in order to achieve your goal? One of the biggest challenges in the cleaning industry is creating a professional image.
How do you project a sincere quality over the phone?
- Use natural vocabulary and tone of voice
- Keep voice clear, inflection up and tone bright
- Avoid extravagant claims, obvious exaggerations, etc
- Relate what you are saying to the caller’s needs and point of view
How do you project a friendly quality?
Use tone and manner that is warm and cordial
- Smile, identify yourself, as well as the caller, with warmth and interest
- Do not be formal or inflexible
- Do not rush. Pace yourself to what the caller says
- Be attentive. Respond to what the caller says
- Be courteous
In a phone situation, how do you show that you are responsive?
- Answer the caller’s questions
- Get your facts straight by checking with the caller. Ask questions
- Don’t sound as if you are reading something or saying it from notes
- Always listen to what you are saying and what it means, especially to the caller
- Do not speed or rush over points familiar to you, but unfamiliar to the caller
- Avoid soft, low pitch speech
What are some ways to keep from sounding mechanical?
- Guard against a tired tone of voice, giving the impression of someone bored with doing the same job again and again
- Vary your phrasing from call to call
- Practice saying the same thing in different ways
- Let your delivery develop, as much as possible, out of the response from the caller
What are some mechanical skills that will make you a professional?
- Answer the phone before or during the second ring
- Hold the mouthpiece about an inch from your lips
- Never slam the receiver down
- Let the caller hang up first
Creating A Positive Impression
There are four simple rules, which janitorial companies can follow to ensure that you use the telephone to the best effect.
Begin with the right attitude
- Be helpful and friendly
- Don’t let the customer think the phone is a distraction to you
- Sound confident and positive and SMILE!
Choose your words carefully
- Match your words to your customer
- Avoid jargon and technical abbreviations (or explain them)
- Use positive words
Listen and concentrate
- Be an active listener
- Concentrate fully – no emails whilst on the phone!
- Stop doing other things
- Don’t hold two conversations and once
- Keep an open mind and your opinions closed (unless asked)
- Check information
- Give verbal nods
- Be aware of who to see or refer a call to if you have a problem
- Have access to essential information at hand
- Not monitoring your time
- Getting side-tracked
- No objectives
- Poor planning
- Not taking notes
- Making calls singly – not in blocks
- Irrelevant calls
- Not being assertive
- Not controlling the call
Knowing Our Company Information
Make a list of the things that you need to know and what you have to find out.
- About your company?
- About their product or service?
- About their customers?
- About their problems, pain points?
Most Effective Telemarketing Techniques
- Hold the telephone correctly
- Adopt an appropriate manner
- Listen carefully
- Be polite
- Watch the pauses
- Have the right information on hand
- Take care with names
- Speak at an appropriate pace
- Use inflection to enhance meaning
- Add the right emphasis
- Ensure clarity
- Be positive
- Avoid jargon
- Be descriptive
- Use gestures
- Adopt the right tone
- Be yourself
- Paint pictures with your voice & what you say
How to address professionals
Deciding how to address prospects can be difficult for commercial cleaning services because of the many options. These points may help.
There are seven basic ways to address a caller:
- First name
The average professional may or may not be sensitive about how he or she is addressed. To be safe, keep these suggestions in mind:
1) When addressing a male, you will always be correct using Mr. or Sir.
2) Addressing a woman is more confusing. The use of Mrs. or Miss is common and generally acceptable. Some women prefer Ms. and may request this form of address. If you are uncertain, simply ask the caller for her preference:
“Shall I address you as Miss or Mrs?”
“Is it Mrs. or Miss? Is it Miss or Ms Taylor?”
3) Often when you ask for the correct form of address, the caller will suggest the use of a first name. The use of the customer’s first name is then acceptable. Use of a first name may also be acceptable (but not always) when:
- You have established a good rapport over a period of time
- You have been called by your first name.
- You know the caller and know he/she is comfortable with a first name basis
- Paint voice pictures
- Explain technical terms
- Avoid jargon
- Avoid acronyms
- Listen whilst you speak
- Check for understanding
- Be careful with accents – always ask (but make sure the other party realises that you are the one with the problem)
- Are there any that you could add?
Examples of Business Jargon
- Bang for the buck – A term that means, to get the most for your money
- Due diligence – Putting effort into research before making a business decision
- Sweat equity – Getting a stake in the business instead of pay
- The 9-to-5 – Business jargon meaning a standard work day
- Chief cook and bottle-washer – A person who holds many responsibilities
Examples of Internet Jargon
- BTW – By the way
- CYA – See you around
- FAQ – Frequently asked questions
- HTH – Hope this helps
- MOTD – Message of the day
- YMMV – Your mileage may vary
- IIRC – If I remember correctly
- IANAL – I am not a lawyer
- LOL – Laugh out loud
- BFF – Best friends forever
- TTYL – Talk to you later
The telephone can be a powerful marketing tool – yet so many commercial cleaning & janitorial services fail to include it in their business plan use it correctly. There are problems – it is too easy to be relaxed, we cannot make use of body language, we know that we may be an interruption, we may lack confidence. Here are a few tips to help you to become more effective:
- Speak clearly. Even if your voice sounds a little exaggerated off-line, telephone distortion will make it seem more like a normal voice
- Get a little hyped up before you make the call (ignore your colleagues in the same room!)
- Do not hold on if the prospect is engaged – you will lose your initial enthusiasm
- Do not accept any offer to ‘phone you back’
- Sound great, sound positive – but not too far over the top.
- Keep the tempo going – sound busy
- Stand up if you are making an important call. It is too easy to sound laid back if, physically, you are
- S-M-I-L-E ! You really can ‘hear’ a smile over the telephone. A smile relaxes the throat muscles and your voice sounds warmer. It really does work!
- Try to visualise the person you are talking to. And use visual words in your conversation
- Be decisive. Do not use words like ‘Maybe’ and ‘I’ll try’
- Use gestures if it helps you. No one can see you