Real quick I want to tell you where I’m coming from. A while back I had a single day where I had to call 30+ carpet cleaners in response to a product launch I had on the ProCleaners Network. I was blown away by how poor the phone skills were. Only half of the guys even picked up their phone.
I’ve had several jobs in the past that involved Customer Service and Phone Sales and I guess I just took it for granted that phone skills were common sense. But when I think back on my old jobs we were always having some kind of training involving phone skills and the stuff really worked. So I’m going to break down what I’ve learned and what I applied to my own Carpet Cleaning business of 5 years.
1. Just Pick it Up – No excuses – if you need work then pick up the phone. I know you don’t want to pick up the phone during the job. Or if you in the middle of something else, but if your a one man show then you need to pick up the phone. Even on the weekends, even in the evening, even if you don’t feel like it. Of course if your spouse or business partner or someone else besides yourself can pick up the phone that’s ideal, but not always possible. I’ve seen the husband-wife team arrangement and that works really nice, but whoever is in charge of the phone needs to pick it up. The chances of closing a job decrease dramatically if they don’t get you right away. Many people won’t even leave a message. They will just call the next guy and if he picks up then the job is most likely his.
2. Voice mail Setup with a professional message. Now if you absolutely can’t pickup the phone then you need to have a professional voice mail message setup. Make sure you smile on the message– more on that in a minute. Keep it short — less than 15 seconds. VERY IMPORTANT Call people back asap. Check voice mail three times per day. If you wait too long they are gone… on to the next cleaner — I promise.
3. Prepare a simple answering script and stick to it. This will make you sound more professional, confident and get you on and off the phone faster. Have your FAQ ready to go. Having short consistent answers to questions will also make you sound more professional, confident and get you on and off the phone faster.
4. If you do price quotes then have a chart ready to go so your not fumbling for prices, giving inconsistent quotes. etc. I noticed that when I started doing this with my business people were much more responsive because they knew I was professional…giving them real pricing and not just quoting based on my mood or how well I liked their voice or whatever.
Also, If you are just pulling numbers out of your head on the fly then it’s hard to remember what prices you quoted and it just doesn’t sound professional. If you want to really take this to a new level check out my video on package pricing. There is a phone script and a pricing chart that you can download and customize for your business.
5. Smile when you talk. That’s one of the best and easiest things you can do. There have been countless studies by customer services experts and one thing they all agree on is that when you smile it comes through on the phone and ALWAYS ALWAYS results in increased sales and customer satisfaction. Some companies even put mirrors next to the employee phones as a reminder to smile while talking on the phone.
6. Use their name minimum of 2 times — This is another one that has all kinds of research behind it. Using someone’s name at least 2 times will instill trust and make them feel more comfortable doing business with you. After all we like doing business with people we know and trust. I like to use it at the beginning (I always ask there name as early on as possible) and use it once during the conversation and then at the very end “Ok Susan I will see you Tuesday at 1pm”
Ok This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. Just implement these tips one at a time. Once they become habit you won’t even think about them and I promise it will make a HUGE difference.
If you have any tips on phone skills put them in the comments box below. I love to get feedback and know what you guys think. Thanks,