There are a lot of statistics out there that say successful businesses should end up closing about one out of every three calls. But I know from experience that this is often not the case, and I’ll tell you how I learned that.
A few years ago I was driving a plumber phone leads from different ad campaigns like Google Places and Facebook. It was a side project, so I wasn’t spending a lot of time diving into the phone calls. Our initial agreement was that he would pay me $20 per every phone call that turned into a customer. I would send him monthly email updates like this:
I wanted to make sure that he was only getting quality leads and that they were turning into paying customers, so I started to listen to some of the phone calls.
The quality of customers was unbelievably good. They were people looking for a service that he provided (plumbing repairs), in his service area (NYC), and they were asking him to come out to their house for either an estimate or to perform the job. But even with these exceptionally qualified leads who needed his service, he still wasn’t closing the deals. I was handing him potential clients asking for an estimate (hot leads) and he wasn’t able to close them.
Below is a breakdown of a real call I heard:
The call started off with the prospect explaining her plumbing issue. She provided her location and explained that she was located near the plumber. The plumber didn’t empathize with the prospect for having a plumbing issue (something no one WANTS to have) and began talking about price without building any value. The prospect then replied, “well that’s expensive” to which the plumber responded with a condescending comment: “it’s because Manhattan is expensive.” Then they got into a debate around whether it’s right or wrong to charge for an estimate. The plumber told the prospect that she doesn’t work for free, which of course results in more awkward arguing. Not the type of conversation you want to have with a brand new lead.
The frustrating part is that this call could have gone in a completely different direction if the plumber took a different approach. This easily could have turned into a paying customer.
5 Actionable Ways to Turn Your Leads Into Customers
Create Empathy With the Caller
Right off the bat, our plumber made the mistake of not acknowledging the prospect’s emotions. You should always empathize and show the prospect that you understand what they’re going through and that you’re going to help. Imagine how differently the conversation would’ve gone if the plumber said this:
After hearing this, the prospect would feel comfortable knowing the plumbers understands her situation. This shifts the conversation from “selling” to a discussion around how to fix the problem.
Establish Credibility and Trust
After you show empathy with the prospect, the next step is to establish credibility. In this example, the plumber never gave the customer a reason to hire him. He didn’t establish any credibility for his company or the service he provides. Not surprisingly, the customer didn’t feel comfortable paying his rate because he didn’t build any value in his pricing. Here’s a script the plumber could have used to build value around his company and services:
Address Competitors and Their Weaknesses
Since our prospect mentions that there are a lot of plumbers who provide free estimates, we need to address this head on:
Addressing the downside of going with a cheaper competitor who may not have the proper licenses and insurance further builds value around your credibility and pricing.
Provide an Estimate Your Customers Can Understand
Usually, when someone objects to price, you have failed to create enough value to justify it. In addition to not building enough value to justify the price, our plumber also failed to give the prospect a price quote that is easy to understand. He simply gives a price-per-hour quote, leaving the prospect with uncertainty around total price. Here’s a script our plumber could have used to solve this problem:
Build Value Before Giving Price
To ensure that the prospect feels comfortable hiring you, build value around your services, your employees and your quality of work:
As you can see, it’s incredibly important to use these tactics when talking to prospects. You will see a huge increase in conversion rate (the number of prospects that turn into paying customers) by spending some time implementing these scripts into every phone call. I also recommend tracking your phone calls to make sure your staff is handling these conversations appropriately.