The gatekeepers answering your phone stand on the front line of sales.

From the minute your office phone rings, the process of converting calls into sales begins and you need to be prepared. Given the right arsenal, your secretaries become part of your sales force.

So, what does it take? The solution is not sexy; however it is highly effective and very inexpensive.

The answer is very simple phone scripts. You might be thinking phone scripts aren’t necessary, but implementing phone scripts can drastically increase your conversion rate.

Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. It was a day no business owner enjoys. A day when a problem smacks us right in the face and even worse… we realize we are to blame.

Our restoration company had implemented and invested in an aggressive Internet marketing campaign and we were excited with the results. Actually, we were patting ourselves on the back for finding success in a place where we knew many businesses were struggling, including our competitors. Then a call came that I have reflected on many times.

Our marketing consultant called and said, “I want to let you know we’re seeing results with online leads.” (This I knew because we had reviewed the analytics). He continued, “But, we’re also seeing that your people are having a problem converting the leads into sales on the phone.” And then the real kicker… he suggested we work to implement a “basic phone script.”

I’m sure he wasn’t expecting that simple suggestion to set me off the way it did, yet I was extremely upset. It was not the suggestion, nor the critique that fueled my frustration. It was the fact that we did have phone scripts. I thought I knew the importance of the first phone contact, I thought we were doing it, but we weren’t, and I had underestimated how valuable phone scripts are.

As suggested, I listened to the recordings of incoming calls and realized he was right; however, the source of my anger came in realizing this problem was actually my fault. Our employees had been given the phone scripts, but I had assumed it was “just a phone script” and never followed up.

As business owners, we can easily get caught up in the day-to-day necessities of running the business, and the small things can slip. Just because something is simple and inexpensive doesn’t mean we can ignore it. That lesson came calling and was received, but now it was time to implement our phone script and start converting leads.

Why scripts matter

Upon analyzing recorded calls, we learned that we were dropping approximately 40 percent of the leads coming from the Internet. I then started to think of just how many leads we were dropping cumulatively, rather than just ones from the Internet. Because these calls were not recorded, I had no way to calculate just how much business we could be losing.

Dropping any percentage of leads is unacceptable and requires immediate action. A phone script allows for consistency and exponentially increases the odds of making a sale because you have predetermined and prepared for the response your customers will give.

Even if the person answering your phones is having a “bad day” or is distracted, a phone script keeps them on point. However, the most essential element of this strategy is to follow up with those answering the phones and ensure they are actually using the tools provided for them.

Elements of an effective script

For a phone script to be effective, it must be comfortable for all the people using it. That includes office staff as well as the potential customer on the other end of the line. This requires practice and gets a little better with every call.

Consider trying role playing and having staff listen to someone who is doing it right. Phone scripts will be a little different depending on the service. When creating phone scripts for your business, here are a few tips to remember:

  • Do not waste people’s time. Scripts should flow and ask questions that provide all the information you need to start the project process.
  • Be professional. For example, consider asking for permission to address them by their first name.
  • Be compassionate. In the restoration industry, people call in times of crisis. You must show empathy while maintaining control of the conversation. It is important to assure them that they can trust you.
  • Don’t miss the opportunity to get important information for future marketing, such as emails and cell phone numbers.

Types of phone scripts

Phone scripts are not “one size fits all.” A standard carpet cleaning call script is going to be very different from a water damage script or a trauma script. All scripts will open the same with a standardized greeting, but should quickly transition to a script that best addresses the caller’s needs.

Some of your scripts may include:

  • Carpet cleaning
  • Water damage
  • Fire/ smoke damage
  • Trauma
  • Crime scene
  • Tile and grout cleaning
  • Commercial cleaning

It is nearly impossible to calculate how much one customer is worth over the life of your business. Have them at “Hello,” and keep servicing them year after year. For a free sample phone script, contact Derek@SpotOnSolutions.com.

Derek Preece has successfully grown and operated a restoration and cleaning business since 1997. Preece is also a partner at Spot On Solutions, a marketing and business consulting team providing advanced and affordable web design, pay-per-click and SEO specifically for the restoration industry. Visit SpotOnSolutions for more information.