Your marketing, advertising and great word-of-mouth reputation has finally paid off. The phone is ringing off the hook!
“Thank you for calling ABC Remodeling. How may I help you?”
You’ve spent years and a small fortune to get the phone to ring but you’ve likely given less than 15 minutes of thought on how you would like your Lead Intake Person (LIP) to handle these incoming leads.
Perhaps you’ve given them a lead form to fill out while speaking with the homeowner. Even if they do a good job of filling it in with most of the information you hope to gather, there is a lot that can go wrong during the conversation:
- Sounding “listy” – the awkward tone of someone who is reading from a list while asking canned questions or being pre-occupied with some other task.
- Asking questions in the wrong sequence – “You want to know what my budget is but you haven’t even asked me what my name is yet?”
- Creating “blocks”:
- “We don’t do free estimates.”
- “We aren’t able to start with any new projects until next spring.”
- “Our kitchens cost much more than that.”
- “Our salesperson isn’t available to come out for 2 weeks.”
- “We’ll need to get back to you with that information.”
The most important objective for these initial calls is to engage with the homeowner. They want to feel that your LIP is interested in them and their project.
Setting the Proper Tone
The tone of the LIP’s voice is the key. Tone comprises roughly 80% of the message you communicate over the phone. Words are only about 20%. How many times have you heard, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it…”
With that said, having a cheery happy tone is not always the best choice.
Homeowner: “We think we have some leaks in our bathroom and there’s a terrible smell coming from under the sink.”
LIP: “That’s awesome! We can help you with that.”
This is an example of inappropriate tone matching. The LIP should have sounded concerned and empathetic, not happy that the homeowner is experiencing a set-back. Teach your LIP to master their tone on the phone and watch your lead company’s intake improve.
A proper first phone call should leave the homeowner feeling satisfied and confident that your remodeling company has competent employees with solid communication skills. It does not mean the LIP needs to answer all the homeowner’s questions. If the conversation is too long and informative, it could result in the homeowner not wanting to meet with you in their home. Leaving some questions unanswered reinforces the reasons to meet in person.
Premature Budget Questions
Far too often LIPs are asking budget questions too early in the process and then disqualifying the prospect if the number they blindly throw out is too low. In some instances, remodeling companies are losing as much as 40 percent of their business by making this mistake. By asking these questions prematurely, the LIPs are finding out what the homeowner thinks the project will cost instead of allowing the sales person or business owner to uncover what the prospect is willing and able to afford.
The LIP should engage with the prospect and gather as much information as possible; if the homeowner throws out numbers or budgets, be polite, pass them onto the sales person or owner and inform the prospect that the budget can be discussed in detail at the home visit. The sales person can then look at additional information such as home value and neighborhood data before the initial visit with the prospect.
Remodeling companies spend enormous amounts of money on marketing & advertising to generate leads. The first impression your LIP makes with a prospective customer can make or break every dollar of effort you’ve invested in those lead generation methods.
There are so many other key aspects to keep in mind, far too many for a blog post. I am holding a course starting in August for Remodelers Advantage Members, specifically about this topic. “When The Phone Rings 101: Mastering the Art of Lead Qualification“
If you aren’t a member of Remodelers Advantage yet, these are the types of courses that are available to you. Click here for more information on becoming a Roundtables member, or perhaps joining the Remodelers Advantage University.