by : Ian Cox,
You spent countless hours putting your ad together. You spend your hard earned marketing dollars getting that ad into the hands of the people who need and desire your services. However, you’re not finished there. Now, it’s time to capture those leads and collect the return on your invested effort.
Your prospects are best served by becoming clients.
Prospects are those who respond to your advertisement and have the ability to obtain the means to pay you for what you can do for them. If you track how many prospects become clients, this is referred to as closing rate or conversion rate, depending on your industry language.
Here are a few tips for increasing your closing/conversion rate, and it all begins with what is likely your first point of contact; the telephone. First however, we’ll examine where your sale takes place.
If you sell a product or service that is delivered in person, it’s advisable to refrain from selling over the phone. Your advertisement is not meant to sell anything. Advertisements are for generating interest. In the same way, phone calls aren’t meant to sell anything either. For a product or service that is delivered in person, the phone is best used for making appointments.
Back in the 1990’s, I worked for a Martial Arts School. One of the things we accomplished was to increase the membership to just over 300 students and boost the yearly front end income to around $390,000 (‘front end income’ is revenue collected from membership dues and does not include books or video sales). This was the maximum membership we could possibly serve given the size of the building and the amount of hours in a day. And the most important thing we did to accomplish this was how we treated the telephone.
The first thing we did was to come up with an objective or goal for using the phone. We decided that since it was best to sell our service in person, we would use the phone to set appointments. Answering the phone with this objective in mind changed the entire conversation we had in regard to an incoming call. The second thing we discovered was how important is was to refrain from answering questions during the call.
We actually found that when we answered questions, three things would happen. First, we were arming people with potential objections. Interestingly, it didn’t matter what the answer to the question was, people can create an objection around almost anything. An objection this early would stop the sales process before it began. Secondly, answering questions over the phone seemed to give potential students premature closure. Premature closure squashes curiosity and ensured that those people had no reason to come and see us. So, in lieu of answering questions, we would lead the prospect toward an appointment.
When people called us on the phone, they asked all kinds of interesting questions. Things like, “Do you teach weapons?” or, “When are your classes?” or, “How much do you charge for lessons?” While these are all interesting questions, and certainly could be answered to great length over the phone, obviously answering them doesn’t serve the prospect by helping them become a client. The answers won’t teach the prospect how to use weapons, get the prospective student to the classes, or collect the fees. So, we used a very effective strategy to lead them toward an appointment.
When asked a question, we would say something like, “That’s an excellent question. When you come to your appointment, be sure to bring a list of all of your important questions so we can be sure to give you answers that will be meaningful for you. And, speaking of your appointment; We have openings at 4:15pm on Friday, or would 2:45pm Monday be better?”
You’ll discover that curiosity is an excellent motivator. If you learn to coax curiosity, you’ll be able to utilize one of the most powerful motivators in human neurology to set more appointments.
Speaking of appointments, it’s also important to have a structure when you meet with your prospects so that you lead them to becoming valued clients. We’ll go into more detail on how you can dramatically improve your closing ratio when we speak in person.
Here’s to your continued success.