Closing inbound calls is crucial for your business. People who call you via phone want two things: (1) convenient and immediate access to questions that are difficult to write and might require some back and forth and (2) to feel like they are interacting with a trustworthy human.
With this in mind, I’ve outlined 4 foolproof steps to closing phone sales that has helped me close just about every opportunity I’ve had over the past 3 years.
1. Greet like a professional
Develop a standard greeting that communicates who you are. Something simple like: “Thank you for calling X Cleaning Company, this is John how may I help you?,” will do the trick. I shouldn’t have to write that out, but you don’t know how many people I’ve overheard answering their business/personal phone just saying, “Hello? Who is this?”
Just as important as what you say, though, is how you say it. Social psychologists have shown that your body posture affects the way you speak. I’m sure you’ve called into a business where the rep sounded upset that you’ve interrupted their day. So when a call comes in, stand up, collect yourself, and put a big smile on before you answer—it really makes a difference. Think of it this way, putting on a fake smile for three minutes might lead to you earning $1,000. That’s a pretty good payout!
2. Actively listen (for the right thing!)
People purchase services for two reasons: they want to gain something pleasant or rid themselves of something unpleasant. When the call begins, listen for what they want to gain or rid themselves of and identify what is holding them back from hiring you to help them do so. Picking up the fact that the customer hates cleaning but has issues with letting strangers into their home, or that they just don’t know what to expect and that scares them, is what will help you respond to the customer’s needs and concerns and thereby close the sale.
Next, you must communicate to the customer that you have successfully heard their desires. This is simple. As the customer is speaking, verbally acknowledge that you are following along with, “yes and mmhms,” and when the customer finishes, simply restate what you’ve heard. For example if the customer goes on about how they had a previous cleaner steal from them. Affirm that trusting a stranger into their home is a scary process and they are rightfully being careful, and reassure them that you are a trusted expert who will take good care of their home.
3. Stay in control
No one knows your business and what you can do better than you. Remain confident and don’t say, “Uh, I don’t know,” or “I’m not sure.” What you say is the way it is with your business. You’re the expert. Set the tone early on by conveying your expertise and value (see our resource on creating value propositions) and ensure that the customer understands what you offer.
A common trap customer’s will ask is why another company is this price and why you are more expensive. Instead of engaging the price by saying, “there’s no way they’re charging that,” stick to your company and what you know. You can say, “I don’t know about what they’re doing there, but here at “Your company” we believe in taking the time and effort to take care of your home and so we give your home the love and attention it needs to ensure that each cleaning is consistently meeting your expectations.”
But in order to be an expert you’re going to have to practice overcoming common objections people will bring to try to challenge your value. Even a simple question like “Why do you not work Saturdays?” can stump you if you haven’t thought it through. “Um. We just don’t?” is simply not an acceptable answer.
Take the time to think through objections and what your true answer is. Then, practice responding to the objection. Once you’ve done that stand tall and embrace your expertise. Remember it’s your business and you make the rules.
4. Just close it
“Ask and you shall receive,” goes the saying. Conversely, “Don’t ask and you get nothing.” You must ask for the sale. Period. Something simple like, “It seems like answering your questions that we are a good fit. Would you like to go ahead and get this cleaning booked?” That’s it.
Free tip: always reserve a “closing tool” for customer’s who are on the fence even after asking for the sale. Something like a small discount or a free service can go a long way in helping people pull the trigger. But if you can’t close on the call because the buyer simply is not ready—no worries. Ask if you can follow-up with them later to check on their decision. Having a software like Maidily that can generate and automate this coupon process is vital as your business grows.
Finally, make sure you make it easy for people to take you up on the offer. While they’re on the phone get whatever information you need and try to avoid forcing your clients to take any more steps in the process. In short, don’t make it hard for clients to give you money!
Closing phone sales is a great way to secure more jobs for your cleaning business. Practicing the above steps and sticking to them each time will ensure that you make the most out of every phone opportunity. Happy selling!