Part 1: The Initial Contact
Some jobs are a seamless trajectory from receiving the lead or initial call right through to processing the final payment. But those ideal scenarios are outliers; most jobs have one or two hiccups, and some very frustrating jobs take forever in back and forth just to get to the homeowner’s final decision.
From making contact with a hard-to-reach lead to overcoming objections to working through cost disagreements, there are tactics to get to “yes” faster and easier. These methods will help you save time and win more jobs.
The first challenge we’re going to tackle is making the initial contact. This is key, because it’s a “top of the funnel’ metric–essentially, the leads that you actually make contact with define the total job and revenue opportunity you have. If you make contact with more leads and convert them into paying jobs at the same rate, you’re going to have a much higher number of paying jobs.
So how do you get front and center with those hardest-to-reach potential customers? Here are four proven tips and tricks:
- 1) Get there first: Homeowners have a natural affinity for the first service team they hear from after submitting a request; if you’re first it demonstrates a genuine interest in the job and a level of professionalism. In order to increase your odds of being the first company that calls, texts, or emails a lead, you can set up customer contact automation rules in your field service management tool. mHelpDesk’s tools enable you to send an automated, customized email or text to each new lead the moment it comes through, ensuring you’re top of mind when you get a break in your busy work schedule to call them and learn more about the job.
- 2) Identify their favored communication channel: We all have default communication preferences that are driven by our day-to-day workflow, schedule or personality. Some of your customers are going to prefer email, while others will only be reachable via their cell phone. A customer’s communication preferences can be hard to discern when you’re just getting to know them so if you really want to get the job, you have to be willing to reach out via all available methods and see what works. Having worked in several roles where making contact with others is paramount, I usually engage all three main means of communication (phone call, email and text) in the first outreach and see which the customer responds to first. Generally that’s their preferred method, so default to that when you’re trying to get in touch. Or you can always just ask them: “We’re going to need to be in contact a few times to confirm the details of this job. Would you prefer that I email or call your cell with questions?”. It’s a professional and thoughtful touch that customers will remember.
- 3) Communicate clearly and succinctly: We all receive emails, texts and voicemails that are nearly impossible to decipher. Either the sender of the message is unclear (“who is this from?”), you’re not sure why they’re contacting you (“why are they calling me?”) or you’re not sure what the intended outcome is (“what do they want me to do?”). If you want to make contact, make sure you’re part of the solution and not part of the problem. A voicemail should hit all of the “who”/”why”/”what” bases: “Hi Ms. Customer, this is Joe from Joe’s Computer Repair. I’m calling in response to the request you submitted through HomeAdvisor. We’re a top computer repair company in the area and if you call me back at 888-555-1234 in the next couple of days I’ll be able to further scope your problem and provide an estimate. I look forward to hearing from you.”
- 4) Create urgency and a reason to respond: I recently had a field service company do a great job of this, and it got me to call him back right away rather than waiting until I “had more time” (which rarely happens). His message: he was going to be in my neighborhood the next day, so if I called and gave him more information he could just swing by and scope the work. This won’t work in every scenario, but there are many ways to create urgency: mention a seasonal special, identify an opening in your team’s calendar where you could slot in the job, or express your desire to get the job completed before an upcoming change in weather. The goal is to give the caller a positive reason to return your communication sooner rather than later.
These approaches are at the core of a strong customer outreach strategy, and can help grow your active lead count to help you win more jobs.
Up next in the “Getting to Yes” series, we’re going to explore how you can overcome common customer objections.
Last modified: November 28, 2016