A client once complained that calls were coming in, but people weren't scheduling service appointments. Upon reflection, I could only assume that a portion of the responsibility must lie on shoulders of the receiver of the calls.
A website, like any other advertising medium, is geared toward generating contact with the customer. On the internet, this contact can be via phone, or via email. Of utmost importance, then, is the productivity of these contacts.
A common measure of success in the sales field, is to "sell" one in ten, or 10% of your prospects. This figure is in relation to "Cold Calling", or finding your potential customers at random, possibly by knocking on doors or going through the phone book. It perfectly stands to reason, that if a potential customer has picked up the telephone and made the effort of entering your telephone number, that the chances of your "Closing the Sale" would have just increased by three to five–fold. Even a rookie salesman should be able to sign or "close" one in ten of these queries, or at least "make" 10% of these sales.
I once worked with someone who enjoyed a modest amount of success in her field. I was frequently astounded by the non-chalance in the phone manner that was displayed. Many phone calls were followed by the phrase, “Oh, just price shopping.”.
When I consider an expenditure of more than a few dollars at the grocery store, price is not my only, or even my foremost, concern. In fact, I usually expect to spend somewhere around mid-range to upper mid-range for consumer services. If not the best, I want something dependable: I want a DVD player that will work for a few years, a stereo that will entertain my family and I for five or more years, and a warranty that I can depend on. I want to get a feeling of what sort of people with which I am dealing. I want to know that my phone calls will be handled promptly and politely. I want to know that an individual or company is going to give my account as much attention as another account is getting. The business owner in the afore-mentioned paragraph rarely, if ever, got "second" calls. If someone went to the effort of picking up the phone and entering your number twice, wouldn't your chances of "closing the sale" just have increased twenty-fold? Perhaps it would have only accounted for ten sales per year, but that's still something.
No one wants to feel like they are being "Snowed" by a pushy salesman. You certainly must have some familiarity with the one who is good at shaking hands, "feigning interest", and smiling frequently. Now imagine that you really believe in what you are offering, and ask yourself if you could really let someone get away without enjoying your products and services. "Closing the Sale" often comes down to saying things like “What's a good day for you?”, or “I'm pretty booked up right now, but I can fit you in on Thursday”.
There are many people who have their shopping habits, or "rules". Some people refuse to send any information or questions over the internet. There are also those who will think your company is less than professional, if not illegitimate, if someone does not answer their email within twenty four hours. Many want some combination of both sides: quality human contact and attentiveness when neccesary, and the speed of the digital age when sufficient.
You have invested a number of years, if not decades, in your chosen field. It is your field of excellence. When your telephone rings, give potential customers the benefit of your experience and knowledge. Let people know the quality of your work and services from the moment they hear your voice answering the telephone.
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