Answering your personal phone is something you do everyday and for the most part it is a passive activity. It requires no fore-thought and no preparation, just a simple, “Hello!” is sufficient.
But when it comes to your business, it’s a different story. When you answer the phone in your business there is a lot on the line. First impressions are being formed, relationships are being created, and your livelihood is at stake!
If you don’t have a powerful, scripted, intentional way of answering the phone that guides the conversation and points your potential customers towards a specific goal such as setting an introductory appointment, then you are losing potential new members and throwing money away every time you or your staff answers the phone!
What’s even scarier is that 87% of school owners say that they don’t use scripts in their business. That means that they are just winging it! Just flushing money down the toilet!
In almost all cases, I can show you a direct relationship between schools that have systematized their operations with the use of scripts and a significant increase in number of students and in their bank accounts.
Today I am going to share with you the 3 key elements that you, at a minimum, absolutely must address when answering the phone for your business. They are:
1. Developing Rapport
2. Information Gathering
3. Getting them to Take Action!
If these three things don’t happen when a new potential member calls, you are wasting your time and theirs. Every moment you spend with them on the phone not addressing these three critical components is time spent talking your customer OUT of doing business with you!
Consciously or not, they know this and the likelihood of them doing business with you is headed down the drain.
Step 1 – Develop Rapport
You can start to achieve this as soon as you answer the phone with by opening with a simple, “Thank you for calling ______ ” or by introducing yourself and asking something as simple as, “How can I help you today?”
You want to follow that with questions that show you are interested in them and not just in their business. If you take a moment to think about it, there are things you want to know about your new members that will better help you serve them. Identify what those things are and form them into questions that you can ask to find out more about your prospect on the phone. Things like, “Have you trained before?’ or “How long have you been thinking about training?” can get the ball rolling. Then find out what they want to get out of training.
You’ll be amazed at what people will share with you when you are truly interested in what they want to achieve and when they see you as the expert or authority that can help them achieve it.
Step 2 – Gathering Information
This step is something you can be doing all throughout the call. Obviously there will be great information shared with you while you are developing rapport with them and that information can be used to emphasize certain aspects of your program when it comes time to enroll them.
However, at a minimum you need to make absolutely, 100% sure that you at least get their name and phone number. This way you can follow up with them with another offer if the don’t schedule an appointment or you have another guest event that you want to invite them to.
The more information you can get, the better – but is has to make sense. If I call you and schedule an appointment and you start asking me for my address, email and fax number… THAT’S WEIRD.
However, if you have something you can send them in an email, or an information package you can mail them then it makes sense to ask for that info because you actually need it!
Step 3 – Getting them to Take Action!
You phone script must have a single focus, must guide your prospect in a single direction, in order to get them to take a specific action. If you’re selling P90X and someone calls from an infomercial then the phone script is designed to get the customer to take out their credit card and make a purchase. If you’re selling Taekwon-Do the phone script must be designed to get the customer to schedule an appointment to come visit your school for an introductory appointment.
For those or you who are more advanced, you can add an additional action, but only after the prospect has taken the initial intended action and only one that complements the main purpose of the call. Using the P90X example, after the customer purchases the program there could be an upsell for the pull up bar, wieghts or yoga mat needed for the program. For Taekwon-Do, after someone schedules their appointment, you can do something as simple as letting the customer know that they can invite a friend to join them during their appointment. Nothing wrong with getting referrals from someone who isn’t even a member yet!
If you are currently using a phone script, examine it closely and identify where you are accomplishing these three things in your conversations with potential new customers.
If you are not using a phone script, stop what you are doing, set aside an hour, and begin outlining a simple script that addresses these three key areas immediately!
If you have scripts and are not using them, START!
If you don’t, keep your eyes on your email. I am creating a training program that will allow you to develop effective phone scripts and sales scripts customized specifically for you and your school. Stay tuned!
About the Author:
Senior Instructor – Karstadt Taekwon-Do
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com