Question: “What can I do when they insist on a price over the phone?”
Steve’s solution: “Give it to ’em BUT only on your terms!”
Your SFS phone script that sets up cleaning appointments/inspections without having to give a verbal over-the-phone quote has been working great for several months. However, lately I’ve run into a severe sales slump. Of the last 10 calls I’ve taken, I’ve gone 0 for 10!
Not one of them would let me come out to “pre-inspect” without giving them a sight-unseen verbal quote over the phone. I lost them all! Lately it seems if I don’t give the caller a price they hang up or say they will call me back and of course they never, ever do! Any suggestions?
Bummed Out in Buffalo, NY
Wow Bummed! That is a REAL BUMMER losing 10 calls in a row. Don’t even think about how many marketing dollars went down the drain with those 10 calls or how much you could have made off of those jobs or how many future dollars you lost by not snagging these 10 prospects or how many Cheerleaders you could have made out of those 10 or … Don’t think about any of this! Got it? Because …
We are going to change things right now so you never, ever lose a qualified prospect again. Of course, your goal is to (I assume) get into their home for an on-site inspection without giving an over-the-phone price quote. BUT you don’t want to EVER lose a prospect by being dogmatic. So how to do this?
Let’s review the first part of your standard SFS Phone Format and then we’ll tweak it when you hit resistance to a separate pre-inspection. First, your SFS Phone Format has you explain you can help the caller and need to ask them some questions. After your first qualifying questions you then ask:
You: “Now, are there any special areas of concern I should note on your Work Order?”
Client: Response- “A long litany of flooring issues and worries.” You make sympathetic noises, ask additional questions and ruefully commiserate over their problems.
NOTE: Remember, the prospective Client is NOT calling you to tell you how beautiful their floors look. If they are calling you, OF COURSE they have a concern. As they talk, write their “concerns” down.
You: “Are we working with any special time frame? Do you need this work completed by a certain date?” (“Assumptive close”)
Client: Response- If they give you a time to complete the work by, they really are saying “Yes.” If they say, “No, anytime will work” again, they really are saying “Yes!” Either way, always make it easy for your Prospective Client to say “Yes.”
You: “Since we haven’t cleaned these (items the Prospective Client has already mentioned and that you wrote down- look at your notes) before, and especially given the (areas of concern noted above) I’d like our Inspector to take a quick look before we clean them. He’ll test different areas, especially the ones you are concerned about so you can see the final result and give you an exact, written price sheet. This process takes about 20 to 30 minutes and there is no obligation. I can have him stop by (give the customer two options on time that work for your Production Schedule). Would either of these times be convenient?”
NOTE: You are using the concerns of the customer to justify the need for a pre-inspection in her home! How can she argue with this? BUT WAIT A MINUTE! Now let’s tweak this baby…
OK, Bummed, let’s say the client replies: “You sound very nice and professional BUT I am just too busy for someone to come over for an estimate. I need a price RIGHT NOW!” You just smoothly switch into your “giving-a-price-over-the-phone mode” and reply,
You: “Sure, I understand how time crunched everyone is these days. We prefer to make a separate pre-inspection on customers with (name the concerns she just shared with you) to give you better service. But we can also pre-inspect your floors and give you an exact, written price sheet before we start cleaning. I should be able to give you an approximate idea on the price over the phone right now. So let me ask you, what rooms are you interested in cleaning? Sizes?”
NOTE: Refer back to the “concerns” they have already brought up, etc. Remember, your goal is to involve the home owner in this process.)
You: “Based on what you have told me an estimated price for everything we have talked about for our 12 step (or whatever) cleaning process will be $xxx.xx. So does the way I have the work order written fit into your projected budget?”
If they say “no” or “it is a bit more than I wanted to spend” ask them about just cleaning the open areas, etc.
Remember, Bummed, your goal is to let as few people as possible get away from you unless they truly are price shoppers and most aren’t.
Try the above and let me know what you find out.
P.S. Don’t forget, even if the home owner eventually decides against a pre-inspection and wants the price quote NOW your introductory scripted questions still served several valuable functions:
- They allowed you to build a professional relationship with the caller.
- These Valid Business Questions also let you display an attitude of care and concern. (“Your husband spilled how much Chianti on your white berber? Oh, you poor girl!”)
- Most importantly, Valid Business Questions that involve the caller “force” them to invest more time in the call and the more time invested the more likely they will want a ROI. (Return on Investment.) And the ONLY way to get this ROI is to have you clean their floors!