Making the most out of phone calls from new leads

Updated Aug 21, 2019

smartphone in handIf your company does quality work, you are definitely generating positive word of mouth among your clients, but what do you do when new leads decide to give your business a call?

Some landscape contractors prefer to let all of their calls go to voicemail as they can be busy working or want to screen their calls and they may not have a large enough staff to dedicate one person to answering all of their calls. Others will answer if they have the time and will let the rest wait in voicemail, but either method can result in some lost business.

While potential clients do have the option of reaching out to your company with email, 80 percent of all business communications take place over the phone, according to Aircall. Also, around 85 people will not call back if their call is not answered.

This could end up costing your company more business than it can afford, so here are some tips on making the most out of client conversations on the phone.

Be professional

First impressions matter and this includes phone calls. A new customer is going to feel far more comfortable talking to you if they don’t have to guess if they’ve called the right person. In other words, don’t answer the phone with a simple “Yeah?” but include a greeting, your name and the name of your company.

A basic example of a good response is: “Hello, this is John with Green Landscaping, how may I help you?” It’s simple and to the point and gets the ball rolling as to why the person is calling you.

Respond quickly

If you can’t afford the extra staff to have someone dedicated to answering the phone, the next best thing is making a point to calling back your potential clients in a timely manner. Some may have already started calling other companies, so following up within the same day can indicate your level of responsiveness.

Make sure that you are calling at a time you are able to give them your undivided attention and you are somewhere you can make notes about the subject of the call. Reaching out to a customer while you’re on a loud jobsite can be as off putting as not answering at all.

Respect their time

Say you are able to get a hold of the client after missing their first call, but now isn’t a good time for them. Don’t tell them to call you back whenever because you know good and well that you will be too busy at certain times of the day to talk. Instead of playing phone tag and guaranteeing that either one or both of you will become frustrated, schedule a time to call back that works for the both of you.

Another part about respecting the client’s time is making sure you’re talking about meaningful topics. If they called worried about their lawn’s drainage problem, try not to get sidetracked talking about sports or the latest episode of a popular TV show. You want to end the call feeling like something was accomplished, not going around in circles.

Summarize the call

Part of the reason why you need to take the calls when you are not distracted is because it is very important to listen during these initial calls. They help build trust and start a relationship with the client and can also clue you in on if this customer is right for your business. If you aren’t paying attention, you can miss an important element that a client wants and start your next call off on the wrong foot.

To make sure you’re on the same page, before you end the call reiterate what the client discussed and ask them if it is an accurate review of what was covered. It may cause them to remember a point they forgot to bring up or rephrase something to clarify what they need.

Secure a decision or commitment

After making sure that you both agree on the rundown of the conversation, figure out what your next step will be before letting the potential client go. If they are seeking services you don’t provide or they don’t fit your ideal client profile, let them know. You can suggest other companies you know who can meet their needs if you like.

If they are a client you want to pursue, you can schedule another phone call or an in-person meeting to begin moving forward. It’s important to not leave it on some ambivalent note of “I’ll be in touch with you next week.” You both have busy schedules, so make a point to not let this new lead slip through the cracks.

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