How to Turn Incoming Calls Into Quality Lawn Care Leads.
Time is money = searching for quality lawn care leads.
You are getting calls coming in, and you are dealing with them the best you can. You have paid a lot of money to get the phone ringing, so why not take the time to optimize this procedure?
I have made a living building and selling lawn mowing business for over 30 years, so you could say I have dealt with a lot of incoming calls. You will lose time and leads if you get this wrong.
So How do you turn incoming calls into quality lawn mowing leads? –
- Wear a headset and answer promptly,
- Smile and ask qualifying questions.
- If they pass, get their name, number, and address.
- Get to the lawn ASAP. Quote.
- If they accept, then book or do the job immediately.
- Book the next cut to secure the job.
Turning incoming calls into quality leads is not hard, but you do need to get it right. Over the years, I have refined my technique to get the best results. I will go through my method here so you can do the same.
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Qualify your calls before you write anything.
We get a lot of incoming calls when we are in building mode, and I answer all these calls myself. Somedays, I can get up to a dozen calls, and this is not a problem as I have a system for handling them. I will go through the process here. Whether you are getting one call or a dozen calls a day, this system will work for you.
Wear a headset – Aim to answer all calls within three rings.
If you are already on a call, then ignore any incoming calls – deal with the customer talking, and don’t put them on hold. When you finish, go and listen to any message left by the second caller. If there is no message, see if their number is on your phone.
If so, Call them back and say, “Hi ________ here from ___________. Sorry, I was on the other line and couldn’t take your call. Did you want a quote for lawn mowing?
You can salvage a lot of missed calls this way.
When you answer the phone – smile (the customer won’t see this, but it helps you come across as friendly), and say Hi ________ here from ___________. Then the caller will start talking to you about the job they want you to do.
Not all calls are good for business.
You can get calls that are not beneficial for your business for a couple of reasons. You will need to weed these out before spending too much of your precious time on the call. Things to look out for are.
- Are they ringing you for free lawn advice? – You can usually spot these, and they will typically drop out at the next stage of the call if you do it right.
- They may be ringing to validate what they are paying their existing lawn mowing company – Don’t blow them off straight away but don’t put too much time into these calls either. Explain that you will have a quick look on Google Maps and give them a rough estimate. Get their address, then go to Google Maps in satellite view. Give them a price (a little bit on the high side). If they are calling you, then chances are they are overpaying, so your higher rate may be lower than what they are already paying. If they like the price, you have given them. They tell them you will need to call in to confirm the quote. Then move to the next step.
When the potential customer calls, patiently wait until they finish talking, then ask them, “Are you looking for a price on a regular (reoccurring) cut or a “one-off” job (a one-off is a job that is done just one time).
Wait for an answer and your response will depend on your goals and how busy you are. If they say a “one-off” cut and you don’t want any “one-off” work, say, “Sorry, I am fully booked and do not have time to fit any non-regular work in right now.
If you feel you might do some “one-off” work then tell them that you can do that if you have a minimum charge. Say something like, “I do have a minimum charge of $___. Are you okay with that?” If they say yes, take their full name, address, and phone number and book them in. (make sure they know this is a minimum price, not a firm quote.) If they decline, then you just saved yourself a trip.
Suppose this is how they tell you about their last lawn care guy. You would be better off declining the opportunity to quote.
Working towards regular bookings
Regular lawns are the bread and butter of your company, and you want all the business you can get, but you need to go through some more questions. You will get better results if you ask the same questions every time.
- Can I please get your full name? – I’m a terrible speller, so I always confirm all spelling. I explain, “I’m a terrible speller but a great lawnmower.” Then I say, “Better that than the other way around.” The caller thinks about that, and then they laugh if you can say something that will make a customer laugh. Congratulations! You have just broken the ice, and the customer now likes you. Your chances of getting the job have increased by 50%.
- Can I please get your phone number? – If they give you a landline number, try to get a mobile number as well. Always double-check the number they give you. If the number is blocked and you get it wrong, then you will only be able to get a contact number from them if they are home when you call in.
- What is your address? – Try to find it on Google Maps while you are talking. That will help you pick up any misspellings, roads that are not on the map, etc. If the lawn is in an area where you do not want to work or out of the area you cover, then say something like, “I am sorry, but we don’t do lawns in that area.” If you are saying no because the area is horrible and they point out that their house is in the middle of the area you serve, don’t insult them by saying, “You live in a bad area.” Try saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I have an agreement with another lawn company, and I can’t work in that suburb” Sometimes, a white lie is better than an insult.
- Do you have any dogs? – nice to know.
- Is there anything else I should know about your lawn?
- Just out of curiosity, where did you find my number? Keep a record of this and use the information for your marketing budget.
You don’t have to use the line I do about my spelling (although it is true, and my spellchecker works overtime when I write articles), but try to find something you can say that will get a laugh. A bit of humor occasionally is going to help you secure those quotes.
Also, do try to get paid for that one-off work in advance. We normally text their account details and tell them we will book them in as soon as we see the deposit. We find that 99% of people don’t have a problem with this method.
I have found that the customers who object usually turn out to be the kind of people who won’t pay you anyway. They are probably judging you by their standards and thinking that if someone paid them, they would just keep the money.
The advantages of using a daily job sheet
I usually have a job sheet that I take out daily, and I log all my calls in there. I will transfer them to the computer when I get home. On your job sheet, start with the time of the call (this is handy if you get the number wrong, you can go to your phone log to find it). Then write the details as you go through the list of questions.
I would suggest you use a four-color pen to take call details. I change color every time I get a call. This trick can be a great help when you are fielding a lot of calls. When busy, it is easy to lose track of what comments belong to which call. Because you have taken each set of notes in a different color, it becomes easy to review.
Update about using Google Calander instead.
These days I use Google Calendar to keep track of quotes and jobs. It is free and easy to use. Google also has a great search function. I will be writing an article on how to run your business using Google Calendar soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
The tow truck driver mentality works best.
If the caller’s house is less than 15 minutes away, tell them you will head around as soon as you finish the lawn you are working on. Now it is time to think like a tow truck driver. Get there as soon as you can, secure the job, mow the lawn immediately if possible, and then book the next cut.
Do this every time, and your business will grow faster than a lawn in Spring.
How do I manage voicemail? – During working hours calls going to voicemail should be avoided. If you let a call go to voicemail the chances of having someone leave a message are around 30%. While you are out working, try to return all voice messages as soon as you can. The quicker you respond, the better chance you have of getting the quote.
What do I do if I’m talking to a customer and my phone rings? – If you are talking to a customer, let the phone ring. Explain to the customer that you prioritize “face-to-face” conversations above phone calls. Now you have made the customer feel valued. When you have finished with the customer, head back to your vehicle and check your phone.
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