When someone calls you for information, what do you tell them? Do you have a “template” or “script” that you use on the phone?
I noticed that each of my inquiry calls goes for about 7 minutes…
During this time here’s what I do:
# 1. Look at my mobile phone to see if it captured the incoming number or if it says “unknown caller” – this is THE most important step. (See step #9 for further explanation.)
# 2. Ask if they are calling about classes for themselves or their kids.
# 3. I then explain which class would be most suitable and tell them when the next class is.
# 4. At this point I invite the caller to try a free trial class, by saying something like, “I have a class for your 9 year old son tomorrow at 4.00pm . It’s a 45 minute class and it’s just for beginners like him. You’re welcome to come and try it at no charge and see if your son enjoys it. How does 4.00pm suit you?”
If they tell me that this time or day isn’t suitable, I’ll then say something like…”The next available class for him would be on Friday at 3.45pm . How does that suit you?”
If I still get a “we’ve got soccer on Friday at that time”, I’ll try one final time with “How about Monday?”
# 5. At this point if the caller can’t commit to coming down to try a free class then you’re going to have trouble getting them to sign up at all.
Simply because their schedule is too busy or it conflicts with your classes.
Or maybe they are just “flakey” and have difficulty committing. If they can’t hold an appointment for a free class, do you think they will be able to commit on a regular basis?
Either way it’s simply not going to work out. Cut your losses and move on…
NEVER put the student into a class that isn’t for beginners just so you can sign ’em up! It’ll kill your other class and people will see you as a pushover.
If the caller says, “Sure, tomorrow at 4.00pm sounds fine”, I’ll then ask them for a verbal commitment to training. I’ll say “Ok great, let me ‘pencil you in’ for tomorrow at 4.00. What was your name please? And your son’s name?”
Note: ‘Penciling someone in’ does 2 things.
Firstly it confirms to the caller that you’ve taken them seriously and have ‘registered’ them for the class – you’ve reserved a place just for them!
Secondly, they usually feel obligated to attend as they’ve given you a verbal confirmation. At this point I’ll then say, “There’s only a couple of places left in this particular class for new students – if you can’t make it for whatever reason, would you please call me and let me know?”
Again I’ve reinforced gently and professionally that they better be serious about this ‘karate thing’ and get themselves down to the club tomorrow at 4.00pm ! If they don’t, they’ll feel badly that they didn’t attend as there were limited places available – so guess what? 90%+ of callers don’t want to feel bad, so they keep their appointment.
#6. I ask them if they have the address of the club and then give them driving directions.
#7. I ask them how they heard about us. Another important point – take notice of where your leads come from! You want keep tabs on what’s working and what needs attention.
#8. Before I end the call, I thank them for their time and tell them “I’ll see you Wednesday at 4.00pm.”
#9. In step #1 I mentioned that I get the caller’s phone number from my mobile phone caller id. However if it’s an anonymous call, at this point I’ll ask the caller for their phone number “just in case” I need to call them before now and class.
This is critical!
You must capture the name and number of your leads so you can follow up with them! You will increase your student signups and student retention instantly by following up with people.
If they don’t show for whatever reason, you can call them back. Most people who miss an appointment feel badly about it and will reschedule with you if you call them. By calling them it also shows that you care – that you went out of your way to see why they didn’t show.
Of course when you call back, always take the voice of concern, not the voice of accusation!
When I call back I say something like, “Hi Anna, it’s Jason Stanley from the karate school. How are you? I just wanted to check in with you to see if everything is ok? I had your son Daniel booked in for a class yesterday at 4.00pm , but we missed you…”
At this point I SHUT UP!
I wait for them to answer…
Usually they apologise and reschedule.
Now, back to the checklist…
#10. From here I enter their details into an excel spreadsheet with the parent’s name, student’s name, age, phone number, the class they’ll be attending, time and date of the call and how they heard about us. This is a great way to stay focussed and and keep track of your prospects rather than simply scribling their name on a scrap piece of paper somewhere…
Well, there you have it – my phone procedure in a nutsehll.
3 Critical Points To Note!
- You’ll notice with this simple script I’m leading the call. I’m directing the caller to exactly where I want them to go.
If they interupt and ask about other stuff, I simply say, “There’s a few other things that I need to explain and show you about how the program works which I can’t do over the phone… so when you come down on Wednesday, please arrive about 10-15 minutes early so we’ll have a chance to meet and I can run through it with you.”
- I never ask a closed-ended question (one that generates a YES/NO response). Instead of asking “Is Wednesday at 4.00pm a good time?”, I’ll say “How does Wednesday at 4.00pm suit you?”
This encourages them to talk to you – the more the person talks to you, the more you can show them what a great person you are, how friendly you are, that you care and want to help them!
- I don’t mention price.
If they ask, I tell them I have classes starting at $20/4 classes but it really depends on what program they choose, etc. and that I’ll explain it all on Wednesday at 4.00pm.
Now for your homework. =)
Analyze what you say when someone calls you and compare it to my simple script here.
- Are you making a friendly and professional impression?
- Are you leading the conversation?
- Are you giving them the information they want?
- Are you sellling the benefits of your program?
- Are you asking open-ended or closed-ended questions?
- Are you penciling them in?
- Are you capturing their phone number and name (and children’s names)?
- Do you confirm the time with them and get a verbal agreement?
- Do you find out where your caller heard about your school?
- Do you give them driving directions?
I want to hear from you – please post your comments/questions/responses below by clicking on “comments”.
Have a great week!
P.S. I’m going to be away next week from July 4-11 at the Kobe Osaka International World Cup in Moscow, Russia (Check out http://www.worldkarate.net if you’re interested) so my next post won’t be until at least July 12.