What sets winners apart: Answering the Phone
A lot of landscaping companies that we work with to get leads for them for their business – they wonder why they have a hard time converting leads. They wonder why they do some marketing efforts and people call, but then they call back the lead, the prospects, and they don’t hear back from them and they wonder what’s going on there.
Well, it’s important to understand for your landscaping business, the difference between referral marketing and cold leads. Okay, so basically most smaller landscaping companies are built just on referral business and referrals are totally different than cold leads. A completely different universe. Leads that come in from referrals, they’re very easy to close. Someone has gotten a recommendation from a friend and they want to work specifically with you. They’ve already got a very high quality endorsement from a friend or family member.
Referral traffic is Limited
However, referrals are limited. There’s only so many of those referrals that come in and you can only call on your referral network so much. You can’t go back to them every week and say, “Hey, would you refer us again?” So those grow slowly, but if you want to grow your business more quickly, then a great way to do that is with paid or organic traffic for your website or for your landing page. So if you’re a landscaper who’s wanting to get more business, and you’re doing some paid marketing right now, then I want to show you what may be happening with your business and why you’re not closing at the amount that you’d like.
So in the internet marketing world, we have done a lot of study. There’s a lot of study, not just by us but by many companies about response time and how quickly someone gets called back after they enter their information on your website.
Be like this guy, every time:
How quickly do you respond?
Or if they call you and you don’t answer, how quickly do you call them back- what is your response time? And let me show you some pretty eye opening kind of information here. So this is a website that’s done a major study on lead response time. And this graphic right here, it might be a little hard to see. It’s kind of small, but it says the odds of having a lead answer your call decreased by over 10 times in the first hour. Okay, so these are five minute increments and basically if you call them back within five minutes, that’s what this line out here means. There’s a very, very high chance that they’re going to call you back or they’re going to answer your call. However, if you wait 10 minutes to call them, it goes down dramatically. And if you wait 50 minutes, I mean it goes down to almost zero.
So what’s happening is that on the web people have many, many choices and you know, you’re probably the same when you call somebody on the web, you want them to answer quickly. I mean if they have a phone number and you call them, you want them to answer and if they don’t then you’re very possibly going to just go to the next person down on the list.
And this is a difficult reality for companies to understand and to accept. But it is absolutely the case. The game has changed over the last, 10 or 15 years. We’ve all gone online and we’ve seen that. I mean, the data is very clear that for your, to build your landscaping business, it’s very important for you to call these leads back quickly. And what’s ideal is for you to be able to answer the phone or have someone else on your team that can answer the phone when they call.
But…you don’t have time to answer the phone
Okay, so I want to show you a good solution to that. You may have staff on your team that can answer the calls. You as the owner, you should not be answering the calls and it’s very likely that you can’t anyway. You’re just not going to get to those calls, right? You’re out on the field, you’re getting work done, you’re managing crews, and so you’re just not going to be able to take every call that comes in.
Enter Answer Connect…
So what we use is a company called AnswerConnect, and this is basically where we set up tracking numbers on your website or landing page. And when someone calls it, it redirects immediately to AnswerConnect. AnswerConnect answers the phone 24 hours a day. They can use a script that is set up for your business. They will answer it as your business.
They’ll answer it as your landscaping business. And when they can ask some qualifying questions to the customer and based on those qualifying questions, they can do what’s called a ‘warm transfer.’ And that is to literally dial you while they still have that customer on the phone, dial you out in the field or dial somebody else on your team and get an answer from you right then and connect you with that customer. Okay.
And they can have a dedicated phone number to call you so that you know, when you look on your caller ID on your phone, you can see that, okay, this is coming from AnswerConnect. They’ve already asked someone some qualifying questions. They’ve said, how quickly do you want to start a lawn care, what area are you in?
It’s all about the “Warm Transfer”
You don’t necessarily want to talk to someone who is out of your service area. They can ask them, when would you like to get started? They can ask them whatever you want and depending on the answers to those questions, they will then call you and do a warm transfer to you. And so when you see AnswerConnect’s caller ID on your phone, you’ll know, okay, this is a hot lead, this is someone that really needs to take this call.
There’s a lot of services like AnswerConnect, but I can tell you that, I mean we work with a lot of companies and we’ve been doing this for a long time and there is no question that the people, the companies that answer the phone every time are the ones that have got outsized success and the ones that don’t, which is many of them, they have a much lower success rate at closing leads.
So answer the phone when people call. Ideally if there’s a form on your website that form comes in, respond to that form within five minutes. And if you can’t do it, which you very likely can’t, then consider working with a company like AnswerConnect that can answer those calls. They actually can also answer those forms, and get in touch with those hot customers that want to work with you, right now.