Right now, you could be hindering your company’s growth without even knowing it.
It’s no joke. Every time you miss a call, you lose money. In fact, you could be losing upwards of thousands of dollars annually from missed calls alone. Whether it’s a call from Google+ Local or a prospective customer, you chip away at your business’s future success every time you don’t pick up the phone.
At Prospect Genius, we’ve noticed a disturbing behavior among our clients: they aren’t answering their phones! For some reason, they don’t seem interested in speaking with prospective customers. But we suspect that our clients aren’t the only small business owners who are letting countless calls go to voice mail or ignoring calls altogether due to a heavy workload. While it’s understandable that you’re too busy to answer your phone, we’re going to demonstrate in this post why it’s still a huge mistake.
When Google Calls, You Better Answer
As we discussed in a previous post, Google has been contacting local businesses in an attempt to verify their locations and contact information. While every business owner is theoretically vulnerable to these phone calls from Google, we’ve discovered that older listings are the ones being targeted specifically. If your listing predates the Panda and Penguin updates—or, in other words, it’s at least three years old—then you’re likely to receive a phone call from Google (if you haven’t already). When Google calls, it’s imperative that you answer all of their questions correctly, lest your business listing get suspended and you lose contact with your customers. But before you can answer those questions, you’ll need to answer your phone.
Customers Are Calling. Are You Picking Up?
It may seem unnecessary and obvious to tell you that customers are calling your business, but you’d be surprised by how many prospective customer calls are missed by small business owners each month. To demonstrate that point, we sampled our own clients to see how many calls are answered, how many answered calls lead to sales, and how many calls go to voice mail. Here were the two biggest takeaways:
- Nearly one-third (29.49%) of customer calls go to voice mail.
- Roughly 60% of answered customer calls lead to a sale.
Prospective customers are looking for a service to be provided. They want to hire someone. But that means if a prospective customer gets your voice mail, they’re most likely going to move on and dial the next business on their list. In other words,when you fail to answer your phone, you lose business. Plain and simple.
A Real-Life Example:
A Prospect Genius team member recently remodeled her home. She called 17 different deck builders before even one of them got back to her. That means all of those other deck builders lost out on her business! She needed to hire someone, and she kept looking until she got a response.
Missed Calls Mean Lost Revenue…
Using our own call logs, we broke down the volume of missed calls by average job prices with high and low estimates of leads per month. Then, based on the 29.49% ratio of missed calls, we determined how much money each category is losing per year from not answering the phone. Take a look:
|Leads Per Month
(High and Low Estimate)
|Revenue Lost Each Year
It’s tough to get an exact idea of what your phone habits are like. We recommend implementing some type of call recording system for your business’s phone line so that you can keep track of many calls are answered and how many go to voice mail. You may be surprised by how much you’re missing out on!
…And Lost Referrals, Too
Referrals are integral to the growth of your business. For every satisfied customer that you have, you can expect a handful of referrals to come to you through word of mouth. With a good referral, you can turn one job into three or four. But when you don’t answer your phone, you’re missing out on the opportunity to grow your client base. In other words, you’re not only missing out on immediate business, but you’re also losing a significant amount of future business.
A Real-Life Example:
We return to the story of that same Prospect Genius team member from above. Further down the road, she needed a home inspector and hired a reliable home inspection company through a friend’s referral. Once the job was finished and she was happy with the experience, she wound up referring that same company to six other people, all of whom booked jobs. When that home inspector first answered his phone, he probably had no idea that there would be seven total jobs on the line.
Find a Way to Answer Your Calls
It’s simple: Responding to customers as promptly as possible is a surefire way to gain more business.
But we know it’s impossible to be available 100% of the time. That’s why we’re sharing a list of recommendations that we often give to our own clients:
- Hire an answering service or receptionist to pick up the phone while you’re on the job.
- Forward calls to your mobile phone.
- Sign up for one of the many available call-tracking features that notify you by text or e-mail as soon as you’ve missed a call.
You can also record a friendly, professional voice mail greeting to let your prospects know that, even though you’re busy on the job, their business is still a priority for you. Here’s a great example from All Pro Appliance and TV Repair, a stellar local business in Allen, TX:
Click to Listen
You can hear the sincerity in the business owner’s voice. Not only does he offer a friendly greeting, but he also sounds like he genuinely wants to speak with the caller. He explains that his technicians answer calls personally and asks the caller to be patient. It’s a great example of how you can convey the importance of any given customer’s call.
Prospective customers are much more likely to wait for your response once they hear how authentic and friendly you are.
No matter which strategies you use, anything that enables you to answer and return more phone calls will be a massive improvement. Don’t let a whopping one-third of your business slip away—do what it takes to make sure that your phone is being answered.
The Prospect Genius program comes with a free call-tracking feature as well as a Client Portal that provides you with various reports so you can watch your campaign’s performance. If you’re interested in learning more about our lead generation program, give us a call at 1-800-689-1273.