A friend and marketing colleague of mine who works with law firms recently shared an article revealing that 4 out of 10 prospect inquiries law firms get are not responded to at all.
I have to say, that figure surprised me. I thought it was much WORSE. Based on my own personal experience (focus group of one), more than 75% of inquiries I make for various services are not responded to at all, and even when they are, there’s nearly no follow-up other than one email and maybe a phone call. Amazing. Everyone complains about not having enough leads, not having enough clients, and not having their advertising and marketing pay off. Yet, they pay no attention to how inbound leads are being handled in their office.
Of course, this happens in the MSP world, as well. At one of our training events for MSPs who want to get ramped up quickly on marketing, I have attendees team up with someone they didn’t come with and secret-shop each other. What ensues is a LOT of facepalming and anger. Nearly 80% go to voicemail, and 10% of those find problems with their answering systems: disconnecting people, routing to dead ends, etc. Of those that get someone to answer, the situation is often worse.
At the last event, one person called to play prospect, asking for help with a server issue. The salesperson on the other end of the line simply gave their hourly rate without asking for the name of the company who was calling or a phone number to call back; she also didn’t attempt to book an appointment or offer to send more information. She just hung up. Read that again: She just gave the price and hung up. No lead capture, no attempt to book an appointment, no diagnostic questions. Another person had a tech who answered and became irate, demanding to know where they got the phone number. It was a new phone number that the owner had posted to the website a week before but hadn’t told anyone in the company. Another said they “didn’t do any projects outside of a managed services contract,” and proceeded to give the name and phone number of a competitor. Most went to someone’s voicemail. All had horrible outcomes — and sadly, this is common.
1. This Is COSTING You Big.
For starters, the No. 1 reason someone fires their current IT company and starts looking for a new one is lack of response. Here they are, googling you and at least a dozen other IT firms and MSPs, and they call you, only to get voicemail. You know they are either hanging up and calling the next Google listing or maybe leaving a message — maybe. Given that the average MSP lead costs upward of $300 to generate and that the average sale can be worth $15,000–$20,000 in the first year, you’re burning that opportunity on the spot. If someone is ready enough to buy that they call your office, you ought to be jumping on that call within seconds, ready and eager to book them an appointment. There’s no point in spending money and effort on marketing to get a client or a prospect to call the office just to be burned. You only get paid if you get them across the finish line. If you want to put more money in your pocket this year without spending more on marketing, fix your phones.
2. Map Out What’s SUPPOSED To Happen.
To be fair to the employees who horribly bungle these calls, they have never been directed, trained, or instructed on how to answer the phone. That’s not their fault. Further, you can’t just give them a script and one talking-to. You have to monitor, continue to train, and update the phone playbook. None of this will happen without ongoing vigilance and monitoring.
3. Check And Monitor FREQUENTLY.
If you don’t regularly check and test everything that is supposed to happen in your office, on your website, and in your systems, with and by your employees, you’re in for an unpleasant shock. I suggest doing this late on a Friday when everyone has gone home and you’ve had at least one stiff drink. That way, it takes the sting off and prevents you from firing everyone. (Trust me, you’ll want to.) We do this phone test in the workshop late on a Friday afternoon for a reason. Ugly is happening, and not just on the marketing side —there’s the tech customer service side, as well.
In summary, all inbound calls should be recorded and reviewed weekly. In states where you are required by law to notify the caller that they are being recorded, a simple “This call is being recorded for quality assurance purposes” is sufficient before the call connects.
One of the resources we give clients at our 2-Day Rapid Implementation Workshop (RapidImplementationWorkshop.com) is a starter playbook on how to handle an inbound phone call. Because you’re a reader of “MSP Success,” I’m going to make this available to you for free for a limited time (until Jan. 30, 2020). To get it, go to MSPSuccessMagazine.com/phones.
Keep in mind the scripts provided should be customized to your specific situation and client. However, this will give you an excellent starter document for how to handle inbound prospects. I would not recommend changing the rules on “How to Avoid Burning a Client.” These are tried-and-true rules to ensure the maximum number of prospects become clients by delivering a five-star performance in handling their requests.