April 24, 2024

Turning strangers into customers: Leverage incoming calls to boost your sales

By Guest Contributer

By Dr. Jonathan Baktari, MD, CEO of US Drug Test Centers

The entrepreneurial bug bit me at a young age, and becoming a doctor and medical director only amplified that drive. Working in medicine, I witnessed firsthand a severe lack of accessibility to healthcare. This was the seed that eventually grew into US Drug Test Centers, and ever since its inception, our goal has been to bring drug and alcohol testing to every corner of America. Fast forward to today, and we’re using robust technology and a vibrant team of professionals well-trained to provide expertise in drug testing services.

The key to scaling a business

Our sources of clients — and thus, revenue — are numerous, but I spotted a pattern quickly emerging: incoming calls were a goldmine for potential clients. Relationships that started over the phone, by far, converted more than relationships that started elsewhere.

As an entrepreneur, I know this to be true: double down on what works. Thus, we made it our mission to become the experts in converting incoming calls into sales.

Entrepreneurship’s biggest secret

After growing three successful businesses, I began mentoring other entrepreneurs, and I made yet another discovery: most business owners aren’t really leveraging incoming calls, even though they can provide a steady stream of leads and revenue. Why?

I did a little detective work.

I learned from my mentees and colleagues that they firmly believed having a website was enough. “Build it, and they will come,” right? Not exactly. Search engines are crowded, and competition is abundant. Having a website, in and of itself, isn’t enough.

A lot of businesses rely too much on referrals and word-of-mouth marketing. If you’re making money from these avenues, that’s great! People are vouching for you, which means your business is making your customers happy. However, this type of client acquisition can be unpredictable, and it doesn’t encourage the business to be proactive.

Something else I learned with other drug testing-related businesses is that these professionals think Chamber events are the only way to find new leads because you “can’t really sell drug testing.” (You can.)

And finally, there’s a sentiment that a lot of people can relate to: selling is “sleazy.” It has such a negative connotation that some brands try to avoid it altogether.

Embracing a different solution

I know that in the age of texting, not everyone is comfortable talking on the phone. And generally, people certainly aren’t comfortable selling on the phone. But to ignore this source of business would mean leaving significant money on the table.

So, how can you get better at turning incoming phone calls into sales?

Start with a script

I know some people dislike the idea of using a script on a call. It feels disingenuous. But here’s the thing: Working from a script benefits you and the caller. It helps them better understand what they can expect from the call (and from working with you). It also keeps you on track so you don’t give the caller information they don’t need, and it gently nudges the caller toward the sale or conversion.

What should your script look like? Well, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You need to consider three questions:

● Where is the average customer in their journey when they call you?
● Where are you trying to get them?
● How can you connect the two points?

As the expert of your business, only you can answer these questions. Think of it as a timeline, and you have to get the caller from A to B. What are the steps you need to take on the call to accomplish this?

That’s your script!

Importantly, remember that a script isn’t necessarily there for you to read verbatim. It’s there to guide you.

Ask the right questions

Many of us believe asking questions will annoy the lead and turn them off. However, perhaps surprisingly, it’s the opposite. Why? Simple! People love talking about themselves. Asking the caller questions helps you better understand them and helps the caller feel heard. But what do you ask?

You need to ask them questions that provide value, allow you to demonstrate exceptional customer service, and help both you and the caller build confidence in the relationship.

Train your call-takers

Who do you have manning the phones? They are the first point of contact for potential customers. In other words, these folks serve a very important role and have the ability to make or break these relationships – and relationships lead to revenue.

So, the people on the phones can and do make an impact on your revenue.

For example, you should be talking to these employees about neurolinguistics, the study of how the brain represents language. This plays a role in every conversation we have! For instance, if you give a caller one option to choose from, there’s a 50% chance they’ll say no. If you give them two options to choose from, they’re far likelier to pick at least one of them. (Think of how you might ask a child what they want for dinner. Ask them if they want pizza, and they might say no. Ask if they want pizza or burgers, and they’re likely to pick one or the other.)

This type of training can help call-takers more strategically manage these conversations and gently steer callers toward a conversion.

Prepare to avoid common objections

One thing I like to instill in my team is that if they encounter an objection toward the end of the call, it’s because something went wrong earlier that they didn’t catch and/or address. Ideally, you ask all the right questions to begin with and, thus, avoid running into objections later on, when you should be closing.

Much of this comes down to:

● identifying exactly what the objection is,
● isolating it, and
● acknowledging and sympathizing with the objection.

Objections happen, and they aren’t the end of the world!

Too many of us think of the word “sales,” and our objection is, “Blech!” However, no business can survive without sales, and one of the quickest and most consistently effective ways to boost revenue is through the people who already are calling your business. These people are already warm leads.

I’ve spent years getting phone sales down to a science, and now, I’m sharing that formula with others. High Converting Call Class takes you through my complete process from start to finish. The goal is to empower you to use incoming calls as a tool instead of feeling intimidated by them.

US Drug Test Centers is a new NDASA Preferred Provider. Through the program, NDASA members have the opportunity to take advantage of a 10% discount on Dr. Baktari’s  “High Converting Call Class.”  This business development course is designed to help companies of all sizes convert phone calls into business opportunities. If you are starting a TPA business or expanding your current drug and alcohol testing business, this training will help you obtain up to 80% call conversion rates without sounding salesy. Learn more about the Preferred Provider program here.