8 Reasons You're Losing Sales Opportunities
Inside Sales: What’s happening with all those missed opportunities?
What happens in your business when a salesperson doesn’t close a lead? When a technician doesn’t convert a service call? How about that phone call the customer service representative doesn’t book?
Is your answer to all of the above, “Nothing”? If it is, you are missing out. There are thousands, if not millions, of dollars in those missed opportunities.
Many of these opportunities are not lost; the customer may have done nothing, and they may just need a little nudge from you to do business with your company. You may be thinking, “My salespeople do all the follow up.” Really? Does their close rate indicate they are following up? Sometimes, we give sales people so many leads they just quote and move on, quote and move on and burn through those leads.
I have coached many companies through setting up inside sales, and I have seen $5-million companies pick up as much as $1 million in inside sales in the first year. I’ve also seen $20-million companies pick up as much a $3 million in inside sales. All money that almost got away. Let’s look at what a solid inside sales process would look like:
1. Hire or promote the right person.
Your inside sales representative should be a true winner: Someone who is sales and money driven because this position will have a heavy commission base pay plan. There is too much money to lose by hiring the wrong person. I’ve seen companies take an employee they need to fire and somehow decide they are going to try them at inside sales before showing them the door. Not a good idea. Here are some of the best practices of one of the best inside sales reps in the nation:
- Customers don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
- Always follow up.
- Be empathetic.
- Have a goal.
- Be sympathetic.
- Don’t be lazy.
- No sale is too small.
- Be dependable.
- Your next call may be the one!
- Always be available.
- Talk about and believe in your company.
- Be proactive.
- Create urgency.
- Don’t settle for mediocrity.
- Don’t get discouraged.
- Get excited!
- Always be the best!
- Be persistent!
2. All CSRs should be instructed to get any calls not booked to the inside sales person immediately.
Transfer the call if possible. Just think about your business today: If a CSR doesn’t book the call, what happens? This is the time for inside sales to get involved. I once saw an unbooked call turn into a $29,000 sale, and the customer originally was not going to book over a $59 trip charge. Inside sales got involved and saved the opportunity.
3. Any service technician or plumber who is about to leave a home with a diagnosis fee should only call the inside sales rep to help close the opportunity.
Sometimes customers only need a little help to move forward with the work. You may be thinking you already do this with your service manager. Check in to see how successful a salary-based service manager is at closing missed opportunities. I do not think you will like the results. It is also much easier to close the repair while the tech is in the home, rather than trying to call the next morning.
4. Inside sales should be on the phone the next morning at 8:30 a.m. with any missed opportunities from the previous day.
The sooner the better; giving an inside sales rep a drawer full of year-old proposals is not very productive. Keep the sense of urgency.
5. Comfort advisors should be given a few days to close leads and then inside sales should get involved.
The comfort advisor and the inside sales rep should work as a team to get sales closed. Establish a specific number of days the comfort advisor should be allowed to work a lead before inside sales gets involved. Be careful not to wait too long, or the sale will be gone. Remember, comfort advisors are going to sell every lead all the way up to the point that it is gone. The number of days before an inside sales rep gets involved may vary based on the lead type. For example, a tech-generated lead may only need to be protected for 24 hours, whereas a marketing lead may be protected for a week. You have to determine what’s right for your business.
6. Sales commissions for the inside sales rep should be 5% on service revenue and a split with the comfort advisor on replacement sales.
This will not be popular with the comfort advisor. If your current sales staff is closing at 45% on all leads, then about 20-25% of the leads would still be available to be sold. Do that math for your company. What would it mean to close 20% more sales?
7. The inside sales rep should be booking at least three sales leads a week by calling behind service tickets on older equipment.
To overcome the comfort advisors always seeing the inside sales rep taking sales from them, the inside sales rep should be setting leads for comfort advisors as well. A sales lead booked from an inside sales rep is usually a high-close-rate lead.
8. Develop a discounting parameter that allows for a lower profit margin and still covers all commissions to be paid out.
If you are determined to stick to your price, you may miss thousands of dollars in overhead recovery. You have already paid to make the phone ring, for someone to answer the phone and book the call, and for a technician to run the call. Don’t let the money get away. Close the sale.
Begin today to look for the missed opportunities in your business. Develop a plan to get an inside sales rep on your team and begin to put processes in place to capture these missed opportunities. It will make a big impact on your bottom line.