When a Question is the Answer

 In Handling phone calls

A new prospect calls and asks for information on your current rates. How you respond is the difference between a one time conversation and a long term relationship.

What you’re doing when you don’t know how to respond to that  question, or don’t have a protocol for staff to follow, is gambling on the fact that if you give them the right answer they are going to decide to come in and do something about it.

The best answer to the question is sometimes a question.

“What are your goals?” and explain further why you ask. “We have a variety of packages and options available for you from ____ to ____ depending on the type of training service that’s right for you.”

They are calling more than for rates. They are calling for help. A caller calls in to find out if you are the right person, program, and business to help them reach their goals. They want out of pain and into pleasure. A confidently delivered higher rate than they wanted can get you a more favorable response than a timid list of rates that’s low and reasonable, and void of inquiry about them!

They want to know that you stand behind that rate, that you will give something away for free in order to make sure its a good match for them and they want to get to know the personality of the business. If they don’t feel welcome over the telephone, they aren’t going to be more inclined to come in. Whoever is answering the phone for you must be completely trained and well versed on how to handle questions and how to get the contact information so that the right person can call back if they don’t have all the answers.

“The best thing for you to do is come in, have a complimentary session with us. Sit down and talk about what you’re doing now, your goals and needs. Your trainer can suggest a game plan for you and make sure you’re comfortable with it. From there the two of you can look at the options that make sense, considering your time, goals, and budget. What days and times are good for you?”

“Great. It looks like we’ve got both a 4 and a 5pm in that time frame for you tomorrow. Which is better for you?”

“You’ll be meeting with ___ at the reception desk in the lobby at 4pm then. This is a combination consultation and complimentary session so you can wear street clothes or wear comfortable exercise clothes. You won’t be doing a full workout at this session.”

“Do you have any other questions for me?”

“Yes, that’s right. This is completely complimentary so we can suggest how we’d like to proceed  and you also can ‘try it on’ and make sure its a good fit for you. We look forward to seeing you at 4 tomorrow for your appointment with ____!”

Know your objectives:

1. Relay information but not rates over the phone.

2. Get them in front of  you for a one-on-one consultation and complimentary session

3. Make sure that you have several layers of responses already prepared as scripts for anyone answering the telephone. Not all staff are available all the time. A customer service representative (front desk/receptionist) needs to be armed and taught better than the sales staff even who have fewer things to think about.

a. “We have a variety of packages available, depending on your goals, needs, frequency, budget. A trainer can help you make the best choice about what works for you. What I can do is take your contact information and days and times that work for you and our director will call back with options for a complimentary session.”

Someone may be persistent and get frustrated with your staff. What then? Prepare them.

b. “We have group options starting at $8 per session to private one time sessions beginning at $65 and everything in between. What is the best time to reach you and I’ll have our director call with more details for you?”

4. Go over and over role plays and consider making your staff aware that there will be secret shoppers. Have someone call your business at early and late times when a part time staff might answer the phone. Find out if you have a protocol in place, or whether the protocol has been taught to them as well as you know it.

Are you prepared? That’s the real question. How do you want to handle inquiries over the phone or in the street? That’s the answer. Fill in the blanks and then get busy! Customers are waiting!