Direct mail is one of the best ways to jump-start your business. However, sending letters and simply hoping for the best results will not get the job done. You need to treat direct mail very much like its own business entity. If you don’t fully understand every part of it, you may be disappointed with the results. One of the most important aspects deals with incoming calls, and how they are approached. That said, you need to be able to convert as many of these calls as possible. Here are some tips to convert incoming calls into deals:
1. Start with a plan: Before your first letter is printed, you should have a goal for what you want to accomplish. All marketing, in one way or another, is a numbers game. That being said, just because your phone is ringing off the hook doesn’t mean you will find the deal you were hoping for. You have to treat every incoming call with care, and on its own merits. In having a goal before you start, motivation will trump even the largest obstacles. You very well may field six awful calls in a row, but the seventh one could lead to a deal. Along with a goal, however, you need to have a plan for how you will handle everything. Are you going to have a dedicated phone line for the mailing? Are you going to individually answer the calls or have an answering system set up? Can you give the mailing your undivided attention? These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself before you start. Without a plan, you are setting yourself up to fail.
2. Script: Every time the phone rings, you need to be prepared to act. What you will find is that no two calls are the same. The calls may be similar, but every homeowner is different. What should not be different is your approach. You need to get valuable information from the initial call. I recommend preparing a mini script. A script allows you to stay focused and get the information you need. Be sure to walk the line between sounding robotic and having a conversation. If you don’t feel comfortable with a script, you should write down five or six key questions and make sure you get them answered. The goal of the initial call is to gather as much information as possible, as to see if there is the potential to move forward. You need to get any contact numbers and emails, information about the property, and – most importantly – motivation; it will be the key that drives them to action. If they aren’t really motivated to sell, you could waste several weeks of time and effort. After you talk to a handful of callers, you will get a feel of what you should ask and when. Until then, think about having a script to fall back on.
3. Angry callers: Nobody likes dealing with an angry caller. Regardless of how nice and well-intentioned you are, there always be an angry caller or two. Even though you probably won’t get a deal from it, you need to treat these callers like you would any other one. By getting into a shouting match with a caller you open yourself up to damage to your reputation. All it takes is one caller to post something negative about you on social media to uproot everything you have worked for. The best way to deal with this is to prepare yourself for the possibility. Write down three or four common questions they may ask. How did you get my information? Why do you keep sending me letters? What do you think you can do for me? These are just a few of the most popular ones. Whatever they ask, diffuse the situation instead of escalating it.
4. Schedule a follow up: If you keep the conversation moving and willingly answer any questions, they should give you whatever you need. Everything you do in the conversation should be about finding out if there is potential in the deal. It is important to never make snap judgements or take them at their word. They simply may not know, or they could be using outdated information. After you discover motivation and have enough basic information on the property, you need to schedule a follow up. If you let the conversation end without doing so, there is no telling when you may hear from them again. If they don’t commit to a specific time and date to meet, ask when they would like you to follow up. Most direct mail deals are closed on the subsequent follow ups rather than the first contact. By giving firm dates, you reduce the chance that they avoid you in the future.