By Gregg Sargent

How much are you spending each month to get your phone to ring? The competition in the carpet cleaning and restoration industries increases daily. So how can you set yourself apart? How can you make sure your clients don’t call your competitors after they hang up the phone with you?

Many of you are paying marketing companies for clicks to your website or leads from lead generation companies. The national average for converting a cold lead into a scheduled job is somewhere around 50 percent with many companies converting much less.

This industry focuses almost completely on how to get your phones to ring and how to perform the services needed once on the job site. These are two extremely important areas to ensure your business is successful.

We should add an additional area to be concerned about, though — call conversion.

About call conversion

Let’s use an easy example. You pay $1,000 a month to a marketing company to get your phones to ring. During the month, they get your phone to ring 10 times. Since the national conversion average is around 50 percent:

Ten received calls converts into five new jobs. But what if you converted just 20 percent more of these calls, which would total seven new jobs. If your job average is around $2,500, that’s an extra $5,000 coming in each month with the same marketing expenses.

Here are five call-conversion standards to make sure your company is getting the most out of customer calls.

1 | Calm clients down fast and build trust.

Even if you have taken over 10,000 calls, you must treat each new caller like it’s your first call. You build trust by identifying the caller’s point of pain. The point of pain might be financial; maybe they are out of town; maybe they don’t know what to do or don’t know how to file an insurance claim. Regardless of what their point of pain is, you must identify it quickly and show them how you are the expert who can take care of it.

2 | Ask the right first question.

So many owners and office staff members ask callers for their full address at the very first of the call. Instead of asking for the full address, just ask what city they are in. Then find something in common with that city so they know you are familiar with the area.

Many clients are on the internet, looking at the maps section and trying to find the company closest to their property. They think the closer the company, the faster they will arrive and the less the job will cost. Neither of these ideas are necessarily true.

Here’s an example of how to begin the conversation the right way:

Client: My basement is flooded! A pipe broke! Can you help me?
You: Absolutely. We take care of flooded basements all the time. What city are you in?
Client: Denver.
You: Okay, perfect. I have three crews in the Denver area right now. Let me check the GPS, and I will send whoever is closest right over. It will either be Tyler, Thomas, or Jaden; they each have over five years’ experience and have everything they need on their trucks ready to take good care of you.”

3 | Make customers feel safe.

You can see from the example above that it is important to help clients start to feel comfortable with your crews over the phone. Don’t go into all their IICRC certifications — most clients will not know what they even mean. Just give the names of who is coming and their years of experience. If you are the one on the truck, just say, “I’m the owner of the company, and I personally will be right over to take good care of you.”

4 | Get your crews on site.

After you identify the client’s point of pain and they are calmed down, go right into scheduling. You do not want to get into a lengthy question-and-answer session if you can avoid it. Your crews, once on site, will be able to answer questions and close the deal. If a client has lots of questions, I use this statement: “Mrs. Smith, every property is so different, and that is why we offer a free inspection with our infrared camera and moisture meters. I’ll get Jaden right over in about 45 minutes, and he will be able to show you exactly what needs to be done, and then you can decide what to do.”

5 | End the call sure the clients won’t call anyone else.

We don’t want the customer calling Uncle Bob, Aunt Sally, the neighbor, or the insurance agent. No one. Why? Once someone else gets involved, your chances of closing the job weaken. Either the agent is going to refer over their own company, or many friends and family members are going to tell the client that it is not that big of a deal or refer someone they’ve used before.

At the end of the call, say, “Okay, I will have Jaden right over in about 45 minutes. Let me call him now to get an exact time. I will call you right back in three to five minutes to give you an exact time and answer any other questions you might have. The number you gave me, is that the best number for me to reach you in three to five minutes?”

If the client is holding the phone, waiting for you to call them back in three to five minutes, they will almost never make another phone call. When you call them back with an exact time, you build more trust. You said you would call back in three to five minutes, and you did.

In this one action, you keep the client from calling another person and build their trust in your company at the same time.

These five call-conversion standards are just the beginning when it comes to converting more cold leads into profitable jobs. I have 30 of my own calls that I have dissected so that owners and office staff members can better understand and learn these and many other call conversion standards and strategies.

Gregg Sargent is the president and owner of Sargent Strategic. He has more than 18 years of experience in the carpet cleaning and restoration industries after building and selling his successful company. He has more than 21 years converting cold leads into profitable jobs and was named the Worldwide Franchise Marketer of the Year and Worldwide Entrepreneur of the Year. He can be reached at 720-277-7113 or