McKay: Jeremiah, thanks. That was awesome. We’ve got a lot of good questions coming in, so I want to get to them as quickly as we can here. First, and this is a good question, what are the most common, biggest mistakes you hear on the phone? Is it just the ability of asking for the business? I mean, is that one of the biggest things you hear?
Jeremiah: The biggest mistake I hear is certainly that, but you know what? There’s a bigger one, and it’s specific in this industry, and it’s tone of voice. It is sounding like you don’t care, when the phone rings. And that, of course, I mentioned, is the first four to six seconds when you’re setting that one and building that relationship. But the most important thing, the mistake that I hear, is attitude picking up the phone. So if you’ve got the wrong attitude, or the people answering the phone have the wrong attitude, it is an immediately turnoff to the customer. You never have a second chance to make a first impression.
McKay: The other question the people are asking here is, if you’ve got somebody in front of you physically in your store, and the phone rings, how do you handle that, in terms of how you divide your time up with the phone that’s ringing and the people in front of you? What’s the best way to do that, so you don’t tick everybody or anybody off?
Jeremiah: You know what? That is the most common question that I get asked in these trainings, and I’m assuming that one came in early, because it always does. That’s a good question. So you’ve got somebody in front of you. You’ve got the phone ringing. How do you manage that? First and foremost, everybody is important, they guy on the phone and the guy in front of you. So you’ve got to be able to measure out your time accordingly. I mean, I’m not a fan of putting people on hold. Sometimes you have to. If you do, don’t do it for more than 30 seconds.
But here’s what’s most important. Everybody needs to feel like you are giving them your undivided attention. The person inside the store, inside the shop, needs to get high contact from you. You need to acknowledge that you know that they’re there. If you’re on the phone, you can’t talk to them, so raise your finger up in the air so that they can see that you see them, and you’re going to be right with them.
If they walk in, and they phone rings, and you’ve been talking with them, turn to the person and use these exact words. If you’ve got something to write down on, please write this down, because this is important. Say to them, “I want to give you my undivided attention.” They’ve got to hear that first from you. “I want to give you my undivided attention. I’m going to tell this person I’m going to call them back or see if I can address their questions within 30 seconds, and I’ll be right back with you, so I can focus on you and get you taken care of.”
Now that’s when the phone’s ringing. You do that in the first three rings of the phone. You don’t want to wait four rings, the first three rings of the phone. Then you pick the phone up. That person has been acknowledged in front of you in the shop. Pick the phone up, and you answer the phone like you’ve got all the time in the world. “Hi, this is Jeremiah with J&R Tires. How can I help you? Yeah, we can definitely help you with that.”
Now here’s where things change. “Who am I speaking with? Oh, this is Bill. Hi, Bill.” Now this is where you change things and you go, “Hey, Bill. I’m with a customer right now in the shop. I want to give you my undivided attention. I’m going to call you back in about 15 minutes. Will you be available to take my call in 15 minutes?” That is very important, because recognize that I didn’t say, “Hey, I’m busy right now. Can I call you back?” That would be rude. I got his name. I showed him my tone. I said I could take care of him.
I told him, and by the way, it’s actually a good thing to let him know you’re a busy shop, because he knows you have people in front of you. You’re saying, “I’m going to call you back in 15 minutes,” but make sure you do call him back in 15 minutes. You may be able to say, “Would you mind holding for about 30 seconds or about 60 seconds as I finish working with the person in front of me? And then I’ll give you my undivided attention.” You could say it that way as well, depending on how much time you have remaining with the person in the shop.
So you’re going to have to juggle this, but if there’s anything you take away from what I’m explaining right now, it’s that you want to make everybody feel like you’re giving them your attention. They know you’re busy. In fact, it’s a good thing they are busy, because that means that they want to be at a place where people like to be. It’s called the bandwagon approach in sales.
But this is very important. Makes sure that they all know you’re going to be with them, and you follow up with it. Make sure you look them in the eye. Make sure you emphasize how important they are to you. And of course, if you’re dealing with two, and three, and four sometimes, every business that’s doing well should have times that are so busy that they can’t handle it. That’s when you know you’re in a good place, and it’s time to hire somebody else. But everybody should recognize that.
And I’m telling you, when I watch companies follow through with the principles that I just talked about, how to look them in the eye, tell them, “I want to give you my undivided attention,” pick up the phone, give them your undivided attention, when people follow that, and there’s a guy in the back sitting there waiting for his car to get done, and he’s hearing how well you’re managing all that, they are so impressed, they tell their friends about it. And I’ve watched that happen before.
McKay: Here’s the other question. We’ve had a few questions asked about call recording. How important is call recording to this whole process. I mean it seems totally critical, because if you’re not recording the calls, you’re not going to, A, know how your employees are doing, and then, B, of course, you’re not even going to able to improve it. Just speak to that, if you can, a little bit, Jeremiah.
Jeremiah: Yeah, so the question is, “How important is it to record my people? Is it really that important?” And the answer to that is, absolutely. But let me answer it with another way. If I’m a pro-athlete, like a football player, and I play for 60 minutes on a Sunday, how much game time film do the coaches watch, and the team watches, before the next game? It’s only 60 minutes. And the answer to that is, at least 40 hours of game film is watched before the next game. Why? Why is it so important for the football team to watch their own game film and analyze and study their own plays before the next 60-minute game comes?
And you know the answer. It’s because you’re going to see opportunities, you’re going to recognize weaknesses. You’re going to be able to fix things. You’re going to be able to see it from an outsider’s perspective. That’s why they do it. Every professional team does it, and you’re a professional team. You need to do it. I can’t get on this call right now and teach you, and train these skills, if I hadn’t listened to calls from your industry. It would be just ideas. But the fact that I understand your industry, because I can hear, like the call we just made to Wichita, I can now come back with very specific details that are unique to you.
And of course, accountability is probably the next biggest reason. The reason I want to listen to a recorded call is the accountability. I want to be able to hold myself accountable to higher skills, because you all know, if I listen and record your calls, there are going to be things you could do to improve and fix. That’s just the way it goes. And if I want to improve things, I’ve got to analyze myself. I’ve got to record my performance.
McKay: And then one more question, and we’ll be done, everybody. When someone does do the price shopping thing, because I went through and listened to 10 calls this morning, just sort of preparing for this and whatnot, and you know we’ve done a lot of research in the industry as well, and literally, I would say 80%- 90% of the time, people just start the call with, “Well, I need a set of this size. How much are they going to be?” Well, just walk us through, and you did during the presentation, but walk us through this whole scenario. If someone says, “Hey, I need this size of tire. How much are they?” How do you get that person? What are the next steps, the next two steps to ask them to book an appointment, and to keep them from hanging up the phone and just calling your competitor?
Jeremiah: Yeah, that’s a good point. Well, the first thing is, I’m not going to give him the price right away. I’m going to learn more about him, because I’m an expert. It may have the exact size that they need, but I know what they need, because this is what I do for a living. So the first thing I’m going to do is acknowledge them, thank them for calling, get their name, and say, “Yeah, I’m going to help you with this. Let me ask you some more questions.”
And I’m going to take control of the conversation. That’s something I didn’t talk about earlier, but that’s really why you do that in the beginning, so you can be in control. If you’re not in control, and you’re just answering the customer’s questions, they’re going to get their price, they’re going to hang up the phone, because they got what they thought was most important. They didn’t realize that there were other things that needed to be considered. With that in mind, McKay, why don’t I have you be that customer that you were hearing this morning, and I’ll handle it the way I just trained everybody to handle it?
McKay: Sure. “Yeah, I need four tires that are for my Chevy truck.”
Jeremiah: “Great! I can definitely take care of that for you. Who am I speaking with?”
Jeremiah: “Hey, McKay. So you’re looking for four tires for your Chevy truck? Let me get some more information from you so I can get specific about the kind of tires you’re looking for and get you the price.”
So I’m not going to continue with the rest of the call, but what I just did was set myself up to start asking lots of great questions. And I took control of the conversation. I don’t have to give him a price right away. What I can do instead is, of course, ask make and model, ask size, but I can also ask what kind of driving McKay does. I can ask him how long he’s planning on having the automobile. What kind of warranty we’d be looking at. I can ask a lot of questions to really get a good feel for what he values in the automobile, and then, of course, continue the call from there by building value, and using our tire brand, and then of course asking for the business.
McKay: Great. And like you said, asking for the business seems to be maybe the most critical element of this whole process. Seems to be where everybody falls short, I guess.
Jeremiah: Yeah it is. It’s shocking. Nobody does it.
McKay: Well, thank you so much for the really good questions, everybody. Thanks, Jeremiah, for taking the time. We appreciate it.