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There are two basic types of telemarketing programs not including customer service:
Whether you do these programs in-house, outsource them, or do a combination of both, you will need to comply with all federal and state legislation. The responsibility is yours, not your vendors.
Telemarketing to Generate Leads – Generally the script used to generate telemarketing leads for lawn care is short and simple – “we’ll be in your neighborhood; may we leave you a free estimate?” Once you get a “Yes” response, you can then probe further to qualify the lead and help eliminate those who are just saying yes to get you off of the phone. For lead generation telemarketing to be cost-effective, you need a targeted list and enough names and phone numbers to call after DNC suppression to get to at least 100 hours for a reasonable test. If you burn through 100 names per hour, you’ll need 10,000 net names and phone numbers to get started. Once you have a sufficient and targeted list to call, it’s all about the numbers – Dialings/HR, Contacts/HR, Leads/HR, and Closing Rate. If you monitor these numbers carefully, and test and adjust the script and calling list as you go in order to hit numbers goals, you should be successful.
Lawn care lead generation telemarketing was at one time a strong marketing tool throughout the green industry. With the federal DO-NOT-CALL regulations in place and general consumer annoyance about receiving unwanted phone calls, this form of lead generation has become cost prohibitive for many companies.
Telemarketing to Generate Sales – You can use the phone to generate sales (you already do when following up on estimates), but some programs have a much greater chance of success than others. Calling customers to sell them an extra service that they need is always a good use of sales telemarketing.
Calling people with whom you have had a prior relationship – Rejects and Cancels – can also be quite effective in generating sales over the phone. According to the DNC legislation, if you had a business relationship (they paid you for services) with the household you're calling, you have up to 18 months from the end of that relationship to legally continue to call them whether they are on the DNC list or not. If you had an inquiry relationship (they requested an estimate) with the household, you have three months to call them.
Please note that whenever you call someone you haven't had a lawn care business relationship with in the past, and they are on the Do-Not-Call list, you are in violation of federal (and possibly state) law.
These programs will give you much better results than cold calling people who may never have heard of you. For rejects and cancels, you have specific information – lawn size, price, and sometimes treatment history, previous lawn problems, or even the name of the dog, how to unlock the fence, and a day time phone number where you can reach the homeowner. Plus, there’s a good chance they know who you are. However, don’t assume that just because someone is or has been your customer that they know who you are. There are plenty of quality assurance phone calls to active customers that have gone something like this:
Tech – “Hello Mrs. Jones, this is Joe Smith from ABC Lawn Care calling about your lawn service.”
Mrs. Jones – “No thank you, I already have a lawn service.”
Tech – “Yes ma’am, I know. We are your lawn service. I just wanted to make sure you are satisfied with our service.”
Mrs. Jones – “I told you. I have a lawn service.” CLICK
Just like in direct mail, special offers in telemarketing programs can help drive sales. Make them a special offer to sign up for your service – i.e. 1st treatment free or at a special price if they sign up for a year’s service. If you aren’t able to close the sale during the phone call, offer to meet them on their property or take another look at their lawn and leave a revised estimate. Don’t try to be the cheapest price. Do try to be the best value.
Trying to generate sales by cold calling a prospect that you have had no prior relationship with is difficult and rarely cost-effective, so test it before you plan on it being a big part of your marketing campaign. Whatever telemarketing sales program you choose to test, you will probably have better results with a well-trained in-house staff than you will with telemarketing firm that may not be familiar with your business.
Good in-houe telemarketing:
One Yes Marketing client calls each of his customers before every treatment to make sure all is ok. He does not try to sell any additional lawn services on these calls (he does ask if there's anything he should look for on the lawn). The goal is to keep customers happy and improve retention. A happy customer is a customer you don't have to replace.
Note: To date he has 8,000 satisfied lawn care customers.