By: Doug Kennedy
Don’t start the call with an interrogation. Many of my vacation rental clients have been told by their providers to start off the call by asking for too many details. Here is an example:
Also, because so many people have hard to understand email addresses, it becomes frustrating for the caller to have to give this before they even have had a conversation and made a connection with the agent.
- Use a positive opening greeting including the company name and your name. Then wait for the caller to respond. Many callers (about 1/3) provide their names. If they do not, then ask for the name conversationally by saying “Certainly I can assist you with that, may I ask who I am speaking with?” The caller will then identify by first name if they want to be more casual, or by their full name in which case you can address them as “Mr. Kennedy.”
- Wait to get the email later in the call such as when they make the reservation, or if they do not book, then ask at that time for the email so that you can “…send links to what we have discussed.”
- Avoid scripted welcoming statements at the start of the call such as “Have you stayed before? No, well let me be the first to welcome you.” This seems like a good idea but when agents are forced to say it 30 times a shift it ends up sounding disingenuous. Of course agents should ask if the caller has stayed before, so that they can:
- a) look them up in history; and
- b) re-sell the same accommodation as most guests want to rebook what they had or something similar.
- Add the most important criteria question for today’s over-informed callers who have probably already been online prior to calling: “As I’m checking availability, are there any questions I can answer such as about the location or amenities?” This question helps “un-mask” the caller’s story and agents then find out where they are at in their buying decision. Are they ready to book and have no questions? Do they have questions about what part of the destination is best? Have they decided on a place to rent but want to talk price?
- Add a criteria for using visually and emotionally descriptive language. In the past we trained agents to briefly describe the rental property. However now most have already seen it; some are viewing pictures while on the phone. Today it is more important to “narrate the pictures” with words that evoke visual imagery and/or evoke the emotional experiences to be derived.
- Add a specific criteria for recommending, suggesting and/or endorsing the accommodations. This really helps callers overcome what psychologists say is the “choice overwhelm problem” we have as consumers these days. They can say something like “Now there are three accommodations I can recommend and any of these would be great choices for a family such as yours.”
- Make sure the criteria requires them to try to get the caller to book now before offering to email options. I have found that many agents of my clients who have invested in call and lead tracking systems move too often to offering to email a list of the available options before they try to convince the caller to decide. Instead, make sure your criteria encourages them to first try to secure the sale, and then if not to say something like, “Why don’t we put this one on hold for 48 hours and then I can email you a list of the others we have discussed. This way you at least have something locked-in.”
Want more insight from Doug Kennedy? Doug will be presenting keynote speeches at the (April 13-14 in Portland, Oregon) and (April 27-28 in Norfolk, Virginia).