When Mike Porter, CEO of Speed’s Towing noticed that an increase in SEO didn’t align with an increase in sales, he got on the phone.
“What we were finding is that we were spending all this money and the sales hadn’t returned for us. I called my SEO company, screaming and yelling,” he recalls. “They said, ‘Are you listening to your calls?'”
At the time he wasn’t. Here’s how he used what he heard on calls to improve sales, and start a new business:
Listening to Calls Allowed Him to Learn More About His Business
The honest to goodness truth is that most of us only listen when there’s a problem. I got together with my management team and said alright, everyone’s going to listen to five calls a day. There were three of us at the time. After the first day, I listened to more than five because the first five made me so mad I was pounding my head on the desk. I had to shut the doors because I was literally ready to scream.
I thought we had trained very well, but we were turning business away. We were taking 15 minutes to take a call and then not getting the business. We’re very good at towing cars. But we trained our people how to order take, NOT how to create a relationship.
He Trained His Dispatch Team to Create Relationships
How do you handle that really really upset individual? Or handle those calls where not everybody is chipper and nice?
As managers and owners, we think we have particular goals, and our people know those goals. But this training gives everyone the same language. And everybody knows what the goals are.
In our industry one of the biggest things you see from towers is that there are no retail calls. Well, 30% of my business is retail. It’s gotta be that way everywhere. If it’s not, it’s because you have order-takers who don’t know how to sell.
I had a broad idea of how I wanted this to happen. I came up with the acronym STEEP, for Smile, Tone, Empathy, Engage, and Politeness. It’s a step by step process that shows you how to create a relationship with your callers. And how to do it in three minutes instead of 15.
We created a script that everybody can use, and a review form for managers. Leadership can use them to rate each call when they listen, to get an accurate assessment. When they listen to calls they can rate them – now you’re getting your measurement.
Throughout the day, I grab a mirror, and I walk into my dispatch and look at everyone and go: “Who’s smiling?” I take the mirror, put it in front of their face and encourage them to smile. Part of training and motivating people is making things fun and different. If you’re not smiling at your staff, if you’re not making them feel comfortable, appreciated, and valued, how will they make your clients feel?
He Launched a New Business, TDR Way, So Other Companies Could Use This Method
I shared it with other towers. One of the companies in Kansas City, they took it and ran. They increased sales by 40% in three months, based on measuring calls.
Then my SEO company came to me and said, “You know that training you do? Would you be willing to share that with plumbers, and electricians?” We talked some more and I thought well, what is the best way for me to get the information out without traveling the country? Video! So we did a video outlining each step.
We start everyone with the videos. After each video we have a sit-down with our team or with that person who’s watched it, and talk about the importance of it.
The Bottom Line? Care About Your Callers
There are three reasons why someone won’t use you: ETA, Price, and the number one reason is that the person on other end of the phone just doesn’t care. We try to teach the caring side.