Kurt von Strasser (left)
Many companies come to us and ask “How can I set up my own in-house lead generation?” Obviously there are a lot of factors that make one program successful and another a failure, but through our experience, both here at www.LimoLive24.com and in our past call center operations, we have found some very key elements. Here is a short list that can help limousine companies to set up an in-house lead generation system, if for some reason they do not want to contract out the process to us…
1. First, be ready to consistently dedicate the time. Set up a schedule for your outbound calls and stick to it. Probably the single biggest factor in failure is that since most people hate making “cold calls” they find just about any reason to do something else. Set a schedule and make sure you make the time, every time.
2. Make several scripts and test them out. First with your friends, family, co-workers. Then have at least 2-3 different approaches and test them on your initial calls. Refine them as you go.
3. Remember that this is a numbers game. Don’t get discouraged. In some businesses it may take 100 calls to get one lead, so know its all about the numbers and every rejection means you are that much closer to making the next sale.
4. Set realistic goals. For example, we avoid one call closes in the limo business. It rarely works. So our goal is to verify good contact information, give them a website to visit (we can actually see the visitor activity increase), get an email out with company info and a call to action. Then recontact them in a few weeks to follow up.
5. Call To Action. If you don’t have a reason to buy from you, a special offer or something with a time limit, then most people won’t take action. We like a simple call to action with an expiry date, such as a free return with an outbound airport transfer to give a new client an incentive to call our member’s limo company the next time instead of their current provider.
6. Don’t pressure. you could ruin a good contact. Use a consultative recurring approach. First call, confirm contact info is correct and get an email address confirmed. Now you have them on an OPT-IN list for future emails! Second thing is to send out your media kit WITH your CALL TO ACTION included. Third step is a follow-up call to make sure they got it and offer to book that next trip. Then send out periodic emails using your new opt-in list of warm prospects!
7. Keep good records. Use a CRM system (many are even free!) to manage your contacts and their status. It takes time to set up but once you do, you can get reports, set up mailing lists, identify which contacts are warm and which never want to hear from you again!
8. OBJECTIONS & FAQ: Every time we set up a new call program, we also set up a program which builds FAQ’s and objections in a database. As you make calls, you get questions, comments and objections to your offer. As you find effective responses, take the time to document that information in a short set of sentences. Whether you put these on Rolodex cards or use a fancy electronic database like we do here at LimoLive24.com, the point is you will be building a powerful “real-world” set of responses that can be passed on to people you hire or a firm like us if you decide to outsource.
Of course, I get paid to tell you that this takes a lot of time and energy and for smaller limousine companies, this distracts key personnel from their core functions of fulling reservations. That’s why we are in business. So I always recommend you compare the costs and total investment of time with outsourcing your calling to a viable company like us, especially since we are specific to the limousine industry and know it well. That said, there are only two directions your company can go, up or down. If you are not selling new business, you are dying. Reservations are your lifeblood and attrition will occur no matter how good your service quality is. Bringing in new revenue is paramount to ongoing survival if not outright success.
Well, there are some basics. Whether you use us or do this yourself, the important thing is to have these critical elements present in your plan and work your plan for numbers. One final note, get a high quality lead list from a top supplier. Pay up and make sure that they “scrub” their list for bad data at least every 6 months or so. Whether you are paying us or using your own valuable time, you want to make sure that you are not wasting any more of it than you have to.
My best wishes to all of you out there for your continued success. You are in a tough industry right now and having an edge is critical to survival as well as success!
Kurt von Strasser III, CEO