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Business is Tough?
Would you say that that in the last 8 months that it has been more difficult to do business? Many are finding that to be the case. In this kind of economic climate you would expect that service providers in Banks, Credit Unions and Insurance agencies would be highly motivated to make the most of every single opportunity to do business. Wouldn't you? If someone even hinted they might be in the market for an investment, loan or policy we would do everything we could to help them? Right?

Not So!
Well think again. Despite the fact that most are crying out for new business, few have a concrete strategy in place to deal with the incoming price or rate inquiry. If there is a strategy in place, most are not following up to make sure it is actually being carried out as planned. What’s the result? A client calls up and asks for a rate and they are given the rate. Call after call and there aren’t any questions asked about the product they are calling on. They are not asked if they would like to come in to see if there is perhaps a better product, at a better rate, and many are not even asked their name never mind whether or not they would be open to a follow up call.

How can this be? It must mean that many of the people fielding these calls don't see the incoming rate/price inquiry as an opportunity. That's crazy! What do we automatically know about anyone making a phone inquiry to ask about the price of one of your products?

7 things they tell you just by calling:
1. They have a need or a want. People don't call in for rate just for their amusement.
2. The time is right. Generally speaking, people don't call for rates months in advance of when they actually have a need for the product.
3. Your institution is acceptable. If they have heard bad things about you they wouldn’t call.
4. Your products are acceptable. If they didn’t think you had what they needed they wouldn't call.
5. They think you will be competitive with your rates. If they thought you were going to be overpriced, they wouldn’t call.
6. They may not be thrilled with their current financial institution. If they were completely happy, why would they be calling you? There is an opportunity to win their business.
7. They are looking for a professional. Often the first call is to not only find a good rate but to find someone they like and trust to help them. A phone call is a lower risk first contact than just turning up at the branch.

Imagine if they told you all that!
If someone called and divulged all of that information, we’d never just give them the rate and hang up! Can you imagine!?!
Potential Client: "Hi, I’m just calling today because I’m really not happy where my investments are. The return I have been getting has been less than satisfactory and the service has been worse. I’m looking to make a switch here in the next few days and I have heard really good things about your company. I’m hoping you can help me. Can I start just by getting your rate on your one year term?”

Can you imagine any service advisor simply answering this persons question and hanging up!!?? No way! Even the most diehard order taker would see the opportunity and would bend over backwards to help this person. Simply giving them the rate would be seen as providing poor customer service if not being downright rude!

What To Do
The challenge is that it is highly unlikely that someone would call up and be that transparent to divulge all of that personal information. As consumers, we’re too protective and worried about getting into a pushy sales situation to be that forthcoming. Even if those things were true we wouldn’t tell the sales person. It’s easier and safer just to ask for the rate. But just because the callers do not admit that those things are on their mind and that they are more interested then they let on, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t engage them the same way we would if they did actually tell us how interested they were. If we are going to assume anything why wouldn’t we assume those 7 points are true rather than assuming the caller just wants a rate?

So, if we believe that there is more to these calls then the caller is letting on and that they are in fact a huge opportunity, then what should our approach be?

- Recognise the incoming phone call as a great opportunity to meet your next client.
- Know that the number one objective of taking the incoming call is to create an appointment.
- Take control on the phone. Ask good questions to take the focus off of rate, and get it on what they are trying to accomplish.
- Find out who you are speaking with and their phone number.
- Create choices. You always have several products that may suit them and may get them a better return than the one they are asking about. When you suggest that you do have several good choices for them to consider that may be better than the one they were calling on, that creates interest (they were calling after all for a good rate) and the need for an appointment.
- Suggest the appointment as the best thing to do next in order to better understand their situation so you can get them the best product at the best rate.

There are millions of dollars of new business available to your company by being more strategic and purposeful with the incoming rate call. Next time you find yourself thinking about how tough it is to get new business think about the people that are already calling and remember what they tell you, just by dialling your number.

Copyright © 2012 by Fusion Performance Group Inc. If you share this, print it out, or reproduce it in any way, please retain this copyright statement.