ICS Magazine

Making the Phone Ring

November 18, 2009

There is no better sound in the office than hearing that beautiful phone ring. However, there is no more horrific silence than the lack of that noise for a long period of time. So let’s look at ways to make sure that your phone makes that wonderful sound.



There is no better sound in the office than hearing that beautiful phone ring. However, there is no more horrific silence than the lack of that noise for a long period of time. So let’s look at ways to make sure that your phone makes that wonderful sound.

Prior to discussing what makes it ring, let’s examine who is answering the phone. Surely, you are not letting it go to an answering machine or service during normal working hours. Chances are you may be because if you call the competitors in your area, probably 50% or more are using that archaic system.

Don’t do it. Have someone answer the phone live every time it rings during the day. Unless you are answering it live, don’t waste your time and money marketing, because you are throwing money away not answering the phone.

If you have to answer with a cell phone then go ahead and do that but DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO ANSWER THE PHONE LIVE. Plus, make sure that the person answering has a pleasant, clear sounding voice. 85% of what people hear is through the tone of the voice and only 15% are the words they use! Also, make sure that the receptionist has a script that she uses every single time!

Now let’s look at some strategies that should keep the phone ringing.
  1. Are You Marketing to Your Present Clients in Your Database? Do you send thank you letters and do you make follow-up calls. Do you have a maintenance program and do you send out newsletters and postcards? Do you send out 12, 18 and 24 month reminder cards? Are you sending out periodic emails to your clients?
  2. Is Your Website Effective? I include websites as referral marketing because clients that call you from your website have taken a good look at your company by scanning your website. They act like a referral client because they want to use your company. It is vitally important that your website is on the very top of the first page of the major search engines or it is basically useless. Google is used by 65% of consumers so make sure you are one of the top three on that site or at a minimum, on the first page. Also, your website must be well done and appealing to the eye. Spend some money on the production of your website because the on-going cost is very minimal but the results can be outstanding.
  3. Is Your Advertising Effective? The wonderful thing about advertising is that you get immediate results. The down side is that it can cost a lot of money and you could get inundated with price shoppers. Yellow pages, newspapers, Val Pac®, coupon magazines, radio and TV can certainly make the phone ring but you must keep a close look at your costs and numbers and make sure you are making a good profit. Tracking of all calls is essential in order to know that each advertising dollar is getting a bang for the buck. A good rule to follow is that for each dollar spent on advertising three to four dollars of work is generated.
  4. Are You Consistently Marketing to Referral Sources? Realtors, carpet retailers, interior designers, tile stores, dry cleaners, property managers, plumbers, homeowners associations and others are a great source of lucrative referrals but they must be marketed on a consistent basis. Unless you have a system of visiting these and other sources consistently, don’t waste your time and effort. It takes a while to build this market but once you do, your phone will ring often with folks who want to use your company’s services.
  5. Hire a Sales Manager. For right now that person may be the owner but someone should be hitting the streets to bring in the bacon. If you are a small company, when you are not cleaning, you should be selling. Most large companies got that way because in their infancy the owner had no inhibitions about working like a dog, not only cleaning but selling, too. Once you can afford it, hiring a sales person can send your business into the stratosphere. A good pay rate for a sales person, of course all areas of the country are different, but a good starting rate is $30,000 plus 3% to 5% of income generated by their work. A good plan, with a good pitch and plenty of follow up and accountability, can make for a winning formula.
In today’s economy, one can find plenty of excuses for the phone not ringing. Winners don’t look for excuses, though, they look for answers and then they are willing to go out and do the work to bring in the results.

Until you have done the work mentioned above, don’t blame the economy for the silence in the office. The cream will rise to the top when things get tough so make sure that your company is one of the survivors during this current downturn.

Make the effort and then you can experience the beautiful sound of the phone ringing off the hook.