Owning a small business can be like a tightrope walk over a pit of alligators. If you can stay focused, you can move straight from Point A to Point B, but you’re far more likely to get distracted by yet another demand on your time and ultimately end up watching mindless videos on YouTube.

When it comes to after-hours callers, you’re not doing much better. You’ve tried letting them all go to voicemail, which ultimately ended in a lot of people who didn’t leave messages and never called back again. You even tried calling those people back, but by the time you did, they’d already found someone to help them with their issue.

Your After Hours Calls Need Better Coverage

When you run advertisements to attract new customers and then fail to answer the phone when they call, you might as well just buy a bunch of lottery tickets with your advertising dollars. Your ROI might even improve if you did. The problem is that some callers prefer not to leave messages on voicemail, and they often call after business hours because that’s when they have the time to call. There’s one easy answer: have someone cover those missing hours.

Converting Leads With Live Telephone Operators

It doesn’t matter if you pay someone to hang out in your office at night answering the phone or you hire an answering service to do the job, someone needs to be saying hello and goodbye to the real people who are calling.

Converting after hours leads isn’t that difficult with the right tools and talent in place. It’s just a matter of:

  • Greeting every caller with a smile. It sounds cliched, but you want to make sure they can hear that smile in your voice. If you sound like you’re tired or cranky, they’re just as likely to turn it around on you as they are to hang up the phone.
  • Listening to their inquiry. Listening, really listening, is a skill that you have to work at to master. When your leads call in, do you hear every other word or are you listening carefully for clues about how you can help them and what hurdles are in their way to purchase? Start listening with intent and you may find leads easier to convert any time of day.
  • Taking detailed notes. If your staff is answering the phone, but aren’t authorized to sell to customers, then teach them how to ask the right questions. When you get back in the morning, you’ll be able to return those calls and your success at converting last night’s leads will be much higher.
  • Always following-up. It’s one thing to have everybody ready and in place for after-hours calls and another to actually follow up on them. You have to follow up. Otherwise, your conversion rate will be zero percent.

Having an answering service or in-house telephone operator to cover your after-hours calls is just good business. Sure, there may be a small investment required to get started at an answering service, but the increase in your ROI should more than offset the relatively low cost of well-trained pros. After all, without them, those leads are likely to have not existed at all!