At Zinnius, we record every call that is generated from our paid advertising efforts. We have recorded more than 60,000 calls for our pest control clients to date. After listening to many of these calls, we have learned a lot about how to be a good sales rep and what differentiates the best selling pest control companies from everyone else.
Table of contents
- 1. Open with Company Name and First Name
- 2. Great Opening Line
- 3. Set, Clear and Easy To Understand Pricing
- 4. Knowledgeable About Pests/Service Offerings or Will Ask If Unsure
- 5. Good Sales Reps Set Clear Expectations
- 6. Good at Problem Solving
- 7. Good Sales Reps are Accommodating
- 9. Good Sales Reps are Empathetic
- Bonus: Use In-House Call Answering
1. Open with Company Name and First Name
Successful sales reps at the best selling pest control companies always answer the phone with their company’s name, followed by their first name. While this may sound obvious, I’m always amazed at how often reps don’t do this.
For example, I’ve listened to many calls where the rep answers by simply saying “Hello” or “This is…” which inevitably results in the caller asking if this is the pest control company they were trying to call. Not only does this negatively affect the company’s perceived professionalism, it can also result in fewer call conversions.
In short, the clearer your sales rep is about who you are, the better the call seems to go. In addition, about 5% of calls that come through are customers of your competitors, so by being clear from the start it allows them to recognize that they’ve called the wrong number. This saves valuable time and helps your rep get off the phone quickly with a caller who likely is not interested in your business. This is the first step in learning how to be a good sales rep.
2. Great Opening Line
In addition to having a clear introduction, it’s also helpful to have a great opening line. For example, one of our clients has their reps say (after saying their company name and first name), “What’s bugging you today?” Potential customers absolutely eat this up. They love it and their reactions are priceless.
If you don’t have a great opening line, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just one more thing that humanizes your company and can help you create relationships with potential customers much more quickly.
3. Set, Clear and Easy To Understand Pricing
Potential customers love set, clear, and easy-to-understand pricing. For the majority of our clients we advertise a set price or a reduced fee for the initial treatment. That’s true with any quarterly service. If it’s related to bed bugs, rodents, termites, etc., we typically offer a sale price (specific dollar amount discount) on just the initial or one-time treatment.
We’ve found that there is a high correlation between ads with clear pricing and call conversions. In other words, when a potential customer clicks on an ad with clear pricing and the sales rep is able to quickly confirm that pricing over the phone, there is a higher chance the sales rep will close the deal during that first conversation. On the flip side, if ad pricing is difficult to understand, it’s more likely that the prospect will decide they’d rather shop around before making a purchase.
4. Knowledgeable About Pests/Service Offerings or Will Ask If Unsure
Sales reps who understand, which pests are serviced and how they’re serviced, close more deals than those who don’t. And it’s not hard to understand why — when a homeowner calls a pest control company, they are looking for someone they can trust to handle their pest situation quickly and correctly the first time. If your sales reps don’t have the answers they are looking for, or the answers they give don’t make sense, closing the deal becomes much more unlikely.
Here’s an example:
One of our clients recently received a call from a potential customer dealing with a rodent flea problem. The sales rep who answered the phone encouraged the woman to let the rodent die in her wall. Naturally, the customer was confused and asked, “So will my fleas go away once we let the rodent rot completely?”
After we listened to this call, we forwarded it to the company management to get their feedback. Their response was that the sales rep clearly did not know what to say and they weren’t sure from where he got his “solution.”
The moral of the story is this: there’s nothing wrong with not knowing the answer – potential customers are okay with that as long as they feel they’ll get the right answer after a brief hold time. Qualities of a good sales representative include honest and transparency.
5. Good Sales Reps Set Clear Expectations
It’s common practice for pest control companies to perform an initial inspection before they can provide a price for a one-time or ongoing service. Successful sales reps clearly explain to the customer what they can expect during this initial visit as well as provide a price estimate.
One of our clients would send field inspectors out to do the initial inspections prior to scheduling the service that will eradicate the pests. We found that their customers became increasingly frustrated with them as they hadn’t realized their problem wouldn’t actually be handled for days, even weeks, depending on the time of year. After sharing our findings with them, our client changed their call script to set clearer expectations and customers immediately took to it.
The takeaway: Most customers are understanding of company processes as long as these processes are clearly explained to them.
6. Good at Problem Solving
Homeowners are calling your business because they have a problem, so problem solve. Instruct your sales reps to ask good, relevant questions. Teach them how important it is to listen. Really listening to your customer is essential because call scripts don’t always work. And if a customer calls with a unique issue reading directly from a script is a huge waste of time on both sides.
Here’s an example:
One of our clients generates an amazing amount of leads from an online chat platform. To save time they’ve set up some basic automation to help autofill what they type most often. In doing so they miss the opportunity to effectively problem solve. Instead of being a quick and easy tool to establish rapport with potential customers, instead it only plugs in canned responses. Potential customers quickly become unengaged because most of the dialogue is unnecessary and irrelevant to them. To reiterate, potential customers are looking for answers to their problems, not answers to commonly asked company questions.
7. Good Sales Reps are Accommodating
After listening to hundreds of calls, we’ve found that the sales reps who close the most deals are very good at accommodating their customers. As we listen to calls we’ll hear good sales reps say things like, “Let me call my tech and see if we can move some things around to fit your schedule. Can I call you back?” This type of response makes customers feel valued, but more importantly, keeps them from calling another company because your company doesn’t have the time available.
The takeaway: don’t underestimate the importance of being accommodating. If customers feel you are trying to meet them halfway, they’ll meet you halfway. This matters even more during the busiest time of the year.
9. Good Sales Reps are Empathetic
As we’ve discussed, people who call pest control companies are often annoyed with a situation at their home or office. They want a good solution, at a fair price, as quickly as possible.
One of our best clients, we’ll call him Joe, exclusively sells heat treatments to eradicate bed bugs. In most cases this service costs a minimum of $1,500, which is a shocking number to many potential customers. Joe understands this. He’s expecting some hesitation on the other end of the line so he takes his time to explain why his services cost more than other companies. He takes time to answer questions. He listens to what callers say and he cares about their responses. He’s empathetic to their needs and wants and he never rushes a call nor the opportunity to sell his service. The result: by the end of most of Joe’s calls, customers trust him and are sold on his explanation of the higher service cost. At the end of the day, customers want to connect/buy from a company who understands how they feel. When customers feel your empathy, sales happen.
Bonus: Use In-House Call Answering
No one can sell your service better than you. If you are using a third-party service to answer your calls, whether after hours or during peak call times, consider bringing that in-house, where you can control and manage the process. Take the time to define: “how to be a good sales rep” specific to your pest control business.
Why? Because I have yet to listen to a call where a third-party service does any of the following:
- Communicate set, clear and easy-to-understand pricing
- Demonstrate real knowledge about pests and service offerings
- Set clear expectations about services
- Problem solve
- Accommodate customers’ individual needs
Third-party services don’t care about your business as much as you do. If you can’t afford to hire someone in-house, you’d be better off taking calls yourself. Again, no one can sell your business better than you!