This article is part of an ongoing series on how to pursue and secure commercial cleaning accounts.
If you want to expand into the commercial carpet cleaning sector of the business you need leads, the quickest way to get them is through cold calling (discussed here)!
If you don’t have the time or the patience to make cold calls, this article will show you in detail how to hire an appointment setter to make them for you. This article will outline the tools you will need to get an appointment on the phone and dialing in addition to showing you how to create a work environment that will allow them to successfully do the time-consuming work of cold calling prospects, getting valuable sales data, and scheduling demos. Streamlining these essential tasks early on will make working with an appointment setter smooth and efficient, maximizing time and ROI.
A good appointment setter essentially “paves the way” for your in-person meeting and cleaning demo. They are a great way to use the “human touch” to establish preliminary contact with decision makers via phone and email, and use follow-up communications to prime your prospect before you set foot in their door.
You may want to say “I can’t afford to hire somebody” or “I don’t want the hassle!” We won’t deny that bringing on an employee, in any capacity, can be costly or without effort, and hiring an appointment setter is no exception. These preliminary obstacles lead many to incorrectly categorize them as a ‘risky expense’. However, with the proper scripts, tools and follow-up protocols, an appointment setter will generate a quick ROI. The good news is that once you find the right person and have them set up with everything they need, your appointment setter will become a lead generating machine!
Freelancing platforms are probably the easiest and least expensive way to hire appointment setters. You may initially be tempted to place an ad locally on CraigsList, Indeed and similar sites. There’s nothing wrong with sourcing staff locally, especially if it’s important for you to have face time with your employees; but you’re placing an unnecessary restriction on you access to the pool of talent and your labor costs will be higher.
Freelancer platforms are a low cost and easy way to source appointment setters for your carpet cleaning business. Sites like Upwork have active listings for literally hundreds (thousands?) of freelancers working as telemarketers, appointment setters, virtual assistants and more.
These sites allow you to post free job (project) ads seeking freelancer help. Job ads are based by category, talent level, budget and even geography/region (domestic and offshore). You can create an ad with a detailed description including scope or work overview, freelancer skillset requirement, desired region, etc.
Once your ad is posted applicants will begin to apply. How much you pay will depend on their level of talent, hours they are willing to work per week, amount of experience in the field, etc. All will play a role in both the quantity and quality of applicants that apply. Applicants will have a project history that you can review including reviews from previous and ongoing projects, list of skillset assessment scores and more. You can interview applicants via chat and listen to candidates via audio clips. This is a great way to assess overall ability such as communication, likability including rapport building tonality and more.
As a leading nation in BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) with a strong proficiency in English coupled with an outstanding work ethic, the Philippines has a tremendous amount of call center talent and is one of the better markets to focus on when seeking an appointment setter – particularly if you’re budget conscious.
Offshore freelancers generally have a lower cost of living vs the U.S. and you will benefit from reduced labor costs as a result. It’s reasonable to expect a rate of $6.00 – $11.00 per hour on average. Keep in mind that this is net as there are no payroll taxes or related fees when using freelance staff. You can contract freelancers for a few hours a week up to ‘full time’. For example, having a freelancer call for 20 hours might cost you $200.00. This may or may not seem like a lot to you, but imagine how many contacts can be made and how much data collected in 20 hours of dialing!
An ever growing list of prospects will eventually lead to demos and jobs – some sooner, some later. Depending on your target market and invoice average, one job can cover your appointment setting costs anywhere from one week to one month or more.
What do I need for this to work?
You will need the following tools in order to get your appointment setter on the phone generating leads for you:
- Phone Number
- Email Account
- Call Lists
Using a CRM is an absolute must if you want your campaign to be successful.
Something you’ll want to find out in the interview process is what CRM candidates are familiar with. Utilizing a CRM for sales leads will be a critical tool for your campaign. It allows your appointment setter to log calls, disposition calls based on response and more. For example, your could have dispositions that might include:
- Not interested
- Would Like To Learn More – Email Sent
- Demo Scheduled
- Follow-Up Requested
Your freelancer will also include notes, such as:
- “Follow-up call requested 05-01-22”
- “Spoke with facilities manager (Bob), was given name of GM Susan….”
- “Would like quote for carpet cleaning. Please stop by location on 05-08-22 @ 10:30 AM”
- “Email information to gm @ xyz.com”
This data is critical. It gives you an understanding of not only how well your appointment setter is performing, but what might need to be adjusted in your scripts, when you’ll want to directly follow-up with contacts and more. It’s also a great way of collecting and recording data. The information collected (including decision maker names, email, etc.) can be used for drip campaings, follow-up calls (in-person and phone), etc.
Get a phone number.
You’ll also need a phone number that your appointment setter can use (along with the ability to dial out, receive calls, etc.). Ring Central makes this very affordable with plans starting at $19.99 a month. You can opt for basic blocks of call time that includes phone number, voicemail, call forwarding and more. There are no long term contracts and accounts are very easy to set-up. Ring Central does have a somewhat complicated platform, but customer service is available and will walk you through the process (this generally needs to be done one time).
You will need an email.
Set up a proper email for your freelancer. In other words, don’t create a Gmail account. Use an email tied to your domain such as bill@xyzclean .com. This is a no cost addition. Using an email tied to your domain is a no-brainer and will give both your business and freelancer a much needed added level of professionalism.
Have a good script
Having a good script with rebuttals is an absolute must. We provided some scripts in a previous article. You can also write your own or edit ours. Regardless, you’ll want to make sure your appointment setter has a good foundation for talking points. It is strongly suggested that you review and roleplay scripts prior to starting your campaign.
Call List – Don’t dial without it
Lastly, you’ll want to have plenty of numbers for your appointment setter to call. Gather lists based on category. For example, if you’re wanting to pursue property managers, assisted living facilities and HOA’s it is best to have specific lists for each category. Your appointment setter will have greater success when focusing on one specific category per campaign. You can also create specific scripts for these calls.
It’s simple, but will be bumpy early on.
The initial job posting, interview process and ultimate hiring will take time. There will also be some assembly in getting your lists together along with phone and email. Once all of this is in place, your campaigns should run smoothly. You’ll need to monitor your CRM, emails and call logs daily. This will tell your how your appointment setter is progressing. You should also consider weekly bonuses based on performance such as emails gathered, appointments set, etc.
Lastly, your appointment setter can also grow into a virtual assistant role that includes scheduling, following-up with customers post cleaning and more.
There are plenty of articles out there on how to make campaigns like this work – and work they do! With the right tools and people you can build a lead generating system for your carpet cleaning business in no time at all!
We hope this article helped and please let us know if you have any questions.