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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 13 - June 19, 2018

Selling Your Services

EMD aceb4By Don G. Archer

Over the last two years I've had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of tow company owners looking for a way to grow their business. The one thing that stands out among many of these companies is a lack of attention given to making the sale.

The phone rings and it's a potential customer who is unsure if your company is a good fit. Their concerns are like a wide-open canyon separating what they need from what you provide. Your job as the call-taker/dispatcher is to be a friendly, helpful voice, empathetic to their situation. You want to narrow the gap and let them know that you are on their side.

However, many times this is not what comes across.

While you can't be everybody's best friend, regardless of how many sales opportunities you have each day, making some positive changes to how your phone is answered and how the information is delivered can dramatically affect your ability to close more deals.

Below are a few things you can incorporate into your business to get more sales:

1. Proper Greeting: Have you ever called your accountant or your attorney's office and been greeted with an abrupt phrase like, "accountant," or, "lawyer?" That's just lazy. When answering the phone speak with a genuine upbeat tone and say, "Thank you," then say the name of your towing company. "Good morning, thanks for calling ABC Towing, how can I help?" Some variation of this goes a long way and makes a great first impression.

2. Ask About the Situation: Motorists don't understand how towing works, and what we see as straightforward is foreign to them. Many times they're only concern is the cost, and if you just shoot them a price right off the bat, you might lose them. Asking about the situation lets the motorist know that you care about their plight; additionally, more information may come to light that is helpful, allowing you to make the sale. Learning that their car is at their place of business, but the keys are at another location entirely can lead to you offering to pick up the keys. "You'd do that?"

3. Provide A Solid Price: If they don't know you, chances are they start off not trusting you. Although myriad issues can arise once your tow operator arrives, providing a solid price for the services requested is a must; but don't make your customer do the work. Throwing out enroute mileage costs, tow miles, and hook fees is hard to digest over the phone. After you've gotten all their information and done the work, shoot them your best price and be done.

4. Create a Stranded-Motorist Avatar: Answering the phones all day can be mundane, and sometimes an otherwise happy dispatcher may become listless and uninterested. Creating an image or avatar of someone in need of your services can help them stay engaged for a longer period. How about a woman with a flat tire who's worried that her child might get home from school before she arrives? Or a young mother with a toddler locked inside a car on a hot day. Think about her feelings of shame, guilt and inadequacy.

5. Be Truthful and Follow-up: Always tell the truth and do what you say you are going to do. If you promised to have a tow truck to the customer within a certain timeframe and you can see that it's not going to happen, give them a heads-up prior to the expected arrival time. Explain what happened and provide an updated ETA. If you're telling the truth, most of the time they'll understand; but if you're being less than truthful, that's when problems can arise.

If you want to differentiate your business from the competition and make more sales, taking control of the front lines of communications is a must. It is said that 38 percent of the believability of face-to-face communication has to do with your tone of voice—how much do you suppose tone matters over the phone?

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at
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