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Fast Reply Time is Key to Sales in the Propane Industry

September 06, 2017 By Hendrik-Jan Francke

Fast Reply Time is Key to Sales in the Propane Industry

When prospects submit contact information online to receive a call, it’s important not to delay that call.

According to a Harvard Business Review study, companies that call prospects back within the hour are 7 times as likely to have a meaningful conversation with a decision maker than those who wait longer than an hour.

If you delay a phone call, you’re missing out on opportunities to sell propane delivery plans or tank installations.

As a local propane company, you want to connect with the people and prospective customers in your area. The best way to do that is to be ready to help whenever someone is in need of propane.

Win More Customers by Responding Quickly

Investing in a propane delivery plan or a tank installation can be a big decision for prospects. You can help make them more comfortable by giving them a call as soon as they show interest.

Prospects are more likely to sign up for your propane delivery service because you replied quickly.


Close More Leads With Excellent Customer Service

Imagine filling out a form for a service you need and getting a call back right away. That commitment and read-to-serve approach show that the company cares about its customers.

The sooner you can call your prospects back, the better. Studies show that the odds of connecting with a serious buyer drop by 400% if you respond in 10 minutes instead of five. And you can’t close a lead you can’t reach.

This portion of the report "The Best Practices for Lead Response Management" in Harvard Business Review shows the difference in contacts between responding in 5 minutes and responding in 10.

Being able to respond quickly means you need to have someone ready to call prospects at any time of day. Even if you receive a request after business hours, it could be beneficial to have a staff member on standby to call the prospect back.

Though it may be a minor inconvenience for your team, going the extra mile for good customer service will produce better sales outcomes.

Good customer service invites good reviews. Whether you’re reviewed on a site like Yelp or Google or mentioned in an everyday social media rant, your level customer service will be translated in the quality of your reviews online.

The local 3-pack, the trio of businesses that show up under the map in a local search, is subject to snap judgments based on reviews. While this 1.8 star review doesn’t look great in this search result for "propane in Texas", lacking any reviews can look even worse for your propane company’s credibility.

The better your online reviews are, the more people will trust and consider purchasing from your propane company over other providers. In fact, 72% of buyers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

Fast response times can also help you avoid a dreaded negative review online.

With social media, people will post their opinions of your company online without a second thought...and they’re more likely to complain about a bad experience than praise a good one.

If you respond to their queries quickly, you can turn their negative experience into a positive.

Beat the Competition by Talking to Prospects First

The bigger the time-gap is between filling out a form and receiving a call, the more likely the prospect will move on to one of your competitors.

When shopping for propane, customers often want a fast resolution. Afterall, they need heat!

If you close that time-gap and call the prospect back as quickly as possible, you may eliminate the possibility of the prospect calling another propane gas provider in the area.

Speed Up the Buying Process by Answering Questions Right Away

We’re all busy. We make personal phone calls on our lunch breaks or while waiting in the carpool line. So if you call your prospect back 3 hours later, they might have moved on from thinking about switching propane providers to thinking about fixing the leaky kitchen sink.

Call delays stretch out the buying process and reduce your chance of closing a deal.

In other words, strike while the iron is hot.

By calling the prospect back while they’re still doing some research on local propane companies, you have their attention at a time that is convenient for them.

Not only do you get bonus points for great customer service, you’re also not letting any sales opportunities slip away.

Note that if you call back and can’t connect, don’t give up. Be persistent.

The fatal flaw of many sales teams is giving up too soon. By the sixth time you call, your chance of contact is as high as 90%.

This portion of the Harvard Business Review report shows that your chance of making contact with your prospect improves by the sixth time you call them.

Build trust with prospects by reminding them you’re human

One reason people are drawn to small businesses is they believe a small, family-owned company provides a more personalized level of customer service.

A screenshot from the Knapp Energy, Inc., homepage demonstrates the appeal of a small family-owned propane company in marketing. You want your propane company to feel more like a “neighbor” than an unfamiliar company going after the big bucks.

Even though we all rely on automated systems today, it’s important to live up to the small-business charm your customers expect.

With a quick call response, you can build a baseline of trust that extends from your family-based values and leads your prospects closer to purchasing a propane delivery plan or other propane service.

Needless to say, it’s much easier to trust a fellow human being than a faceless company with an automated answering system.

How You Can Tone Your Quick Call-back Reflexes

Use a Text-Alert System

Do you know when someone has filled out an interest form on your website? Or, when you get a voicemail after your normal business hours?

Set up a system that sends you a text each time someone fills out a form or leaves a voicemail after hours. That way, you can immediately call the person back.

Try a Personalized Email Auto-Response

An autoresponder can be helpful if you’re not available to respond in person. But, it’s important that the response isn’t canned, but personalized.

Use what you know about the customer (probably from the form they filled out) to send them a tailored email. You can personalize the automated message by including their name and any questions or topics they wanted to address with you.

In the email, let them know you will follow up with a call as soon as you can.

Just like automation on social media, your email messages shouldn’t sound like a robot. Personalization can remind your prospects that you’re human, too.

Faster Response Times Lead to Better Close Rates

If you can answer inquiries as soon as possible, your prospects will trust you more. That trust is what will get you more customers.

So, even if it means taking a break from your favorite TV show or excusing yourself from the dinner table, quick responses are worth any minor inconvenience.

You will receive much more prospects willing to invest in your propane service. All you have to do is go the extra step to make time for the prospect when they have time.


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