Vacation rental managers fall into two categories: 1) those who want more bookings and 2) those building their vacation rental portfolio. Whether you manage your own vacation rental or operate a property management company, you’ve more than likely attempted cold-calling and email to connect with potential customers.
Depending on your experience and success-rate, cold-calling may seem intimidating, but it still proves essential for increasing sales and brand awareness. To get started – or brush up on communication skills – here are four cold-calling and email steps to help grow business.
Cold-calling and Email Tips From Experts
Prep Before the Call
Before making the first call, write out what you will say. Most find it helpful to have a script for both when someone answers and if they do not, and voicemail picks up. Many people will not answer a number they are unfamiliar with, so it’s best to know what you’re going to say before you need to say it. Here are some quick tips to help craft the right message:
- Greeting: includes their name, your name and company
- Focus: a.k.a summary of the value proposition (pick one):
- How can you <cut, reduce, eliminate, prevent, solve, improve, enable, allow> them to do something.
- Or, who referred you and how did you help them?
- Or, which competitor/property owner did you help and what common problem did you solve for them?
- End with a phone number and sincere call-to-action.
- Closing: Include your name, company and phone number.
- Thank them for their time.
Once you have an initial script written, take time to write out the value proposition and potential questions they may ask. Most won’t have all the answers but having most of them will show you are prepared, professional and listening to their needs.
Make The Call
Now it’s time to access those phone numbers and start calling prospects. Those new to cold-calling processes and lists may want to start with 20 calls for the first day. While those with more experience and practice may be able to make as many as 80 calls per day. The secret isn’t just how many calls made per day, but what you say when you call.
“Your attitude is critical,” says Vickie Storm, National Accounts Director, iTrip Vacations. “The person on the other end of the line cannot see the passion that is reflected in your posture or the expression on your face. They only have the opportunity to hear your voice. Smile. People on the other end of the line really can hear a smile.”
In addition to a positive attitude and passion for business, Storm also has some tips that can help a cold call turn into a follow-up appointment.
- Eliminate background noise. Speak clearly and do not use fillers (eg: like, you know, etc.)
- Give your introduction and be prepared with a couple of questions you can ask to get the person talking. Then, listen in great detail.
- Take notes and use a CRM to remind you of what you discussed with the prospect. In your notes include personal information relating to comments they shared. During a follow-up call, when you ask how their grandson is doing by name, or how their trip was last month, they will be impressed and it will help establish a feeling that they know you.
- Summarize comments at the conclusion of the call and highlight next steps with the prospect.
- Always end by thanking the prospect for his/her time.
Emailing Tips: Post-Call
Cold-calling has long been the go-to process for contacting potential customers. However, many people now prefer email communication over a phone call. That’s why email follow-up is an essential addition to the cold-calling process.
Most vacation rental managers calling prospects will encounter voicemails more than actual humans. However, hope is not lost. After you leave a voicemail, send a follow-up email. Smartphones and devices have made it possible to get email anywhere, anytime. Simply email the prospect and inform them of your message, and keep it short. The email should be direct, polite and provide a call-to-action in the chance they do not wish to talk to you immediately. Here’s a quick list of best practices for a follow-up email:
- Subject line: two to four words. Use simple, direct words. Eg: Voicemail, update, earn, etc.
- Opening: Greet the person and use their name.
- Keep it short. No one has time to read a book, so keep it under 50 words.
- Use genuine language. Write to them like they are a person, not a name on a list.
- Include the reason for your call, your value proposition and phone number.
- Close: Thank them, include your name and website if applicable.
Don’t Give Up, Keep Trying
One of the most important keys to success is having the discipline to do what you know you should do, even when you don’t feel like doing it. ~ Anonymous
Those familiar with sales processes know you may have to contact someone five, 10 or 20 times to seal the deal. In addition to preparation, a pleasant attitude and practice, callers must be persistent. Follow-up with prospects regularly to stay top of mind, and check in your current customers to ensure their satisfaction. Retention can lead to more sales leads, referrals and testimonials.