One Way to Avoid Losing a Third of Your Sales Leads

Most companies don't want an "impersonal" on-hold phone message system, but having one can keep prospective new clients from looking elsewhere for landscape services.

Tom Borg, consultant
Tom Borg, consultant

Imagine that you had the services of a magnificent salesperson whom you paid a small amount of money, yet he or she would work for you 24/7/365. Sound too good to be true? Well, when the salesperson we're talking about is your phone system, it's not.

When done right, a powerful on-hold phone message can add dramatically to your bottom line. Still, many businesses do not have or use such a service. Some of the objections to having a solid on-hold message include:

  • We don’t want to be so impersonal
  • We are so small we don’t need it
  • It costs too much money
  • It is a hassle to properly maintain

In my research with Green Industry clients and other business clients who use a message on-hold system, the evidence is overwhelming that a good message on-hold system can annually bring in thousands of dollars of additional revenue to your business.

According to marketing specialists, roughly 70% of calls placed on hold remain on hold for an average of 90 seconds. A depressingly large 90% of callers hang up within 40 seconds if "on hold" means dead silence. More importantly, 34% of those potential customers never call back. Think about it: Can you afford to see a third of your new sales leads wither away with the wind?

On-hold marketing can reduce hang-ups by 77% because instead of silence, callers hear marketing messages. It increases telephone on-hold time as much as 230%. A full 88% of callers say they prefer an on-hold message to music or silence. Best of all, 19% of callers buy something when they hear a powerful marketing message while on hold.

Three more reasons an on-hold marketing message makes sense

It can enhance your image. When a person calls your company and is put on hold while waiting to talk to a particular person, a good on-hold message can create a more professional perception.

It is an excellent opportunity to educate and inform. Tim Brown, owner of says, “While a prospect or client is waiting on-hold, your message can educate them about your company’s services, mission statement, areas of expertise, and anything else that would be important for them to know.”

100% exclusivity. With most forms of advertising, you are constantly fighting for your audience’s attention, competing against TV, radio, outdoor advertising or social media, to name just a few. With a good on-hold message system, your message and your message alone is communicated directly to your listener.

As I have always said, “If your prospects or clients don’t know about specific services or products that you offer, those services or products don’t exist, at least in the customers' minds."

Prices vary depending on the amount of on-hold message services you want. A good system starts at about $750-$850 plus an annual maintenance fee. This type of an investment is self-financing. In other words, it pays for itself with the additional sales your company will generate because of its effectiveness to communicate your products and services. There are many suppliers of this service. Shop around and find one that fits your needs and wants.

Quick Tips

To enhance the impact of your on-hold message, I recommend that you make sure you can add a personal message in your own voice. Snappy music playing lightly in the background helps with mood. Finally, to remove the "impersonal" nature of an on-hold greeting, make sure your message is all about the customer and how he or she will benefit from the products, services and/or special promotions you are offering.

When you have your on-hold message up and running, you will be utilizing the power of a 24/7/365 salesperson that can boost your lead conversion ratio, and ultimately sales and profits.