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#1 28-05-08 12:29:57

paulcook
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
Website

Answering your phone to New Business

Quick question for ADIs who have set up completely on their own:

I presume not many ADIs have the luxury of a secretary constantly manning the phone to collect all that lovely new business....  And it would be illegal and rude to be answering new business calls on your mobile whilst in the car giving instruction.  So how do you avoid missing out?  Is it a case of having your phone set up to divert to answer machine, and then call back at the end of your lesson?  Or do you all have hands free phones in your training car?  (If all this sounds niave it's because I'm only a PDI at the moment..)

Thanks for any advice...


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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28-05-08 12:29:57

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Re: Answering your phone to New Business



#2 28-05-08 12:43:07

driverpete
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 06-02-06
Posts: 457

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

I never answer the phone in the car, hands free or otherwise, and definitely not while I'm with a pupil. I have a suitably professional sounding message on my mobile and my home phone message (which like most one man bands is also the family phone) suggests that anyone seeking driving lessons can contact my mobile. I'm sure I must miss out on some business but not enough to worry me.


RoSPA Gold
Retired RoSPA Approved Tutor
Retired NDAC & NDAS trainer
Retired ADI

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#3 28-05-08 12:54:21

paulcook
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Thanks for that.  That's what I figured to be honest, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on some obvious solution.  I'll do the same (if I'm lucky enough to pass part 3 of course!)


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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#4 28-05-08 14:08:55

Lynne
Verified Member
From: Essex
Registered: 05-03-04
Posts: 925

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

I do the same as Pete but I don't use my home phone...all is via my mobile.  I did have a freephone number that wasn't really used so gave that up.

Obviously I can't say how much business I may have lost but to be honest, if no one leaves me a message it's usually 'private number' which is generally a call centre  :evil: 

I get the odd enquiry from my website but most of my work is word of mouth so I suppose I'm lucky in that respect...it takes a while to build up  smile

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#5 28-05-08 14:19:24

Target
Verified Member
From: Winchmore Hill North London
Registered: 17-01-05
Posts: 5,695
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Re: Answering your phone to New Business

After discussing about 0800 numbers I decided against it.

Its just another cost you could do without, but they can help you monitor different adverts. Most people will call on a mobile to reach you, so 0800 is worthless.

Its surprising how many enquiries come via the email. In some cases ive started lessons without even speaking to customers, its all via email, although I always try to call and just confirm, but the bulk of the discussion in via the email.

I do not take calls during lessons, its illegal. Handheld is illegal whilst driving and whilst giving tuition.

I may miss calls, but have tried calling them back before and all they want is a test and car hire ' NO LESSONS JUST TEST' - as they say to me.......Of course otherwise they would have left a message....Both messages I returned calls today and one called back the other was at home and I booked the customers in the diary.

I dont lose sleep over the missed calls. I also take alot of calls that are a waste of time....This morning someone thought I was the DSA HQ. :?

It all comes together...........When you qualify the hardest part will be getting the phone to ring. Booking lessons are easy. The only customers I turn down are those not in the area, want hours im not prepared to teach, or want me to take them to test no lessons.


Approved Driving Instructor ADI(car)
Cardington Grade (A) Diamond Special DIA MSA IAM ROSPA (Silver)
QEF Mobility Qualified
Taxi Driver Training DATT
BTEC Qualified Assessor
www.targettuition.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/TargetTuition

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#6 28-05-08 14:23:40

paulcook
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From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
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Re: Answering your phone to New Business

I take it that your customers got your e-mail address from your website?


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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#7 28-05-08 14:41:07

Lynne
Verified Member
From: Essex
Registered: 05-03-04
Posts: 925

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

...This morning someone thought I was the DSA HQ. :?

  roll  smile  Trying to tell us something Target?  neutral

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#8 28-05-08 15:47:06

Target
Verified Member
From: Winchmore Hill North London
Registered: 17-01-05
Posts: 5,695
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

I take it that your customers got your e-mail address from your website?

Yes basically.......99% of my work comes from the website...Without i'd not be an Adi.

Not trying to be the bringer of Doom and Gloom but you cannot make real money on a franchise and its hard to get pupils without one. I know some franchises are cheaper at for example £50 per week, but can they provide the work for that money. £2500 then all the other time and effort you put in yourself . So your in a catch 22 situation here.

Unlike some instructors i do not have the benefit of recommendations. I do a good job I work hard and provide a decent service, but I do not generate the recomms I here some people mention after a couple of years in the business.

Im sure its possible, but just making you aware it may not happen just because your a fantastic instructor there are many factors involved. One here of course is the learning age is alot later than other parts of the country.

Most new instructors I see now have a website....Some do it well other dont do such a good job.

The most important thing is to get it seen.


Approved Driving Instructor ADI(car)
Cardington Grade (A) Diamond Special DIA MSA IAM ROSPA (Silver)
QEF Mobility Qualified
Taxi Driver Training DATT
BTEC Qualified Assessor
www.targettuition.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/TargetTuition

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#9 28-05-08 20:37:18

paulcook
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Thanks for that response, I'm learing so much and today is only my first day of putting posts on this forum!

A website sounds essential, so where does one go to get a website that comes high in the rankings?  Is it a case of getting what you pay for?  What I mean is, are some web designers more talented than others in creating websites that get higher up the list when googled? 


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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#10 28-05-08 21:57:15

kevdyas
Verified Member
From: Grimsby, England
Registered: 01-05-04
Posts: 240
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

TargetAdi wrote:

...This morning someone thought I was the DSA HQ. :?


  roll  smile  Trying to tell us something Target?  neutral

Funny you mention that, since starting I have had someone wanting the Grimsby Test Centre, someone wanting to book their theory test and someone left me a message to book their bike test - I don't even do bikes!   roll  roll

Kev.


DSA Approved Driving Instructor (Car)
Drive iQ Pro Coach
IAM Senior Observer/DIAmond Advanced Motorist/RoSPA - Gold
www.wheelsbydrivingschool.com

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#11 28-05-08 22:10:50

BigMac
Verified Member
From: North East
Registered: 01-08-06
Posts: 33
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

i have also been thinking about this issue. I have decided to divert my mobile to my sister (at home looking after kids) to sell my services and i will pay her on results. I have gave my sister full information on what i will be offering and her incentives to sell the best service. She thinks it will be a challenge but better than a answer phone message. I have just passed this week so not started this until now so i will update you on how it works out. If you never try you will never know
i would like to know what other adi use as an alternative


Driving Lessons in Co Durham
http://www.ldcbishopauckland.co.uk

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#12 28-05-08 22:50:08

keith-adi
Verified Member
From: wirral
Registered: 19-07-06
Posts: 830
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

try
webserve4u.com
lee will understand your concerns and interests - there are many more. you get what you pay for


We can all drive! some of us don't know it yet!     Smart Start School of Motoring
lessons available Wirral wide.

http://www.smartstart-wirral.com

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#13 29-05-08 07:25:50

Target
Verified Member
From: Winchmore Hill North London
Registered: 17-01-05
Posts: 5,695
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Anythings worth a try....I recall in one freak week my wife was off work. I left her details of my diary and enquiries booking forms etc.

I came home early afternoon and she was rushed off her feet. It was nice to see her realising how much work goes into putting just one lesson on the road, thats without all the other little bits going on. I even left her my mobile for the day so she took landline and mobile calls. However, this was just one really busy time its not been like that for a long time.

You could try some of these> http://www.drivinginstructorservices.com/ http://www.drivingschooloffice.co.uk/ Theses plenty out there if your looking, but I found the costs to be too high for in independent. There was one member on here running a similiar system but not sure if it took off or not.

Websites are a big topic one I cannot go into in the time I have available. But again do some searching on the web and start reading.

You basically need a domain name and host. You need a package to build the website or program to develope it. Search engine optimisim is probably the easy bit, I do not know why web designers do not do it, it seems pointless building a site that no one can see, but they make poor errors which are just not justified, as thou they want the site to fail.

Good luck!


Approved Driving Instructor ADI(car)
Cardington Grade (A) Diamond Special DIA MSA IAM ROSPA (Silver)
QEF Mobility Qualified
Taxi Driver Training DATT
BTEC Qualified Assessor
www.targettuition.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/TargetTuition

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#14 29-05-08 07:50:12

Pilgrim
Verified Member
From: Boston Lincolnshire
Registered: 27-02-04
Posts: 586
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Hi All

As an independent I can not afford to have my phone answered. but I find by using a mobile only leaving my phone on silent during the day I can call back between lessons. This is enough to keep me busy with lessons booked into July with 32 plus hours a week & 2 pupils waiting to start.

As for websites yes that does bring in at least 30% of my trade but the most is still personal recommendation. Website optermisation is my pet hate the so called professionals will design a a special website but for it to be found that takes some special work. I feel happy I am a Grade 2 google rank.

Tony


Offering You the Freedom of Drivng in Boston
www.bostondrivingschool.co.uk
www.12drive.co.uk

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#15 29-05-08 12:08:01

Loopy Lou
Verified Member
From: Berkshire
Registered: 03-11-07
Posts: 554

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Website optimisation or to give it it's proper title "Search Engine Optimisation" or SEO for short, (to the level that an indi or small driving school requires) is much easier than people think it is.

There's a big mystique surrounding the subject perpetuated by website designers who want to sell you their "expertise".

I taught myself SEO very successfully by researching it...the thing you must realise though with SEO, is that it's a BIG subject and may be baffling to the non-technically minded and it will take time to get clued up and still more time to implement what you learn successfully.

...but what others have said is perfectly true; a website, no matter how beautifully designed, is useless for the purpose it was intended (i.e generating pupils) unless people can find it using a search engine, so good SEO is essential...

smile


It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful...

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#16 29-05-08 12:13:51

paulcook
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

This is all excellent reading!  I'll take your advice, do my research, and make sure I don't get sidetracked with glitzy websites that no-one can find!


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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#17 29-05-08 13:14:20

Pilgrim
Verified Member
From: Boston Lincolnshire
Registered: 27-02-04
Posts: 586
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

hi

to develop yout SEO try visiting http://www.driving-schools-directory.co.uk this website explains what to do in simple steps.

See I can answer the web as well as phone on the run. Thanks to a Smart phone MDA v Rio to be presise for the other Geeks smile

Tony


Offering You the Freedom of Drivng in Boston
www.bostondrivingschool.co.uk
www.12drive.co.uk

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#18 30-05-08 00:25:29

golfball13
Verified Member
From: Chelmsford, Brentwood, Essex
Registered: 22-08-07
Posts: 244
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

SEO really isn't too bad once you get into it. Set aside a bit of time to read as much stuff on the net as possible, it took me a few months of on/off reading to understand it, and sort out the website. Now I enjoy the phone calls from all the companys saying if I advertise with them I will be in the top 5 on Google, while most of the time I'm in there already.

The cost? maybe £10 a year (domain, and really cheap hosting), that's cost effective advertising  smile

Look up Web CEO, a free program that helps you on the way

Rob


RPL Driving
Driving lessons in Chelmsford, Brentwood, Billericay and other areas of Essex

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#19 30-05-08 16:16:02

Dundeeguy
Verified Member
From: Dundee
Registered: 02-06-05
Posts: 135

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Hi

Try using microsoft for your webiste. Hosting doesn't cost a penny and you get your domain name free for a couple of years. After that it only costs about £10.95. Its simple to use. I've just passed part 3 and am busy buliding a website.

To get your site going, head over to here http://smallbusiness.officelive.com/ or for an idea of what your site could look like here's a link to one of the forum members sites http://llthomas21.co.uk/default.aspx

HTH

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#20 30-05-08 16:53:03

driverpete
Verified Member
From: Nottingham
Registered: 06-02-06
Posts: 457

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Remember if you are producing your own website, or even just the text for someone else to incorporate into a website for you, that it can be spoilt by poor grammar and spelling so be meticulous in this area. Discerning potential pupils will be easily put off if the site isn't spot on.


RoSPA Gold
Retired RoSPA Approved Tutor
Retired NDAC & NDAS trainer
Retired ADI

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#21 30-05-08 18:19:48

Pilgrim
Verified Member
From: Boston Lincolnshire
Registered: 27-02-04
Posts: 586
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Hi Pete
I no what you mean smile.

However Suffering from LexDysia has its draw backs even using spell check. However I find when I explain my problem it attracts rather than repels prospective students.

Tony


Offering You the Freedom of Drivng in Boston
www.bostondrivingschool.co.uk
www.12drive.co.uk

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#22 01-06-08 16:15:00

paulcook
Verified Member
From: Edinburgh
Registered: 13-05-08
Posts: 130
Website

Re: Answering your phone to New Business

Excellent stuff folks.  Just want to say thanks for this info and various links to websites.  Now got them saved as favourites!


Paul Cook, ADI, Grade 5, DIAmond Special Test

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