Rilla Reports

Whitepapers on how to drive revenue growth — backed by over 1,000,000 conversations analyzed by AI

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The Secret to 4X’ing Your Sales? Trust the Process

Script compliance is a key factor leading to a higher close rate and average sale
7
min read
July 23, 2024

As an operator or owner, you’re always looking to identify what to work on that will grow the business the most.

What if the answer to supercharging your sales was in front of you the whole time?

In today’s report, we analyzed 38,470 appointments by Nexstar contractors that use Rilla in the Home Services industry. We wanted to find out why some Nexstar jobs closed at a much higher ticket size than others. 

Here’s what we discovered: It all comes down to script compliance.

You’re probably used to trying to get your team to follow your process, only to get gripes and push back.

“Does this really work?”

“I’ve been selling fine for 10 years without a process, I don’t need to follow this”

“Following this is going to make me robotic, there’s no way I’m going to connect with a home-owner like this”

Thankfully, the data is in.

The data shows script compliance is the leading factor contributing to a higher close rate and average sale. If you want to quadruple your ticket size, your team must adhere to the process.

The best part about this growth hack? You already have all the leads and appointments set, you just need to execute to stop leaving revenue on the table.

But, as always, don’t just take our word for it: Let’s dive into the numbers. 

The Data on Nexstar Script Compliance 

At Rilla, we’ve seen a common pattern for companies across the board: technicians and comfort advisors with higher script compliance tend to have higher performance. 

For this report, we discovered that higher compliance with the Nexstar process is correlated with higher close rates and average sales.

We looked at jobs from 46 Nexstar companies from the last month where the technician was measured against the Nexstar service system on Rilla. Overall, Nexstar contractors have an average close rate of 39% and an average ticket size of $2,812. 

Nexstar Close Rates 

Conversations with the highest script compliance with the Nexstar process had a 53% higher close rate on average than those with the lowest compliance. When Nexstar contractors only stuck with 0-10% of the script, their close rate average was around 32%. While those who stuck to 90-100% of the script had an average close rate of 49%.  

Nexstar Ticket Size 

When it comes to ticket size, conversations with the highest script compliance had a $7,225 higher price on average than those with the lowest compliance. Nexstar contracts with 0-10% compliance had an average ticket size of $1,367. While those with 90-100% script compliance had an average ticket size of $8,592!  

 

Here’s the bottom line: Higher script compliance is key to increasing your close rate and ticket size.

The Challenges of Coaching Your Team to Follow the Script

Roleplaying and practicing the script with your reps will help them get comfortable with your sales process. But to really ensure that your team is following the script with customers, you need to be there. Ridealongs are the only way to know for sure what’s going on in the customer’s home. 

Plus, if you're doing physical ridealongs right now, you already know that the close rate of your team members is dramatically higher. Why? Because when you’re with them in person, they actually follow the script.

The ridealong's visibility and accountability make it one of the highest revenue-generating activities a business can conduct.

But how does that scale when you have a team of 10 or 20 that runs hundreds of leads a week? At that rate, physical ridealongs for every job are just not possible. At best, doing 10 ridealongs a week, you’re seeing less than 10% of the total leads that your team runs.

That’s where Rilla’s virtual ridealong software comes in. 

Start Tracking Script Compliance with Rilla 

Rilla enables companies to measure everything that happens during sales conversations at scale. Our mobile app records conversations between contractors and customers. Then, our AI transcribes and analyzes the audio, comparing it to your pre-loaded script and sales process to give it a final compliance score. 

Rilla’s scoring system holds your team accountable for sticking to the script. Plus, it gives you a tool for training and improving performance. 

Here’s how it works: 

  1. Rilla assigns each conversation a script compliance score.
  2. Managers and reps review and analyze the recordings, paying special attention to the lower-scoring conversations.  
  3. Managers can create libraries of top-scoring audio recordings. 
  4. Reps can then review and learn from those recordings.  
  5. With all this data, reps and managers can make a plan for how to improve script compliance performance.

With a tool like Rilla, you no longer have to rely on physical ridealongs to monitor script compliance. Plus, Rilla tracks many more metrics that are key to increasing your sales, like talk ratio and longest customer story. With more data, you’ll have more information to drive your sales training and strategies. 

Start harnessing the power of data to boost your business with Rilla. Reach out to get started with a demo today! 

Is it Legal to Record Conversations with Customers in the Home?

Coach your team on how to properly get homeowner consent to record conversations in the home.
7
min read
June 5, 2024

You’re a home improvement contractor who wants to track and improve your sales rep performance. 

Luckily for your business, physical ridealongs are no longer the only way to measure and evaluate performance. Now, you have the option to record their conversations with customers and ensure they’re following your process and, ultimately, providing the best customer experience. 

Maybe you’re even thinking about getting started with Rilla and hopping on the virtual ridealong bandwagon.   

But there’s one question that inevitably comes up: “Is it legal to record conversations with homeowners in their home?”

The answer is yes. As long as you do it properly. 

One-Party vs All-Party Consent

When it comes to audio recording laws, it’s important to know which states require “one-party consent” or “all-party consent” to be recorded. 

One-party consent means that you can record a conversation without the other person’s consent. This means it’s perfectly legal for your technicians and design consultants to record their conversations with homeowners. Just keep in mind that there are some nuances to the individual laws between states. 

In all-party consent states, sometimes referred to as two-party consent, you need the consent of all parties involved in the conversation to record it. In this case, your team must explicitly obtain consent before recording a conversation. 

Most states in the US are one-party consent states. However, for conversations that happen face-to-face, there are 13 all-party consent states. They include: 

How to Seamlessly Get Recording Consent from the Homeowner

Getting recording consent from a homeowner is similar to that of agents at a call center; there are just a few more steps in the process to cover all your bases.

1. Display a Disclaimer on Your Website 

Displaying a disclaimer on your website is one of the first places your customers can learn about this aspect of your service. Key areas to display the disclaimer on your website include the privacy policy page, the fine print of a contact page or form, or the confirmation page after requesting a quote. 

If your customers have the option to book in-person appointments directly with your reps online, add a consent box to your scheduling form. 

The text should read: “By clicking here, I understand and agree that my in-person appointment will be recorded for quality and training purposes.” 

2. Share the Disclaimer Upon Booking  

When the homeowner calls to book their appointment, members of your call center should be coached to say the disclaimer. This is an opportunity to give the customer a heads up that both the call and in-person visits are typically recorded. 

  • Don’t say: “Thank you for calling. This call will be recorded for quality and training purposes.” 
  • Say: “Thank you for calling. All of our calls and in-person appointments will be recorded for quality and training purposes."

Customers are used to hearing that phone calls are recorded, and most are fine with it. But it’s important to make sure it’s clear that it isn’t just the phone call that will be recorded. 

3. Include the Disclaimer in Dispatch Appointment Reminders  

In your automated dispatch system, make sure text message and email reminders to customers include the disclaimer. This is just another step to reassure and reconfirm that you have consent. You can also use it as an opportunity to let them know you’d be happy to share the recording after the meeting, if that’s something you want to provide your customers. 

Here are a couple examples to send in dispatch reminders: 

  • “As a reminder, all of our in-person appointments are recorded to ensure we provide our customers with the best service.” 
  • “This meeting will be recorded so we can provide better follow-up service and coaching to our team. By meeting with our technician, you consent to such recording. If you do not consent to being recorded, please ask our service rep not to record.” 

4. Have Reps Remind the Homeowner Upon Arrival 

After taking the above steps to inform the homeowner, you’re technically safe to record in the eyes of the law. But, to make sure you’re totally covered–and to win some transparency/loyalty points with the customer–have your rep repeat the disclaimer to the homeowner right after they enter the customer’s home.

Here’s what they can say: “Hey Ms. Homeowner, I’m Jake with X Company. Just to remind you, I’m on a recorded conversation for quality and training purposes. How are you doing today?” 

With Rilla, our users actually track when their reps say the recording disclaimer.

Based on our data, more than 99% of homeowners respond positively to the in-person disclaimer. In fact, we have a large, private equity customer in California, one of the most privacy-aware states in the US, and they observed that less than 0.2% of appointments declined being recorded. 

As you’ll hear below, homeowners are more than happy for you to record the meetings. This is especially true when your reps explain the value of recording for security as well as their own growth and development in the trade.  

Your reps also have the option for asking for a signature of consent. This is an extra step, which isn’t necessary to legally have you covered, but might give your reps and the customer peace of mind. 

And you might even find some like-minded customers who believe in the importance of recording too. After a funny misunderstanding, the customer in the recording below lets the rep know that he was also being recorded!  

Delighting Customers with Transparency

Many of our customers in one-party consent states still opt to inform the home-owner about the recording as a way to differentiate their brand. 

It sounds something like this: “Hey, here at [company name], we care deeply about the experience you receive from our team and making sure we stand by our word. While other shops might try to pull a fast one on you, we record and share our conversations with you to keep us accountable and deliver the best service.”

Remember, transparency around recordings is good for your business and for the customer. Think about it, with a recording, the customer knows the sales rep will be held accountable by their manager. It also keeps everyone on the same page about what was said during the visit so that there’s no confusion or misleading information.

That’s why most customers see audio recordings as a positive. Plus, increasing transparency between you and your customers helps increase trust and loyalty, leading to repeat customers and awesome referrals.

So whether you need one-party or all-party consent, the data is clear: recording your calls is beneficial for all parties involved.

If you want to learn more about Rilla and take your business to the next level, book a demo here.

How “Interactivity” and “Longest Customer Story” Impact Ticket Size

Coach your team on how to improve the two key metrics to increase time in home: interactivity and longest customer story.
7
min read
May 28, 2024
Today’s Rilla Report shares insights we gathered from 23,244 conversations from September 1st, 2023 to March 19th, 2024. Through Rilla’s platform, we analyzed conversations from sales reps in the home remodeling industry. These reps speak with customers in their homes with the goal of selling big-ticket home remodeling projects like windows, siding, retail roofing, bath remodeling, and kitchen remodeling.

RIlla Team
Data Analysis Team

Here’s the bottom line: more time in the customer’s home leads to a higher average ticket. Spending anywhere from zero to 30 minutes in the home leads to an average of $3,809 USD per ticket. Compare that to an average of $17,000 USD when a rep spends three hours or more in the home. 

If you want your reps to close larger deals, have them spend more time in their client’s home during a sales visit. 

Now that you know to aim for a longer time in the home, how do you coach your team to do so? The data shows there are two key levers to pull: “interactivity” and “longest customer story.” 

Both of these are data points you can track using Rilla.

What is Interactivity and Longest Customer Story?

Before we dive into the numbers, let’s first define these two data points so you know what you’re tracking in Rilla. 

Interactivity is the average number of speaker changes within each minute of a conversation. 

High interactivity is a sign of an engaged and interactive conversation between the rep and customer. As a result, your reps are spending more time in the customer’s home. And more time in the home means higher sales. 

Longest customer story is the term we coined to represent the longest amount of time customers spent talking to the sales rep without interruption.

A longer customer story gives the customer the time they need to express their needs and pain points. Just like interactivity, a longer customer monologue increases the time spent in home, increasing your average sales.

How Interactivity and Longest Customer Story impact Time in Home

Looking at Rilla’s data, it’s clear that when reps increased their interactivity and elicited longer customer monologues, they spent more time in the customer’s home.

Here’s a snapshot of how interactivity scores affect time in home:  

The average interactivity score is 2.25 speaker changes in each minute of conversation, which corresponds with an average time in home of almost 2 hours. 2.470 is the highest score on Rilla associated with the highest sales conversations. But a good goal for your reps is around a 2.3 score, which correlates with spending around two hours in the home. 

Our data also shows that higher interactivity tends to have a better talk ratio, with the rep speaking less than the customer. Interestingly, those with the highest interactivity also speak 2% slower than those with lower interactivity. 

You might expect faster speaking rates would lead to more interactions per minute. But fast speech can make a customer feel rushed or pressured. The data suggests it’s better to keep a slower, concise cadence.  

Here’s why aiming for high interactivity works:  

  • The customer is more engaged, leading to a higher level of trust.
  • The rep makes a more memorable and favorable impression by demonstrating their interest in hearing the customer’s perspective, not just selling to them. 
  • Reps tend to gather more information, which can help them identify additional buying signals and tailor their pitch more effectively.

Here’s a snapshot of how a longer customer story impacts time in home:  

In long conversations that lead to high average tickets, the average longest customer story is 5 mins. As you know, longer customer stories tend to generate better talk ratios, which tend to be better for sales. The longest customer story we’ve ever seen was 20 minutes, while the shortest ones are only 20 seconds long. The key is to find the sweet spot, aiming for at least an average of 5 minute monologues for your customers.  

Here’s why focusing on the longest customer story works:  

  • Customers with more time to speak feel like they have room to think without pressure.
  • Reps show customers they have their complete patience and attention.
  • Customers feel valued and respected.
  • Customers view reps as a trustworthy partner.

The data has spoken. Higher interactivity plus giving your customers the opportunity to share their story is the key to a longer sales call, and a higher ticket size.

How to Increase Interactivity and Longest Customer Story

Now, you might be thinking these two metrics are contradictory. But remember, in a sales conversation both these variables naturally happen. 

Reps typically start with high interactivity, bouncing questions and affirmations back and forth with the customer. This gets the ball rolling, builds rapport, and shows the customer interest and support. 

When the moment is right, the sales rep gives the customer space to share their needs, pain points, or concerns. This opens up the floor for a longer customer monologue.   

Both these pieces of the sales conversation are necessary to increase time in the home. 

To improve these metrics, you need to set goals, provide the right training, and use data to coach your reps. 

1. Set Your Metric Goals 

Set a goal to reach a high interactivity score and a long customer monologue. Your goals might depend on the starting points of how they’re currently performing. Or you might set the standard based on your top performers. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some target goals to aim for: 

  • For interactivity: A score of 2.3 or higher. 
  • For longest customer story: At least 5 minutes or longer.

As soon as you start recording calls with Rilla, our platform will track and provide you with this data.

2. Provide Tailored Training and Guidance  

We know you’ve already got your sales training dialed in. But here’s a few more specific tips on how to coach your teams on increasing interactivity and longest customer story: 

  • Conduct roleplaying exercises: Though roleplaying, reps learn how to identify whether it’s a moment for more interactivity or time to give space for customers to speak without interruption. 
  • Use Rilla to learn from others: Build a library made up of Rilla clips with high interactivity scores and long customer stories so reps can listen and learn. 
  • Provide scripts: Reps should know what types of phrases and clarifying and thoughtful questions spark interactivity and a longer customer monologue (Examples: "Tell me more", "walk me through", "help me understand."). 
  • Use Rilla trackers: Add trackers, which are scripted steps in your sales process that you can measure and track in Rilla. 
  • Build rapport early: Reps should reference prior exchanges later in the conversation to keep interactivity high.
  • Use verbal active listening for interactivity: Reps should reply with affirmative words like 'yup' or 'got you' to both validate the customer and directly influence the interactivity stat. 
  • Use nonverbal active listening for longest customer story: Reps should use nonverbal cues like nodding, smiling, indicating agreement, and using silence and hand gestures to encourage more. 

3. Use the Data to Improve Interactivity Performance

After sales calls, listen to the call on Rilla and review the interactivity and longest customer story scores. Discuss what was done well, and what can be improved to get  higher scores. This feedback and learning process loop can help field sales reps improve. 

Here are some common mistakes reps make:   

  • Interject instead of staying silent and waiting a bit longer for the customer to think through and continue speaking. 
  • Miss opportunities to encourage and elicit more details from the customer. 
  • Lack enough follow up questions that help build rapport. 
  • Move too fast to get to the sales pitch. 
  • Mishandle objections by rambling rather than answering the question that the home-owner asked. 
  • Try to predict the customer’s next question rather than being patient and letting them ask it themselves.

Increase Time in Home, Increase Average Ticket

We probably sound like a broken record, but the data speaks for itself, and we speak on behalf of the data. More time in home increases the average ticket size. And the leading indicators to coach on for time in the home are interactivity and longest customer story.  

Remember, if you want to earn more time in the home (and increase those sales) it’s simple: keep up the interactivity, and when it’s right, invite them to tell you their story. Then show them how your business fits into it. 

With these coaching tools and Rilla along for the ride, you can track performance and train your reps so they hit their targets. If you want to learn more about how our customers increase their average ticket price with Rilla, check out our customer stories.

Does Time in Home Matter? Closers Spend 2 Hours on Average

The data shows a strong correlation between more time in home and closed sales
7
min read
May 2, 2024

To better understand how the length of home visits relates to sales success, the Rilla team analyzed 62,685 conversations between September 1, 2023, and March 19, 2024.

The data showed a strong correlation between more time in the home and closed sales, with successful sales reps going well past the average home visit length of unsuccessful reps.

These professionals in the home remodeling industry were tasked with helping homeowners with big-ticket projects, such as replacing siding, windows, or roofing and doing complete bath or kitchen remodels.

So, at what point does the typical sales call turn into success? We share the breakdown here.

The Average Sales Call Is Not Enough

The first thing we can see from the data is that an average sales call for reps without a sale is 1 hour and 24 minutes.

Of the conversations we studied, 41,911 fell into this “not sold” bucket. It was the larger bucket in our study, with most sales reps not making sales at this average in-home visit length.

But when the average visit length was extended to 2 hours and 1 minute — just 30% longer — real change began to happen. This is the average visit length for the "sold" bucket — reps who were able to close a sale while inside the customer's home.

What It Takes to Stay in the Home

Home service sales are largely consultative, and conversations with the customer can be the difference maker. But it's not just what your reps say that results in a close; it's how they say it. Factors that turn a “no sale” into a “sale” include:

  • Taking more time to listen to the customer
  • Tailoring the message to the problems at hand
  • Following the proven sales process provided by their trainers

By doing these things, sales reps appear more authentic, earn trust, and naturally extend the length of their sales calls.

Consider that the difference between the “sold” and “not sold” averages is just 37 minutes. For most reps, this is not a big deal. It may be the time it takes to thoroughly tour the home, ask additional questions, and — most of all — listen to what the homeowner is saying.

More Industries Can Benefit

Our research is clear: Longer visits matter for those selling windows or updating an outdated roof. They also matter for other service industry experts, such as HVAC teams and comfort advisors, who spend the majority of their customer service time inside a home.

If an industry does the bulk of its sales within the walls of a customer's home or garage, it's likely to benefit from longer sales calls.

Increase Home Visits the Right Way

Sales trainers and managers already know the tell-tale signs of a successful sales call, including longer customer talk time. It may mean following a specific sales process for different problems or even knowing the right upsells to make without coming across as unsympathetic.

These are nuanced situations, but there’s a right way to sell. A manager ride-along can often spot these opportunities and provide real-time feedback, helping to convert these "no sale" buckets to high-ticket sales.

Most companies don't have the time or resources for frequent ride-alongs, especially after initial onboarding. If there is time for one, it's likely focused on newer reps. More established reps who could use additional mentoring are left out of potential upskilling.

Rilla solves this problem by recording your reps’ sales calls and analyzing them according to your unique sales process. It helps you find missed opportunities in sales calls to focus on for future training. It's scalable for teams of all sizes and offers a more consistent and affordable experience than ride-alongs.

For example, it helps measure talk time, a top missed opportunity in a shortened sales call.

Is the customer getting a chance to be heard? Is the rep doing all the talking?

By adjusting this single metric, calls can be extended, and customers can feel a part of the process. (This is just one opportunity to discover.)

Ready to extend home visit time and turn those missed sales into wins? Read other customer stories on how to make your reps the best in the industry.

How to Sell $20k Jobs - Spend 3 Hours in the Home

More time in home leads to higher sale average per appointment for in-person sales
7
min read
April 5, 2024
In research conducted from September 1st, 2023, to March 19th, 2024, we analyzed 23,244 conversations from sales reps in the home remodeling industry. These professionals were responsible for selling big-ticket home remodeling projects, such as windows, retail roofing, and kitchen and bath remodeling. 

RIlla Team
Data Analysis Team

What we discovered was a trend between visit length and sales success, often leading to very big average tickets of $20,000 or more for those who spent more time in the home.

Professionals in the home services industry have a responsibility to their customers: solve the toughest problems in the places they live and work. But these same home services professionals also have to keep sales numbers up — something that may seem at odds with providing truly personalized service.

Fortunately, the data shows that not only is it possible to both serve customers well and boost sales figures, but it should be expected. 

Data Favors Longer Home Visits

Let's break down the numbers to learn more. Here's how large the average sale was for professionals selling high-value home products and services:

  • Those spending 30 minutes or less sold $3,809, on average
  • Spending 3 hours in the home yielded a $17,000 average ticket

The difference is incredible, and yet it isn't always second nature for reps to stay so long on each visit. Their training may have taught them how to conduct detailed and comprehensive visits, but reps may struggle to put it into practice. They may feel that they don't have enough to say or that the customer cuts the sales process short.

However, reps who follow the approved sales process closely — taking time to do discovery and truly understand the unique pain points of every customer — come out far ahead of their colleagues.

The data supports this idea. Here's a graph that shows the various times spent in the home and the resulting sales numbers.

Median Price by Conversation Duration

The Problem with Shorter Visits

When reps have shorter home visits, they are under pressure to get the sale quickly. Price may be one of the best things they have to offer. Unfortunately, this leads reps to discount services so they can finish a deal. They may think it's better to make a sale (any sale) than walk away with nothing at all.

This strategy cuts into their bottom line and gives customers the perception they are dealing with a "budget" company. It displaces the chance to focus on the overall value and expertise the rep can provide. It also sets a bad precedent for future sales since the customer will now expect a price slash with every interaction.

By spending more time in the home, reps have the opportunity to be diligent with their inspection, ask the right questions, and present solutions that customers will be happy to buy at full price. Visits of around 3 hours give the products and services a chance to shine. Offerings stand on their own merit because the customer understands why they are important and what they are getting for the price.

Giving Customers the Upsell They Want

There's another aspect to those $20,000 sales tickets found in longer home visits: upsells.

Reps can conduct thorough inspections and listen to all of a customer's concerns. Not only do they gain the customer's trust during this time, but they can hear what the customer is truly saying. Yes, they may have called in a professional to replace a roof, but what they are really saying is that they couldn't wait for the roof to finally wear out because they didn't like the look or quality of materials in the first place.

The longer home inspection may bring about the chance to not just solve a customer's problem but delight them with a new standard of living through a complete room renovation. Through more thorough conversations, sales reps get to hear the truth of the matter, which often involves much more than what the customer initially called about.

This is when upselling can happen organically and with the full support of the customer.

Taking the Truth to Every Industry

At the end of the conversations with 23,244 professionals, we heard a lot about how the home remodeling industry looked at customer visits. We examined the insights and knew that there was more to it than just one industry. In fact, with any type of home visit sales scenario, there's the potential to spend more time on a call and get to the heart of the problem with a higher-valued customer solution.

This same strategy would work for HVAC replacement comfort advisors with a similar sales process. (That’s just one specific use case.)

How to Make Long (and Profitable) Home Visits 

While we now have some pretty convincing data that shows longer visits are better, time spent in the home may not be enough to improve sales calls alone. Most reps don’t stick to the sales process or carry it out because they don’t get the benefit of ride-alongs, which can point out deficiencies in their delivery or process compliance. It’s not practical to offer more than a now-and-again ridealong, however effective they may be. 

Since ride-alongs are costly, both in time and human resources, businesses are considering another way. Rilla, our virtual ride-along software, brings the sales training to the rep and coaches on an unlimited scale. It highlights the ways reps can extend sales calls and coaches them with natural upsells that boost those sales numbers to their highest limits. Read other customer stories to see how it’s worked for them.

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