Is telemarketing a good idea? Of course it is. Take a look around at the world of sales today. More and more companies are using Call centers as a way to reach their customers. It just makes sense. More customers can be contacted more often, more efficiently and more effectively over the telephone than they ever could be with traditional face to face selling. The key is to ensure your Call center selling is effective and efficient.
Is there a difference between selling face-to-face and selling over the telephone? The answer is yes and no. On the one hand, a sale is a sale is a sale. Whether selling door-to-door, in a retail environment, in big business or over the telephone, there are certain selling fundamentals that are to be found in every sales interaction. There are, however, elements to tele-sales that make it entirely unique, and it is on these areas that one must concentrate to ensure that your sales approach remains effective and efficient.
The two fundamental ingredients to effectiveness in telephone sales are scripting and tone. Simply put, it comes down to what you say and how you say it. Efficiency in Call center selling is best maintained through good call control techniques and the use of a standard call structure.
The Importance of Tone
"It's not only what you say, it's how you say it." This statement may seem a little overused, and perhaps somewhat trite; but, in the case of selling, or any communication over the telephone, it is extremely valid. It won't matter one iota if Ernest Hemingway or Zig Ziglar developed a script for you, if your sales agent sounds about as interesting as listening to someone reciting a user's manual.
It is suggested that the likelihood of success in a tele-sales call is 87% based on tone of voice. In face-to-face selling you have the advantage of body language -you observing the customer's and the customer observing yours - and you can use visuals to enhance your sales presentation. When selling over the telephone, the agent's body language must be made evident through his/her tone, and the only visual aids are the pictures the sales agent paints in the mind of the customer. Even those sales agents with a lesser degree of product knowledge will have success in capturing the customer's imagination when speaking with an enthusiastic tone of voice.
Picture yourself as a customer. Imagine you're in a retail store and there are two sales people working. They each have identical skills, knowledge and abilities, and are selling exactly the same products. The only thing that differentiates them is that one is just a little bit more enthusiastic about their job, themselves, their product and you, the customer. Which one are you more likely to buy from? The one with some enthusiasm, right? It's the same thing over the phone. Customers are people, and in addition to getting their questions answered and their problems resolved, they simply want to be dealt with honestly and respectfully, by someone who cares about them. This caring is best exhibited with an enthusiastic tone of voice.
How much enthusiasm is right? That depends on the customer. The best sales agents will quickly judge the rate of speed and enthusiasm of their customer and mirror that to some extent. Our suggestion is to be about "an inch" more enthusiastic than the customer, constantly bringing them up to your level of enthusiasm.
How this enthusiasm is ensured is a subject for another article, but suffice it to say that creating an open and enthusiastic environment using the best Employee Performance Management techniques is a good start. Learning organizations understand the importance of creating a positive customer-focused culture in which every member of their team "walk the talk" and lead by example in everything that they do every day.
The Call Objective
An enthusiastic tone of voice is of course only the first step. Another must for ensuring the tele-sales call is effective is to have well defined call objectives, and to make sure that your agents, supervisors, coaches, auditors, etc, know what those objectives are. The call objectives are derived from, and are dependent upon the goals of the campaign, so it is vital to first have a clear understanding of the purpose of the call campaign. What is the purpose of your current campaign? Have you written it down? What is your number one call objective? What's number two?
Here are some examples of call objectives for a typical sales campaign:
Call objectives are equally as important on inbound campaigns as they are for outbound. All too often, inbound Telephone Service Representative mistakenly believe that their sole responsibility is to answer customer questions. I have listened to too many calls where the customer has had to virtually beg to purchase a company's product or service because the TSR had no real understanding that one of the objectives of the inbound "customer service" call was to make a sale.
If your call center seems to have an overabundance of agents just going through the motions, or burning through leads but not converting them into sales (we call them Carl or Cathy Collectacheck), perhaps it is in part due to a lack of understanding of their purpose. People need to understand their role and responsibilities. Agents certainly need to have sales goals and targets, but they must first know the basic objective for each individual customer contact.
Call Center Training and Performance Consultant
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