The majority of call centres focus on complaint handling, empathy and seeing things from a “customer service” angle. However, the best call centres always focus on selling products, even if their remit is to offer service.
In this article, we’ll explore what these companies do differently and how you can boost your sales capabilities:
1. Spend one more day on sales training
The easiest way to make agents “think sales”, is to increase the amount of sales training given during the induction process. Many companies only allocate a small portion of their induction training to sales skills. By improving this, you’ll be creating an atmosphere where agents are expected to be good sellers, not just service agents.
2. Hire more sales focused staff overall
By hiring more sales focused staff, you’ll benefit from all members of your service team being capable of selling where appropriate. Sales focused staff are almost always great at offering service; however, traditional customer service staff often hate having to sell a product.
3. Improve the recruitment process
Make sure that your recruiters, both internal and external are aware that you require both customer service and great sales technique. Some recruiters still differentiate between sales and customer service, partly because it’s easy to “scare off” potential candidates by mentioning the word “telesales”. By ensuring that your recruiters understand exactly what you require, they’ll be able to get you the correct candidate.
4. Patience is a virtue
It takes an amount of time to completely switch a call centre from fully service to sales orientated. Easy wins will happen quite early on; however, don’t panic if it takes a little time for your changes to bed in.
5. Always test new ideas and campaigns
When testing new sales campaigns, always use a large group of agents as your test bed. It’s always a good idea to create a dedicated testing team for these campaigns too, helping you to quickly establish what’s working and what’s not.
6. Sales transfers
If you do incorporate a transfer process for new sales leads, do ensure that you’ve enough agents to take the calls on the other end. There’s nothing worse than a client agreeing to take a new product, before being asked to hold for a few minutes before purchasing it.
7. Rank hot transfers higher than call backs
An immediate transfer to a sales agent will always convert higher than a call-back. For this reason, it’s always better to weight transfer higher than call-backs.
8. Determine up-front the level of qualification required
This will reduce the potential for animosity between sales and customer service staff over the quality of staff being transferred.
9. Include managers and team leaders in sales training
Include team leaders in agent training sessions, as well as providing separate training for team leaders. This makes it easier for them to reinforce learning as they have witnessed reactions to training of new techniques and can formulate the best ways to deal with these reactions in their normal working environment.
11. Communicate well
Not all agents will be pleased to be included in “sales training”. That’s why it’s important to always communicate why changes are being made and how they’ll improve things moving forward. By doing this, you can bring on board your agents and make them feel more enthusiastic about any training.