Learning how to sell over the phone is essential if you want your staff to close more sales over the phone. Your staff can’t be expected to handle a call effectively without understanding the importance of each of part in the buying process on the phone.
Training your staff to close a sale over the phone and leave a positive lasting impression and increase the likelihood of return business can increase your sales and decrease your cost per sale which gives you an increase in profits.
1. Setting the standard
This is the opening part of the call. An effective call opening should be friendly and up-beat. It should be professional. This element of the call has several objectives:
- Reassure the customer that they have reached the company they wanted to call
- Introduce the call handler
- Set the conversational tone
By greeting the caller and stating the company name, and if applicable the department as well, you are reassuring your customer that they have contacted the right place. Next is where the rapport building starts. This is essential in information gathering and needs matching sections of the call. Setting the conversational tone is also extremely important for the needs identification, information gathering and product matching stages to be effective.
2. Building rapport
This helps you to understand your caller’s needs and encourages the caller to open up to you about any reservations, giving you a chance to handle them effectively.
3. Identifying the customer’s needs
By asking open questions you can get a better understanding of your customer’s needs. Don’t just take the minimum information that the caller offers you -ask about them. They are most likely to be flattered and to find their conversation with you more interesting. Questions such as ‘What is the reason for booking?’ and ‘how important is the specific date of the booking?’ allow the caller to give an answer that isn’t a yes/no answer. Yes/no answers can often stop a conversation in its tracks. A great way to get your staff used to this approach of questioning is to role play and group games where each person has to ask an open question pertaining to the last.
4. Logging the information for future use
This doesn’t have to form part of the phone call itself – but make sure that there is a system and process, either whilst on the call through call recording or note-taking, or after the call. A warning to the wise though, note taking after the call is more likely to lead to more missing and incomplete information and lost details.
5. Fulfilling the customer’s needs
Once you have identified the caller’s needs you need to meet them by matching them to your best solution be it advice, a service or product. Your caller’s needs may not be to buy a product or service, it may be to have an issue resolved (in which case, don’t discount the importance of the call). Happy customers are more likely to be repeat customers and repeat customers tell their friends…usually about 6 according to research and they are a lot cheaper than finding new customers.
6. Identifying and overcoming objections
Test your closing by asking test questions such as ‘How does that sound to you?’ or ‘would that help [insert caller’s needs here]?’. These will help to flush out any early reservations and deal with them. Maybe a different product or service would be better, or maybe the resolution you are recommending is inappropriate for some reason. If success if not achieved at this stage go back to either identifying the customer’s need or fulfilling the customer’s needs.
7. Closing the call
This is the final part of the call where you close the business. Bear in mind there is no point moving to this stage unless you have achieved a positive response from identifying and overcoming objections. Once you have been through this process you will understand how these key telephone call handling elements work together to optimise your chance of receiving a positive outcome from phone calls with your customers.
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