An organization that desires to maintain consistent successful sales has to invest in call center sales training, there are no two ways about it. The two basic components for a proper call center are the infrastructure and the workforce.
Recent years have witnessed a boom in the development and subsequent improvement of call center systems, so as an organization, you’re spoilt for choice in terms of infrastructure. You just need to establish your needs and with this information, you’ll be able to source from a wide variety of vendors who are guaranteed to exceed your expectations in some instances.
The workforce is a little more complicated than infrastructure set up. Firstly, you have to ensure that there are mechanisms in place that have been established to recruit the right caliber of persons within your call center.
Afterwards, depending on the nature of calls that the agents will be making, the two major classification of calls are outbound and inbound calls, you have to conduct extensive training that will ensure that all the agents available are well versed with information that is needed to fulfill customers needs. An agent’s job is quite taxing, especially if they are sales types of calls.
Getting an agent to achieve a meticulous level of engaging with a customer to the extent of seamlessly closing in on sales, is a labor of love. There has to be deliberate efforts put in place that ensure that proper call center sales training targeted at problem areas and customer pain points are organized and carried out effectively. These sessions have to be periodical and consistent to allow the agent to really internalize the subject matter.
In this article, we delve into the two major areas that call center sales training should focus on to establish a verified path to achieving successful sales.
The training highlighted here is intended to convert a struggling call center sales agent to a top performer by helping them overcome their fears through a systematic approach. The content adequately covers all the bases that are essential for optimal performance. It covers customer-centric selling and even goes as far as dissecting a sales call and breaking it down for an agent to understand the step-by-step procedure to be followed to end up a winner.
Learning Customer Centric Selling
The intention of this first part of the training is to humanize selling. An agent is empowered to be responsive and adaptive to ensure that the customer feels best understood which in turn translates to conversions for the organization. Under this component, the goal is to achieve a call center sales agent that is able to;
- Quickly identify an opportunity to sell within their settings.
- Recognize the opportune time to make an upsell or a cross sell to a customer.
- Tap into the newly gained confidence and use it to make additional offers as and when they see necessary.
- Put themselves in the shoes of the customer and relate with them on a personal level to gain a better understanding of their situation.
- Recognize the power of using the right words and always knows when to throw in the closer.
This training in essence covers
Classification and Understanding of Different Telephone Sales
It is important to recognize that there are two broad categories of sales calls. There are cold sales calls, where there has not been any prior engagement with the customer, and there are scheduled sales calls, a planned call. For each category, a sales agent needs to employ a different set of skills.
Recognition that there is a difference is the first step. The follow up step is creation of scenarios for the agents where they find themselves in such situations, acting out and identifying the best approaches to take if in a similar position. This reinforces the learning for the agent as they are able to easily remember that which they partook in.
Developing a Winning Sales Mindset
Just like it’s said in war, in sales, the battles are already won in the mind. Sales is about convincing, here the aim is to find out how to maintain a mindset that keeps the sales agents focused, persistent, and driven to open doors in the face of inevitable set-backs, challenges, and rejection. It can be grueling and tough and that’s when the agent needs to push forward with more enthusiasm.
Here the three mindset ingredients of attitude, ownership and effort are identified. The pertinent beliefs that accompany the achievement of the mindset ingredients should be reiterated to cement the unshakeable belief that the agents are being taught to attain.
Becoming Sales Fluent
You could have the right attitude and understanding of the situation but without skills, all that is just a façade. Mastery of sales skills allows enhancement of performance once it is coupled with all the other acquired qualities. Some of the top-rated skills which are an absolute must have within the sales functionality have been identified as
Strategic Prospecting, active listening, empathy, relationship building, effective communication, negotiation skills, project Management and time management.
In this regard, it is important that a competency model that clearly outlines the level of skills of agents is applied so as to allow agents to identify critical skills that are missing.
A proper competency model usually classifies skills at three different levels of proficiency
- Entry Level – at this level the agent has a solid understanding of the target skills but requires additional training to be able to perform as fully expected.
- Intermediate Level – here, the sales agent understands the skills, leverages the skills to enhance their performance and is performing as expected.
- Expert Level – A seller has fully mastery of the skills.
With this program, it becomes easy to achieve sales fluency.
Defining Customer Centricity
Empathy which is a top-rated skill for sales people is the core to achieving customer focused selling. In this regard, the agent learns how to place the customer’s convenience, challenges, and goals at the forefront of each selling encounter.
The agent is taken through a six-step process that will always ensure that they always get it right. It includes;
- A clear definition of when the buying process begins
- Well defined steps to be followed when making a recommendation to a customer.
- Another set of well-defined steps that help the agent confirm the customers requirements and that they are on the same page.
- A checklist communicated from the agent to the buyer that seeks to inspire confidence in the customer that their needs have been understood and the offerings are intended to help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.
- A feedback loop to incorporate client issues and unprecedented changes and to communicate any rising adjustment issues.
Prioritizing Process Documentation
A guide that clearly outlines the product offerings and highlights the reasons as to why they are premium is an essential document. It is highly unlikely that an agent will be able to store all the information that they require within the confines of their brain without the need to refer to a document from time to time. A prepared agent is a good performing agent.
Analyzing a Sales Call
The second part of the training seeks to tie all the stuff that has been learnt by the agent into becoming customer focused by enabling them to figure out which point of the call is it okay to go in for the kill. This part serves its purpose when it is able to produce an agent that exhibits the following qualities;
- Lead the conversation from the start and establish a rapport with the customer
- Use of emotional intelligence through appropriate questioning and listening skills so as to get to the problem area for the customer.
- Highly specialized presentation skills of the product offerings that appeal to the customers.
- Charisma that brings about a sense of commitment from the customers leading to more sales being closed
Essentially, there are four distinct stages to a sales call, and each one of them requires the application of a different skill set.
The fundamental skill that is learnt at this stage is effective call opening. How does it look like, it follows the following steps;
- Exhibit warmness coupled with professionalism
- Don’t jump right into business. Ask something fascinating that will pique their interest.
- Once you’ve got them speaking, butter them to be in a receptive mind frame as you ready them for the next stage of your call.
Once these steps are followed effectively, they will grant you entry to plant the seeds that you desire.
Needs Assessment Analysis
This stage is where the real heavy lifting happens. The agent has to ensure that they engage the customer and are able to probe effectively so as to effectively figure out the problem area, which they will then attempt to solve afterwards. Here, listening skills, empathy and relationship building should be applied.
The product might have mind blowing features, but the agent needs to present it in a way that addresses the needs of the customer. Here, the goal is to relate the features to the benefits that will be experienced once the customer gets on board.
Conversion and Closing Stage
At this stage, all the charisma and convincing power is utilized to get a commitment from the customer. At this stage all the combined efforts come together to ensure a close. It is here that an agent applies their mastery and selects which words to throw in to lock in the deal.
These two proven methods described here, will have any call center yielding crazy results within a very short span of time as long as they are followed dutifully.