Selling a product or service has always been challenging. But selling the same over the phone is more challenging. When it comes to becoming a telesales agent, there is assuredly more than what meets the eye. For instance, the ideal telesales agent must be equipped with the right combination of soft skills like communication skills, emotional intelligence etc, and hard skills such as marketing skills, sales skills, computer skills etc.
Although each individual varies with the kind of skill sets he or she possesses; every telesales agent aims to not just acquire a new customer but also ensure the customer that their interest will be preserved at all times. In this blog, we’re going to guide you through 5 tips that you need to excel at being a telesales agent that will not only help you boost your efforts at customer acquisition and retention but also unveil new opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
Tip #1 Drop the fear
To succeed in telesales, you cannot be the one that is confounded by fear. Your job is to convince callers or customers to purchase or use the product or service, fearlessly. Being timid when it comes to selling a product or service does no good to the customer you’re trying to sell it to or the company you are representing. Especially traits like uncertainty and doubt can be easily spotted by customers over the phone. Practise assertiveness and exude confidence when you are on the phone with a customer as it will leave a much better impression and result in better conversions.
Tip #2 Use ‘open-ended questions’ approach
Agents using the regular interrogative communication style spends a lot of time launching into descriptions, miscellaneous accolades and providing customers with options whereas agents using the ‘open-ended questions’ style of communication employed asking questions to get directly to the answer. This style allows the agent to lead the conversation but also allows the agent to keep the focus on the customer by asking open-ended questions. This will further give you the opportunity to gauge customer behaviour and proceed accordingly.
Quality questions expose problems, specific issues, or objectives of the customers that help in establishing if the products or services meet the ends or expectations of the customers. This way you are not wasting your time gathering unnecessary information and you can gather relevant information and make decisions based on the customer’s priorities, expectations and experience.
Tip #3 Work up a good rapport from the first call
While on a call with a customer, the primary mission is to get the customer interested from the very beginning itself. For that to happen, ditch the archaic ways of sales representatives and try to not sound like a telesales agent. Prospects respond better to relaxed and naturally used language as opposed to stiffness and strictly maintained scripted calls. Try to eliminate stock intros and over-rehearsed lines and try to soften and enliven the initial approach so that the customer will be able to sense the authenticity of the conversation.
This way the conversation will not only have a smooth flow but also makes it easier for you to forge connections and establish trust over the phone. This is an excellent way for you to identify a prospect’s behaviour while also understanding the best kind of approach that will suit that personality to get them successfully converted into a client.
Tip #4 Listen
It goes without saying that prospects must be given 100% of the telesales agents’ attention from the beginning of the call to the end. Listening keenly teaches you to read between the lines and fully understand the thought process of the prospective customer, and guides you on what to ask and not to. Most of the time, telesales agents are so eager to sell their pitch that they end up doing all the talking and leave little or no room for listening.
By not listening to your prospect you are not only driving them away instead of understanding their requirements but also missing out on knowing important information and what’s worse is you’ll tend to interrupt them or zone out. Both of which are strict no-nos when it comes to acing it in the field of telesales. Take every call with a view to understanding your customers through the only way possible which is listening. This combined with two-way communication is vital to converting leads into sales.
Tip #5 Always make it personal
This tip goes hand in hand with tip #4 because only through listening will you be able to curate the perfect conversation by responding to their needs and satisfying their expectations and what to ask next. Doing so allows you to understand things from the perspective of the customer making it easy for you to position the product as the perfect solution for the customer’s most specific needs and desires.
Tip #6 Open impressively
The luxury of time is not something telesales agents are in possession of. A stunning opening can save you from being hung upon. From greeting the prospect to thanking them for their time, always remember to include this at the beginning of your conversation. You would be amazed to know how many agents forget to do this and quickly launch into gabbling their pitch. Telesales is not just about closing deals but creating relationships and those relationships that are limited to the phone are built on pleasantries and societal niceties. Work on captivating your prospects from the get-go as this can positively affect and establish your credibility. As with the saying, ‘the first impression is the last impression’, keep your greeting respectful, personalised and yet professional.
Tip #7 Speak with clarity
In addition to smiling through the call to exude friendliness and openness; clarity of speech is one defining factor in telesales. It will be helpful to know the average speech rate to that part of the world you are talking to. One tends to talk fast or quickly accelerate the conversation when one is anxious, unprepared or nervous, eventually ending up sounding like an amateur risking the wrath of the customer. But by enunciating your words and through proper articulation, you can create a good impression along with the chance of getting your pitch listened to.
Tip #8 Go scripted and unscripted
Script or no script, your prospects must always feel like they are having an organic conversation i.e you must try sounding as unscripted as possible to get the caller to engage with you. Practise various telesales techniques so that you would have to rely less on a script and tweak wherever necessary to ensure the best results. Don’t depend on your scripts too heavily.
Use it as a guide to check up on information or certain specifications. Scripts in telesales have the reputation of being somewhat of a limitation when it comes to engaging and closing prospects over the phone which goes against the nature of having a script itself. Therefore, give yourself the space to deviate and improvise on the basic skeleton of the conversation. Develop the flexibility to react to what is happening in real-time and adapt to reacting to various situations and customer types that will enable you to conduct a successful telesales conversation.
Tip #9 Make sure to follow-up
Make sure to always live up to your follow-up promises. If you have promised to call back or call again, set a time or fix an appointment or send a reminder or notification that will contribute to making that follow-up happen. This enhances not only your credibility but also gives the customer the feeling of importance and gets you closer to sealing the deal while also being at the receiving end of a lasting customer relationship.
Tip #10 Work on building momentum
Make sufficient calls with great call quality and efficiency that enables you to build call-backs and closures. If you make a good number of calls per day, over some time these calls will be call-backs or enquiry or renewal calls. This is why you must consider each lead as a potential customer and treat them with the same importance as you would a sealed customer. As a consequence, your momentum is built as you go along and paves the way for desired and positive outcomes.