3 actionable ways Telesales agents can adopt the emphatic-led, customer-centric selling approach

A breakthrough product a powerful presentation, or even a successful pitch is sometimes not enough when to make the sale. While there are a lot of techniques and skills that are essential to sales effectiveness, we can all agree that ‘empathy’ can sometimes be overlooked and underestimated. It is rarely discussed in telesales training or in sales meetings. A lot of ‘selling’ books recommend that a telesales agents’ success stems from the ability to make personal and emotional connections with the buyers. Demonstrating comprehending the buyers’ needs and pain points along with building trust and conveying likability helps in building a solid customer equation helps in validating a purchase decision. While that stands to be true, a smarter sales approach lies in combining rationality with emotions thereby cultivating a good amount of trust along with bringing humanity into your pitch or the telesales conversation itself. 

Rationale, Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: The smarter telesales approach 

Aggressive sales tactics and pushy sales messages are things of the past. Not only will this repel your prospective customers but the move to softer selling especially in this environment is a ‘must’ and not optional. Navigating through the fog of this novel selling landscape comes down to building your emotional intelligence while developing ‘real’ empathy. Since the onset of the COVID-19, the way in which telesales agents and buyers connect has shifted massively and fundamentally. It is more than important now to meet buyers wherever they are telephonically and be considerate of their concerns while offering solutions and making ‘genuine’ connections which means you should

  • Pay attention to the information and data. Research your buyer before or during your interaction and understand their requirements and priorities.
  • Learn the balance between optimism and overenthusiasm. By keeping a positive tone, you are not only inviting your prospects to join in the conversation by also considering everything that you are saying from a product or service perspective.
  • Focus on establishing and maintaining long-term relationships rather than immediate or short term wins. 
  • Incorporate savvy telesales cadence spacing touchpoints over a 3 week period, scheduling slower follow-up sequences, and leveraging immediacy minus the aggression.

Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist and a Nobel Prize winner famously said, “ People would rather conduct business with someone they trust and like versus someone they don’t and the kicker is that this holds true even if the latter person offers a lower-priced, better product.”

So how can Telesales agents adopt a well-blended approach towards selling?

It begins with identifying and understanding the difference between
Emotional Intelligence is how you recognize and handle your emotions and your customers’ emotions. 
Empathy is your capability in understanding your buyers’ feelings, problems and expectations while also being sensitive and proactive about it. 
Rationale explains the action you choose to take or the idea you propose to make based on your derivation of the customer’s profile, psychology and preferences. 

How does Empathy help you improve your telesales performance?

Source; Salesforce 

Empathy is an important factor in improving your job performance as backed up by the survey conducted by The Centre for Creative Leadership. The results from this research state that a majority of the respondents from 6700 business leaders in 38 countries agreed that empathy has a direct correlation with job performance. On a basic level, exercising empathy can help you become a sharp listener and sensitive seller that trains you in crafting objectives depending on the turn of conversation. 

  1. Eases out the decision-making process
    Implementation of the right amount of emotional intelligence, empathy and rationale in the telephonic encounter with your customer helps to establish a situation of liberation in which the prospect and the sales representative are mutually engaged in a respectful interaction that is free of judgement. This helps in reducing the potential stress and friction in the telesales discussion; fostering a dialogue exchange that has the best chance of reaching the optimal outcome for both you and the customer.
  1. Helps you read between the lines and identify uncovered needs of the customer
    Active listening which is often followed by empathy is important as it enables agents to understand what exactly the customers are saying and what they are interested in or inclining towards. Empathy, therefore, plays a significant role in voicing what the customers aren’t saying. Sometimes the real objectives, issues and needs lie in what is not being said and being empathetic help in drawing out the desires and concerns of the customer.
  1. An organic repositioning of your thought process to become more customer-centric 
    While your objective as a telesales agent is to close a sale and bag the commission; it won’t happen if you are solely fixated on the transaction rather than the interaction itself. You may have experienced being on the receiving end of an overzealous sales tactic which may not have been pleasant let alone enjoyable. The same applies here. Therefore by cultivating empathy, you are automatically focusing on what’s best for the customer while also improving the quality of their experience.

Why is a combination of Empathy, Emotional Intelligence and Rationale critical to successful selling?

Source: Customer Think 

  • To build trust 
    When telesales agents exercise empathy, emotional intelligence and rationale; prospects tend to notice it. One of the cornerstones of trust is the feeling of being heard and seen. Customers may have a genuine connection with the brand from an interaction like this one. They may not know how to put the experience in words but the psychological outcome is a sensation of security and comfort leading to greater confidence in the brand.
  • To understand the customer 
    Agents who implement empathy and emotional intelligence into their telesales calls more readily, tend to understand their customers better.  This may be in the form of asking the right questions or responding to customers in order to gain deeper insight into their perspective further revealing more information.
  • To define the solution 
    When you make the effort of understanding what the customer wants, expects and needs; you automatically become aware of the problems that the customer faces. This will help you to properly elucidate and articulate the problem in a way that effectively resonates with your customer. 
  • To successfully close the sale
    An empathetic telesales representative will be able to address the solution better as per his/her understanding of the customer’s issues or problems and will successfully be able to deliver it as well. This makes it easier for agents to close sales. With your emotional intelligence at hand, it will enable you to accurately gauge the customer’s state of mind along with his/her readiness to proceed with the deal. This will help you to close the deal at the right time; while also making the customer feel good and his/her purchase experience all the more exceptional. 
  • To improve bonds and maintain relationships
    Time tends to erode the relationships between telesales representatives and customers for many reasons. When agents exercise genuine empathy and base their decisions on absolute rationality then and only then customers will feel a true sense of belonging with the brand. This will prevent customers from drifting away and makes it easier to reconnect with them and continue staying connected with them.

Transform your Telesales effectiveness in 3 ways with emotional intelligence, rationale and empathy:

These three ways can help you design the kind of conversation that will contribute towards an overall productive interaction that will not only yield the desired outcome but will also help in strengthening customer relationships.

  1. Construct bridges from emotional thinking to practical reasoning 
    In telesales, agents can’t read the body language of the buyer which is usually an effective tell in traditional sales methods. So in this case, you will have to take notes by having a conversation that is not rushed and devoted fully towards understanding the needs and expectations of your potential customers. Weave your conversation, not just predictable pitches and telesales mottos but around all possible areas that will interest your customer and help them benefit from it. That way, you will be doing more listening and while your customer is doing most of the talking. This progression of the conversation will help you curate relevant questions and suitable solutions that will match their current needs. Avoid asking customers about their immediate decision or opinion, as the objective here is to get them thinking about how what you’re offering them is going to be of help to your prospects. By exercising empathy you are respecting your customer’s headspace, giving them the freedom to speak their mind while also drawing relevant conclusions and useful information that is imperative for transitioning customer fears, emotions, expectations and uncertainties into possibilities. 
  1. Align actions from the interaction to value
    Once you have built your conversation to a meaningful level, make statements that align with what your customer has articulated. A consistent presence of mind is of the essence here. Add value to their specifications and requirements by reflecting their thoughts back to them. You can guide the conversation by using expressions or phrases such as ‘That explains a lot, considering you mentioned earlier…’ or ‘ The solution aligns with what you are doing..’ etc. 
  1. Appropriate pacing of your sales efforts 
    An important aspect of leading with empathy in telesales is knowing when to hit the gas and knowing when to pump the breaks. By exercising mindfulness in your interactions with prospects can help in elevating the positivity customers feel from being associated with your brand. A relevant strategy here is to ‘start the deal slow, but accelerator towards the end’. Even that strategy depends on the customer as each prospect is different from the other. 

    Ultimately there is no golden rule in knowing when to provide your prospect with space but by being empathetic and mindful of their preferences and needs, you will be able to feel it. Building solid equations with your customers lays the premises for successful and productive sales efforts. Further, that can be facilitated by keeping tabs on how an existing or a potential customer is feeling and how they respond to your sales efforts. Doing so is a good and effective indicator of when and how you can preserve the relationship while also strengthening your emotional skills as a telesales agent. 

Final tips:
The goal of each interaction with your potential customer or decision-maker is to speak with congruence and empathy. This will help your prospect relax and interest them further in what you have to offer. Stay on your telesales call with every intention of serving your customers and doing what’s best for them. Customers can feel it when they are being served by honesty and authenticity as mirrors in your actions, positioning you to move forward towards success together.  

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