Call Center Training Solutions

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Telephone Selling Skills Archive

Reframing Late-Call Objections

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

From our new sales training program,  Telephone Sales Mastery 2: Selling to Difficult Customers, we want to give everyone an example of the proven skills included in the program. One of the most requested skills from clients is for effective responses to Late-Call Objections. In this article, you will read about an objection-handling technique for overcoming many common client objections; the skill of Reframing an objection.

Reframing Technique

For what types of objections can you use the Reframing technique? This technique is great for any objection that can be addressed by a feature you offer or strength of your organization. For example, imagine that the customer said,  Well, I think I need to wait because we really need to find something that is more «budget-friendly. Now, let­s say that you have a monthly payment plan to offer, or you have a lower-priced product that is almost as good as the one you recommended and does almost as much for the customer. These are perfect situations to Reframe.

Reframing Process

Most sales agents make the mistake of blurting out an answer in a way that makes them sound defensive.  Oh, but we have other payment plans and you­ll be able to keep it within your budget!  Well, true it­s a bit more money, but you said you wanted to get the most you can, which is why I recommended this product. Prior to answering, Reframe these objections into questions that allow the customer to say  Yes.

  •  Thanks for letting me know Mrs. Jackson. So what you are really looking for is a product that will get the job done, but also stays within your budget?
  •  If I hear you correctly, what you are actually looking for is–?

Avoid sarcastic or blatantly sales-ish Reframes like this one.

  •  So what you are really looking for is the reassurance that can only be provided by a vendor that won the 2010 Service Excellence First Place award?

When the client says  Yes, which he/she often will, your rebuttal now becomes a solution, an answer to their request for a better alternative, not merely a response to an objection.

Reframing an Objection allows you and the customer to focus more on what they want and need and less on what they feel your product or company will not or cannot do for them. This is a critical time on the call and you do not want to lose them here, if you do not have to.

Add a Great Start to Your Rebuttal

At this point, it is a shame to even refer to your answer as a Rebuttal. It became so much more than that when the customer said  Yes to your Reframing question. Still, when you do respond, here is a great way to start.
 I­m so glad you brought that up. That­s actually one of our strengths. In your case, we can–.
When the client hears this comment, it tends to increase their focus. Something good is coming. Combined with a great Reframing question, you will have the best chance of closing this sale.


The Reframing Technique is only used for objections for which you have a genuine solution. We offer other techniques for other types of objections. Try the Reframing Technique on your next phone call and watch your customer reconnect with you ± right in the middle of a Late Call Objection. Good luck with this powerful skill. For more information on Telephone Sales Mastery 2: Selling to Difficult Customers, please call us at +1 954-729-2160, or e-mail

Mo Bellio
Call Center Training Solutions
+1 954-729-2160

How to Connect and Stay Connected ± Lesson Four

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Client Engagement Series – Lesson Four: Client-Engagement through Client-Focused Recommendations

This is the fourth post in our four-part series, Client Engagement: How to Connect and Stay Connected.

The product recommendation/presentation is supposed to be the part of the sale call that gets the client excited.  We should not have to think about whether or not the client is engaged.  After all, this is all about them, right?

A product offer will be significantly better when we explain how the product is going to specifically benefit this client or how our product is going to solve problems that this client currently experiences.  Easy peasy, right?  It should be.  Here are a few tips to make sure all your product offers hit dead center into client needs, issues and hot buttons.  When they do, your clients will definitely stay engaged and remain interested in buying your product.

A Client-Engaging Product Offer Relies on the Following Three Elements 

Rapport: Clients stay more engaged when we have a strong rapport with them (see Post One in this topic on Being Likeable).  Clients will provide more detailed and honest answers during our Discovery when they like us and are comfortable talking with us.

A Strong Discovery: If we ask great questions and learn a lot about this client, what she is like, what she dislikes, what she hopes to gain from our product, we have the foundation necessary to deliver a great product presentation.  Clients will remain engaged and will closely follow our product offer when we have this thorough understanding of their world.

A Client-Focused Recommendation: This is why the client is speaking with us.  They want to know what we can do for them.  The most client-engaging product offers are going to have the client­s world threaded all through them.

As you are highlighting specific product features, present them as real-world scenarios with the client included in the story.  We call these Function Statements in our sales training.  If, for example, your software will make it much easier for the client to send large files to other businesses, give an example of that feature in use – with this client sending the large file.  The more you know about the types of large files this client sends, the better. 

  •  So then next time you need to send a picture of a new floor plan that is more than 10 megs, all you do is–.  Make it seem easy.  Including specifics like  a picture of a new floor plan makes the situation as real as possible. 

For the best Client Engagement, we recommend a minimum of three tie-backs to your Discovery.   Add words like,  –which you said was important to you.  Begin sentences with phrases like,  Since you mentioned that your current computer takes «way too long­ to send large files, you are going to love our–. The more you can tie back, the more engaged the client will remain. 

Client Engagement is achieved and maintained throughout the call so we can have an active and interested client when we arrive at the product presentation.  Make sure your product recommendations really hit home by tying several of the features back to the client­s real world.  Make it as real as it can be using Function Statements.  Your clients will not only be more engaged, many more of them will say  Yes when you ask them to purchase.

How to Connect and Stay Connected ± Lesson Three

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Client Engagement Series – Lesson Three: Client-Engagement through Great Conversational Skills

This is the third post in our four-part series, Client Engagement: How to Connect and Stay Connected.  In this post we will discuss how to engage your clients with better Conversational Skills.  Having a conversation is something we do naturally all day long.  When we try it on the phones, however, we must mimic the elements that make a great conversation, rather than try to have a pure, genuine conversation.  Why?  Because a true conversation will rarely go in the direction we are hoping it will go.  Conversations do not typically have a planned outcome.

About twice a year, one of our potential clients will start a dialogue with us like the following one.   I­m not really trying to turn my agents into «sales people­.  I really just want them to have a conversation with the client.  Out of that conversation, the client­s needs, issues and hot buttons will come out ± naturally ± not forced.  Although this client is well intended and the request seems pretty reasonable, we believe it is not possible to achieve.  Conversations go wherever they go.  Any conversation that needs to go in a specific direction by the end is not really a conversation.  To some degree, it is contrived and planned.  Although we agree with the spirit of the client­s request, we definitely do not want agents to have a true conversation.  Call handle times will double and sales will go down.  Client Engagement would initially be strong, but each client will quickly see that the conversation is taking more time than planned.  They will start asking when this is going to end and why it is taking so long.

We believe that what our call center client is looking would be better described as highly-trained agents who can simulate a conversation, one that goes exactly where the agent expects and is controlled by the agent, regardless of who is talking at the time and gives the agent the greatest chance for a sale.  All the while, the client on the phone must believe that he/she is in a true conversation.  That is definitely achievable and it will produce the highest possible number of sales, while additionally improving our Client Engagement.  Clients like to be in these types of dialogues because they are typically brief, enjoyable and client-focused.  In order to simulate a genuine conversation, we need to add a few skills into our typical sales dialogue.

In addition to asking better questions (see the second post in this series), we recommend adding the following three elements to your sales dialogues.

1) Chat Comments

A real conversation includes more than just questions from one person and answers from the other.  If you listen to a few conversations, all of them will include Chat Comments.  Chat Comments are those additional comments made by one person after the other person answers a question.  In our case, the sales agent uses Chat Comments to break up the questions he/she is asking.

  • Agent:  Mary, approximately how much do you plan to spend on this product? 
  • Client:  Oh, no more than about $100.00.  I really don­t even have the budget for that, but I know we must do something quick. 
  • Agent (Chat Comment):  I know what you mean.  A lot of the clients I speak with these days are really trying to stay within a tight budget.  We have two different products I can tell you about that are both under $100.00.

A Chat Comment does several positive things for the dialogue.  It breaks up the question-answer cycle that will quickly start to sound like an interrogation.  It also helps the sales agent relate to the client and put the client at ease (in this case, the agent relates the client­s situation to other clients who have similar budget challenges).  Finally, it gives the agent the chance to make quick statements about his/her product that will build credibility. 

A Chat Comment is one of the easiest ways to improve a structured dialogue and make it sound much more like a real conversation.  In a real conversation, clients will remain much more engaged.

2) Positioning Statements

A Positioning Statement provides the customer with the  Why? behind the question.  Many questions seem almost too invasive when they are asked out of context.   What do you pay right now for this service?  Do I really want to answer this agent?  Why does she need to know that?  Often the client will say,  I really don­t want to talk about that, or will explain that the bills are paid by someone else.

A Positioning Statement is very conversational and a great tool in preventing clients from getting defensive about our questions.  Here are three examples.

  •  Mrs. Jacobs, it really helps me to stay within a client­s budget when I know their pricing expectations, so let me ask you–?
  •  When I know more about my client­s current circumstances, I can build a much better bundle for them, so I­m curious–?
  •  We always like to make sure we solve all of our clients­ issues when they purchase our products, so it would help me to know–?

When a client knows why you are asking for something, they rarely have a problem with it.  This is a great conversational element that is easy to use and extremely valuable.  It will also increase your Client Engagement in every dialogue.

3) Similar Situations

Asking a customer to comment on other clients­ typical situations is another  great conversational tool that can bring out some very useful data about this client.

When clients are considering buying a product from us, it is usually to replace something that no longer works well for them (e.g. an older laptop that is slow, a worn-out sewing machine, a vacuum that has no power left).  If the agent asks the client,  What is your current product like? ± even with a Positioning Statement ± many will become defensive.  Sharing a Similar Situation first often overcomes the client­s hesitation.  Share an issue you know other clients are having with their current product, and then ask the client,  What­s been your experience?  Here is an example.

 A lot of the clients I speak with tell me their current computer tends to really slow down on them, especially when they open more than one program at the same time.  What­s been your experience with that?

By letting them know that these issues are common among customers, many more will open up and admit that they experience the same things.  Once they do, you have your opportunity to stress how much better your product will be.  

One caution when using Similar Situations.  During your Similar Situation, never mention a specific company, like Delta, HP, Bank of America, etc.  Clients will often become even more defensive when you do.   I hear that a lot of the Dell computers tend to–.  It is never smart to bash your competitors.  Stay focused on the issue and leave the competitor out of the statement.  If the client complains about a specific company, thank them for the information, but we still do not recommend saying,  I hear that a lot about them.

Try These Conversational Elements Today

Because we all use these elements away from the phones, they will be easy to start using on your sales calls.  We recommend starting with Chat Comments and then moving into the other two from there.  Within a week, you should master all three of them.  Practice makes perfect and the good news is that very little practice will be needed.

Once you develop these skills, you will find that your clients stay more relaxed and open up more.  Client Engagement will be easier to achieve and maintain and your sales should go up as a result.

How to Connect and Stay Connected ± Lesson Two

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Client Engagement Series – Lesson Two: Client-Engagement by Asking Great Questions

This is the second post in our four-part series, Client Engagement: How to Connect and Stay Connected.

If you have read any of our blog posts, you know that we value the skill of Discovery – asking questions.  Whether we are working with an Inbound or an Outbound center, asking the right questions ± in the right way ± is almost always the skill that agents develop and master last.  Most agents never really master questioning, but many use it effectively enough to make more sales.

In this post, we are looking at how our Discovery impacts Client Engagement.  Used well, questioning can lock a customer­s attention in like very few other skills.  As always, we will discuss these ideas in terms of selling and sales success.

On the surface, it would seem that any question will foster Client Engagement, but it is not so simple.  Badly delivered, mechanical questions will achieve the opposite; client disengagement.  Take a typical, poorly-conducted call.  Right from the beginning, the agent­s questions are likely to be very stiff, closed-ended and unnatural.  The agent will not show the interest needed to capture the client­s attention.  The questions will not be delivered in a way that encourage the client to answer.  Clients will quickly become bored and try to terminate the call or start to take over.

Two Tips for great Client Engagement

Here are two easy ways to improve your Client Engagement.

  1. Ask More than Merely the Required Questions: If you have worked in call center sales for a while, you have definitely heard this from your supervisor.   Don­t just ask the basic questions.  Get the client involved with more in-depth questions.  We agree.  Many sales agents will try to rush through the Discovery portion of the call as quickly as possible because they believe it pushes the client away.  Consequently, these agents ask fewer questions, most of which are going to be very basic.   How many are you interested in?   How much do you need?   What color?  What size?  These questions are fine, but they are not engaging.  Engaging questions dig deeper.   What will you be using it for?   What has been your experience with this type of product so far?   What are some of your priorities in making this purchase?  There are dozens more.  Better questions will engage the client.  Questions that focus on their world, their use of the product, their current methods of living life without your product (especially if your product is a solution to life­s little messes ± learn about their messes and tell them how much your product does to solve those messes).
  2. Sound Curious (even Fascinated) When You Ask Your Questions: Whether you are listening to a radio program, a professionally recorded voice mail message, an audio book or anything else recorded but not visual, your ears have to do all the work to interpret the message.  It would make sense that agents have to sound great when they speak with clients.  When asking questions, it is paramount to Client Engagement.  At a minimum, the agent must seem curious.   Let me ask you, what are some of the–. 

Sounding curious and interested means you must vary your voice tones.  There is no way to demonstrate it in this post, but it is easy to illustrate.  First, read the question below in a monotone voice ± a single pitch and tempo.

  •   What would you say will be the primary purposes for this device?

Boring, huh?  Great (okay, not great).  Now read it again ± really speak it ± and this time, vary your voice tones, beginning higher, dropping in the middle, and then coming up again at the end.

Much better, right?  Now read it one more time, but this time, add a simple positioning phrase to the beginning like,  You know, I­m curious–.

Now that sounds the best.   When we sound curious and interested, clients respond well.  They like to know they are the center of our world when they are on calls with us.  If we do this well while also asking better questions, our Client Engagement score will really improve and our clients will open up and provide great answers.

When selling, an engaged client is a lot more likely to buy.  Our ability to capture their attention and keep it through the Discovery is no easy task, but we can improve our chances by asking better questions and showing interest in the client as we ask the questions.  Even if they do not buy, their experience on the phone with us will be significantly improved for next time.

How to Connect and Stay Connected ± Lesson One

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

In both sales and service, client engagement is often the difference between a successful call and an unsuccessful call ± from the client­s perspective.  This series of lessons will focus on client engagement from a selling perspective.

What does it mean to engage the client?  It means to come together, to join up, to lock in as a single unit.  An engaged client is one who is listening.  Engaged clients are much more likely to share pertinent details that will make our sales efforts more fruitful (and more client-friendly).

In this series, I will walk you through five pillars of client engagement, five ways to make sure your client is on the phone, focused and participating.  Our five fundamentals of Client Engagement are listed below.  This will also be the order of our series.

  1. Client-Engagement through Relational Skills (Being Likeable)
  2. Client-Engagement by Asking the Right Questions
  3. Client-Engagement through Great Conversational Skills
  4. Client-Focused Recommendations

Client-Engagement through Relational Skills (Being Likeable)

Our first method of engaging clients can be the easiest – or the hardest, depending on the agent.  Relational skills are those that help us sound likeable.  Being likeable is one of the best ways to keep a client listening and engaged.

Let­s look at the typical phone call.  These days, unfortunately, most clients are expecting a pretty low-energy agent to greet them in a scripted way.  Some clients are already setting up for battle if they are upset by some aspect of the product.  No one wants a poor call, but most clients have come to expect one, at least on an unconscious level.  When they hear the mechanical greeting, they are not surprised.  My guess is that the most common, immediate thought by clients is,  Here we go again.  At that point, clients will usually go into control mode and try to steer the call, usually making things worse for everyone involved.

Here is the silver lining.  Agents who start calls with a friendly, light approach, can instantly disarm their attackers.  Clients will very often calm down, take a breath, relax, all because the agent sounds friendly and, therefore, competent. Yes, I said,  competent.  The characteristic of  friendly spills over in good ways to other characteristics.   This agent cares.   This agent must have my best interests at heart.   This agent must be good (competent) at what he/she does.

Start your calls with a light, friendly approach.  Careful not to overdo it.  Being too friendly will sound creepy.  Clients will assume you have had extensive training on trying to be friendly, rather than being happy that you are friendly.

If the client is confused, by all means apologize for the confusion and stress you are going to help clear things up, but then get back to friendly, cheerful.

If the client is upset, absolutely go into Empathy mode, apologizing and stressing that you will take care of them as quickly and effectively as possible.  As soon as you hear the client start to calm down, get back to mildly cheerful.  After another minute, if the client is fully calm, get back to friendly.

Likeability and Engagement

Client Engagement is the goal.  How does being likeable contribute to client engagement?  When clients like the agent they are speaking with, they listen more closely and stay involved.  They also open up more.  If they are shopping for a product, they are much more likely to share feelings and emotions to the friendly agent they would not offer to others.   Well, honestly, I know I want this product.  I­m just not convinced my husband is going to appreciate my buying it without his being involved.  Wow.  That was a golden nugget.  The client told the agent exactly what is at stake if the purchase is made.  This statement gave the agent the direct route to the client­s mindset.  Most effective agents can easily handle this concern before it becomes a true customer objection later on the call.

Clients who are engaged are more forgiving.  If clients like the agent and continue to feel appreciated by the friendly communication, they will not sound so upset when a product or a size is out of stock.  Even if they are disappointed, they will continue to treat the agent respectfully because they like the agent.   Wow, that is a disappointment.  I really wanted that size table cloth, and it was such a good price.  Okay, well, you know what, let­s do this instead–.  Clients remain human – and humane – all because the agent worked hard to engage them with a friendly approach.

Client Engagement is easy when agents and supervisors maintain it as a goal, as a top priority.  Starting and remaining likeable and easy to talk with is one of the simplest ways to achieve strong Client Engagement.  It may not always net you a sale, but if a sale is possible, you have a much better chance of making it if you capture the client­s heart along the way.

How to Achieve Sales Success in Your Center: Part 5

Friday, March 25th, 2011

Success Factor Number Five: Every Call Matters

This is the fifth post in our series: How to Achieve Sales Success in Your Center.

Successful sales people recognize that every call matters.  Every call has a chance for a sale.  Less successful sales people usually  write off certain potential buyers too quickly, based on any number of factors.


We call it  profiling when a sales agent decides to work hard or hardly work, based specifically on the caller­s personal characteristics. Maybe they are too old.  Maybe they have an accent that is harder to understand.  Maybe they are not friendly enough or patient enough for the sales agent.

Following the Wrong Trends

Profiling of any kind leads to lower sales results, so why would sales people ever profile?  Trends.  In some sales environments, senior citizens rarely buy, even when we sell effectively.  Some will buy, however, and that is why it is worth trying on every call.  Some sales people immediately stop selling when they hear a buyer with a heavy accent.  Perhaps they feel it will take too long to explain the product details or be too difficult.  Clients who are a little pushy or sound impatient are often profiled, too.

There is another reason why profiling is a bad idea.  If we keep doing it, over time, we will add more and more clients into the  don­t bother selling to category.   I didn­t like that type of buyer and I never seem to sell any of them, so I am not going to try.  Sales people generally do not think about this until a call comes along that they do not like.  Before you know it, half your calls are going to be filled with buyers you do not make a strong effort to sell.

Why do successful sales people try selling on every call?  If not, before you know it, you will be saying things like,  I get all the bad calls.  And that is just not logical.

Eliminating Profiling

So how do we get back on track and stop profiling?  Begin by setting some easy goals.   For the next hour, I am going to work very hard on every call, no matter who I am speaking with.  After a successful hour, try two hours, and then a half-day.  Before you know it, you will forget all about profiling and all your calls will matter to you.  That is going to translate into higher sales very quickly.

Selling on every call is one of the easiest ways to increase your sales and a key contributor to the results and wallets of successful sales people.  The bottom line is this.  The more leads you have, the greater your opportunity.  If you believe a sale is possible on every call, you will sell more of those buyers than the sales people who write them off before the call really gets started.

How To Achieve Sales Success in Your Center: Part 4

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Success Factor Number Four: Mirror Successful Agents

This is the fourth post in our series: How to Achieve Sales Success in Your Center

Everyone wants to feel like an individual.  No one wants to copy the behaviors of others.  In the call center world, however, the best path to performance improvement should involve mirroring the skills of another agent who has been successful and may be sitting right next to you.

Quick Road to Success

This idea comes from the saying,  Why reinvent to wheel?  Think about the top people in your center.  Who already has a similar selling style to you?  Perhaps that is the agent to begin with.

Try Doing Some Analysis

Another option for the more ambitious sales person is to analyze the selling style of 4 or 5 of the top agents and build a set of best practices from the group.

Based on my own experiences in centers, I would go with the second option.  Mirror different sales people.  That way you get the best of the entire center.  Some agents are great at building rapport and delivering  a powerful Greeting.  Others will be strong at asking great questions and controlling the Discovery.  One might have an amazing product presentation.

How Do You Get Started?

So here is how to do it.   Begin by identifying all the steps to the sale that you want to improve.  What steps are involved in your Greeting, Discovery, Presentation, Closing and Objections?  Next, observe at least ten calls with each agent.  That way you will have enough data to work with.  You are looking for successful trends.  What has this agent done on most calls that seems to be working for him/her?  Finally, are you capable of mirroring the selected skill?  If this agent just happens to be naturally charismatic, we recommend moving to a different agent.  Capturing someone­s MoJo is much more difficult than using some of the same selling steps they use.

When tomorrow comes and you are ready to use those new skills, we recommend starting slowly.  Begin with a single skill and see whether you can do it well.  Add another one later in the day or the following day, and so on.

Inventing your own set of best practices can take far longer than mirroring what others already do well.  Try this time-tested approach this week.  If it works for you, and it should, thank the agents whom you observed for their contributions to your new, wildly successful sales career.

How To Achieve Sales Success in Your Center: Part 3

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Success Factor Number Three: Look at Root Causes to Improve Tough Areas of the Call

This is the third post in our series: How to Achieve Sales Success in Your Center.

As we work with sales agents, one of the most common requests for help is with objections.  Outbound sales people deal with objections both at the beginning of the call (e.g.  I­m right in the middle of a meeting so I can­t talk.) and at the end ( Your price is too high.  I can do better.).  Generally speaking, Inbound agents deal with late-call objections only.

Merely learning effective responses to common objections will not fix the problem.  One of the best strategies for improving your sales for the long-term is to look for the root cause of the problem.  With objections, the root cause naturally occurred somewhere on the call before the objection. 

Find the Root Cause and Look for Trends

To illustrate this, consider an Outbound call and early-call,  reflexive objections like  I­m not interested, or  We already have a supplier.  What is the root cause problem that got this customer thinking,  I think I need to object and get off this call?  The answer lies somewhere in the Greeting.  Perhaps this agent did not try to connect with the client.  Most agents that form a connection with the client do not receive as many early-call objections as other sales people.  We have watched early-call objections decrease by 90% in a single night by working on the Greeting and improving the steps that get this client involved and excited to be on the call.  What would you rather do, use better objection responses  or not receive objections in the first place?  Always look for the root cause problem and you will have better results.

Other Culprits that Cause Objections on Calls

Another illustration.  What is the root cause problem that encourages clients to object at the end of the call?  This one is a bit trickier, but here are the common culprits.

Discovery: Did you do a great job of getting to know this client?  Did you have a conversational Discovery dialogue or was it more like an interrogation with no other comments in between your questions?  Remember that Discovery is more than just asking the questions that help you pick the right product offer.  It is also a chance to improve your rapport and get the client involved in the call.

Presentation: Was your presentation lively, encouraging and urgent or was it bland and informational only, as if it does not matter to you whether they buy or not?  Too often, sales people forget that they need to be excited about their recommendation.  If we are not excited, why would the client ever decide to buy?  Many lifeless presentations cause late-call objections.

Closing: Was there any signs of hesitation in your close?  Did you say,  Is this something that might be interesting to you?   Would you consider, um, taking this offer today?  Even small amounts of hesitation will spook the client.  End result?  An objection.

Other major call challenges include clients who interrupt and start taking control of the call, hang-ups right in the middle of your conversation, clients who say they have to speak with their spouses before buying and a host of others.  To be a highly successful sales person and sustain your success for years, not just months, always look for the root cause problem to any challenge and fix it.  If you are successful, your performance will usually increase much more than by just building responses to the challenge.

How To Achieve Sales Success in Your Center: Part 2

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

Success Factor Number Two: Know Your Numbers

This is our second post in the series: How To Achieve Sales Success in Your Center.  To be successful for the long term, you definitely need to know your numbers ± every day.  Make it a passion. 

Call centers have some of the best metrics of any industry.  We know how long your last call took and how long your calls take on average.  We know how many times you try to overcome objections.  We know how your compliance numbers compare to those of your peers. 

To the agent who wants long-term success, the most important metrics are those that deal with closing and conversion.  Successful agents usually know these numbers and use them to stay motivated and focused.

You do not need a lot of sophisticated metrics to make this work.  All you need is the following.

Calculating Your Closing Ratio

Total Number of Calls Where a Sale is Possible:  If you receive service calls with no chance to make an offer, do not include these calls.  Include all calls where there is the possibility of a sale, even if unlikely.

Total Sales Per Day: To build consistency, we recommend taking your average sales per day for the last three to six months.

Divide Sales By Calls: If you have 20 sales and you took 200 calls, divide 20 by 200 and you have your closing ratio.  In this case your number would be 10%.

Okay.  You Have the Number.  Now What?

Now that you have your number, here are a few ways it can help you. 

Stay Motivated Until the Next Sale: If it has been five or six calls since your last sale, you know a sale is coming soon.  It is truly just a matter of time.  Work hard on every call, of course.  Sometimes, you can make two sales in five calls and now you are ahead of your ratio for the day.

Work to Improve Your Ratio: Keep getting better at all aspects of your sales call so you improve your closing ratio.  Now that you know it, you can watch as your ratio gets better.

If You Have a Bad Day: If you had no sales on Monday, you can look forward to Tuesday, knowing that things are very likely to get better.

If You Have a Great Day: If Monday was an excellent selling day, should you  cruise on Tuesday?   No.  Always try to make the next day a strong selling day, too.  This is how you improve your closing ratio for the long-term.  Consolidate your successful day by having a second strong day in a row.

Knowing and managing your closing ratio helps you determine the income you want to make.  You can keep yourself motivated and focused, too.  This is one of the best ways to keep your sales health strong in a call center.

How To Achieve Sales Success in Your Center: Part 1

Monday, March 21st, 2011

This is a five-part series on Successful Stays and Career Advancement through call center selling.

Most call center sales agents do not succeed long-term in their vocation.  Burnout is common.  Job hopping from one center to the next is more common.  Many supervisors add unnecessary stress and discomfort to the agent job due to their own lack of leadership experience or poor training.  All of these factors make it difficult to achieve success for the long-term in a single position within a single call center. 

The good news is that we do meet many agents who have had great success.  Some are still in the same positions.  Many have advanced to supervisor and even director-level positions.  In this five-part series, we will discuss some of the key attitudes and drivers that have sustained these people while so many others have failed along the way. 

We strongly recommend that you embrace these Success Factors and figure out how to apply them in your world ± today.  You will be glad you did. 

Success Factor Number One: Creating and Maintaining the Right Attitude

We speak to a lot of sales agents who feel that their specific job should have its own show or segment on World­s Most Dangerous Jobs.  Although there are many days that can tap the strength of even the world­s most enduring agent, the truth about the job is that it is merely mundane, a little boring and too structured for some.  Once you look beyond that, the job has a lot of advantages; no stressful driving, a ready amount of customers to speak with and the chance to change people­s days for the better.

We have worked with many agents over the years to help them see the positives about the job.  At the end of the day, it all boils down to attitude.  Other jobs have mean bosses.  Other employees are not getting rich either.  Other jobs are boring, too (just ask the nighttime security guard that lives across the street from me).

For successful agents ± real, long-term success (not just a few good months) ± it is their attitudes about the position that sustain them on the bad days and help them have many more great days. 

The Right Attitude is Cultivated Through our Responses to Situations

The attitude is their response to any circumstances thrown their way.  The system goes down and we cannot take calls?  Why not check out one of the training manuals and take advantage of the time.  Call volume is too high to take a break?  I may as well make a few more sales and this day is going to fly by.

Their attitude is also how they prepare themselves mentally, prior to starting their day.  Some will set a high sales target for the day (much higher than the required target).  Others look for a few of the positives in the job to lock in on until they build momentum for the day.  They prepare their minds to either be successful or look for the positives so that they enjoy their days while others around feel pain and build lasting frustration.

Negative Attitudes Stick to Us From Job to Job

Many agents think,  Once I get to a better job, then I will apply myself.  Then I will give it my all.  Not now, not to this company.  Not in this crappy seat.  The problem with this counterproductive attitude is that it impacts every aspect of the job, from client care and communication to sales results.  Hating a job (or even merely  sticking it out) is a crappy way to spend half of your waking life. 

We regularly see these agents when they come into a new call center job.  They do well and have a positive attitude for about the first week on the phones.  Once they see the same problems the last job had, they quickly start to take on the same negativity they had at the last job.  That is the real problem with a bad attitude.  It is mobile and it sticks to us until we finally decide to jettison it from our lives.

For the job to go by quickly, an agent must embrace it and see the value in it.  Unless you have an uncle in the right senior position, you will have to do the tough work of taking call after call.  If you are smart, you will make it fun for yourself by embracing the caller and finding a way to make their day better.  Your day will go by faster.

Necessary Paradigms for the Right Attitude to Foster

If you want your sales and commissions to increase, you will definitely have to take on the right attitude.  There are two parts, two paradigms (truths) you must believe.  1) Working smarter will produce more sales.  2) Every call has an opportunity for a sale until the call terminates.

  1. Working Smarter: This means using your company­s sales training, speaking with successful agents, listening to your own calls and improving your own personal sales skills.  With the right attitude, you can do this very quickly.
  2.  Every call has an opportunity: One of the most common reasons for agent failure is that many agents  profile callers instantly.   This guy is angry.  He will never buy.   Oh, great, a senior citizen.  They don­t use computers.  Even if the beliefs are common and do turn out to be true some of the time, they lead to failure.  You must see every call as having the possibility for a sale.  If you do, you will make sales where most others fail.

The right attitude is the secret to getting through the rough days, but it is also the secret to excelling at sales  – any type of sales.  I have spent my life in sales, both on the phones and face-to-face selling.  I have been blessed with a lot of success over the years, from the time I was 19 years old.  One thing I had I have to credit to God.  I have always had a belief that anything is possible, that good things can come my way, that I do not have to conform to the mediocrity that so many other sales people do.  I have always had a simple philosophy;  Why not me?  It has always worked.  This has been one of the real sustaining factors in my sales career.

One more piece to the right attitude.  Make those around you better as a result of your presence.  Enjoy the people you compete with.  Enjoy the clients you speak with.  The right attitude says,  I owe this customer a great call.  Make it fun.  Make it fun for your peers.  Do more for others.  You will find that these last few attitude components can springboard you to a life worth living, which is even better than a job worth having.

Are you ready for tomorrow?  Do you now have what it takes?  Yes, you do.  Go and have a great day.