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Telephone Selling Skills Archive

How To End Your Calls Effectively After Customers Say “No”

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

An interesting sales moment occurred today.  I was in the process of renting my car as I arrived in Knoxville to certify a new client in Telephone Sales Mastery.  When I noticed that my favorite car, the Chrysler 300, was not on the lot, the agent in the booth told me I could upgrade to the Chrysler for just $11.00 per day.  He did a nice job and seemed very sincere and enthusiastic to help me.

I said,  No thanks, and chose a car from what was available.    The sales agent then offered me a GPS unit for rental.  I explained that I already had a GPS with me.  We wrapped up a moment later.  I thanked him for the help.  Because he had been very conversational, I was planning on a longer wrap up.  Perhaps we would talk about the weather or I would tell him that I am so happy to be done flying today.  Instead, just as I was about to start a mini dialogue, I heard a very loud and harsh,  Thank you.  That was it.  That same booth agent, who was friendly and conversational, was done with all that.  He made his two offers and he was sending me away.  He went from being friendly to being uninterested in speaking with me.

Did I hear him wrong?  No.  This is what I do for a living. If a Quality Assurance agent was listening, he would have received his check mark for  Thank the Client.  Unfortunately, I heard it the way it was intended.   Move along now.  You said «No­ so I­m done with you.

Will most clients hear the hidden message?  No.  Most clients will merely have a bad taste at the end and not be sure why.  That is bad customer service.  In my case, I will be coming up here a few more times this month.  I rent from this car company two to three times each month.  I will probably keep renting from them because I am comfortable with them.  If I was not happy with them, however, this could have been a final straw, and off I might go to a new provider.

The sad part is that the call wrap up is so easy and customers will usually be friendly right back.  You actually have to work harder to be snippy because you have already established the relationship and the rapport.  Thank them and tell them you look forward to seeing them again.  If you have a required call wrap statement or some branding to do, practice until it sounds natural and friendly.

When you train your sales and service personnel, remind them to end the call with positive, friendly comments, regardless of whether or not the client bought on that call.  If we leave customers with sarcasm or if we just remove the friendliness and replace it with  professional but lifeless, the client will get the message, but it is not the message we really want to send.

Supervisors, listen to your team­s call wrap ups/closes.  Make sure they apply the tips from this article.  We open well.  We close well.  We get better results.

Insights for Building Rapport Quickly on Difficult Outbound Calls

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

Inbound calls are great for rapport-building.  There are many ways to do it.  Even when clients expect the calls to be quick, the agent can still make some friendly comments and even ask about weather and talk geography.

Outbound calls are not so easy.  Calling existing customers offers several chances to build rapport.  Agents can ask how the client­s evening is going, thank them (sincerely) for taking the call or for the loyalty they have had.  They can ask how the product is working for the client (if most clients are happy with the products they have).

Outbound telemarketing calls are the most difficult for reaching any decent level of rapport.  Here are a few tips for these difficult calls.

Read More »

Are Customers Reacting Negatively To Your Questions? Try a Positioning Statement.

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Would you like to hear one of the simplest sales techniques ever thought up? It is called a Positioning Statement. Here goes.  Mrs. Jackson, as we take care of your account today, I­ll be asking you some questions, just to make sure we get you everything you need. It seems too simple to be effective, or worth trying, but read on.

Why do so many sales opportunities go unclosed? There are a number of reasons and they all start with the early part of the call. The best sales formula includes an assertive, confident close. Sales people will not close confidently, however, unless they have just made a strong, urgent and appealing product offer, tailored to the customer­s needs and issues. Sales people cannot make a tailored product offer, however, unless they first get to know the caller. They cannot get to know the caller without questions and lots of customers do not like to answer questions, especially if they are unsure about the sales person­s purpose, or if they think a sales pitch is coming. By stating that you  will likely be asking some questions, most customers will not mind answering them when they hear a few. It will just make sense to them. You told them you were going to ask some questions. You asked some questions. No worries. Read More »

Telemarketers: “I’m Not Interested.”

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

Being in the industry, I understand the vital role that telemarketing centers play for many organizations. What I will never understand is how easy it is to get off the phone with most telemarketers when they call. We all have our typical way of trying to dust off telemarketing attempts, especially if they call during dinner. If I am not in the mood to speak to a telemarketer, in a somewhat strong voice, I say, “Not interested, thank you.” That’s my thing. I don’t even have to think about it. What troubles me is just how well that statement, or any objection statement, works. The percentage of telemarketing associates that are stumped by, “Not interested, thank you,” baffles me. How can they not expect it? How can that one stump them?

We have several ideas that can help your telemarketers immediately. First, be ready for an objection. Don’t cause objections by taking too long to make your offer, but be ready. When you hear an objection, thank the caller or acknowledge the concern . “Thanks for sharing that with me.” The caller will be surprised and likely stay on the line a little longer. “I realize that you may not initially be interested.” Acknowledging takes away the caller’s power. She can still hang up, but if she doesn’t, she is going to listen to your offer. Read More »

Permission To Sell? You Already Have It

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

We have all heard a telephone associate say, “Before I let you go, can I tell you about a promotion we’re offering?” Doesn’t that question make you a little itchy, just reading this article? That is what permission questions do on the phone as well. Some say, “It’s the only polite way to begin selling.” The only thing we know for sure is that a single permission question can eliminate up to 80% of your prospective clients from buying. That’s because eight of ten callers will be off the phone before we can say, “Have a nice day.”

Why do we train our telephone agents to ask permission?

Unless this is a union requirement or a state commission demand, there is no need for this unproductive step. We already have permission to speak with the caller. We are speaking to the caller. No matter what the offer is going to be, we just tell them about it, why it is valuable for them to have it, and ask them to purchase it. Permission isn’t necessary anywhere in this process. By the way, phrases like, “Before I let you go,” or “While I have you on the phone,” are also counterproductive. They remind the caller he doesn’t really need to stay on the line any longer. We recommend avoiding these catch phrases. Read More »

Why Make A Sales Offer On Every Call?

Monday, December 21st, 2009

We often hear telephone associates wondering aloud why they have to make a sales offer every time they speak to a caller. They say, “I can tell who is going to buy and who isn’t.” Unfortunately, the research that we have done just doesn’t back that statement. If you observe telephone calls on a regular basis, you will hear very friendly callers saying, “No,” to sales offers and many less friendly, somewhat distant callers saying, “Yes.” The truth is that you just can’t tell who is going to say, “Yes,” until you make the offer.

More than that, however, every caller deserves (yes, I said “deserves”) a sales offer from a telephone associate. Here are a few reasons to make a sales offer on every all. Read More »

Your Price Objection Is Less Than You Think

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Your customer tells you that $2395.00 for that product is more than they wanted to spend.  Mike, I just can­t fork out that much money right now, even though I know these cabinets have all the bells and whistles.

At this point, should you try to justify the price with more Value? Should you drop the price? Should you look for a different buyer with more money? So many difficult choices, and so little time.

Before you do anything, keep this in mind. Without realizing it, most sales people will respond as if they had a $2395.00 price objection. They do not. How much is the actual price objection? The difference between $2395.00 and the number the customer has in her head that she wanted to spend. If she is thinking about a competitor­s cabinets that sell for $1695.00, the sales associate has a $700.00 objection. If the client decided that she can­t spend more than $2000.00, the sales associate has a $395.00 objection. Read More »

Why Not Try A Fallback Offer?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

If your call center makes selling attempts in any capacity, Fallback Offers can significantly increase your total sales and your average revenue per sale. Fallback Offers are not new, but few call centers maximize this important sales tool. By implementing the ideas in this article, your center can be well on its way to your best sales year ever.

What is a Fallback Offer?

A Fallback Offer is a second sales offer that follows an initial offer. When a caller rejects the initial sales offer, the telephone associate makes a second offer that is usually smaller in scope and reduced in price. For example, an airline sales associate may offer the “Premium Travel Package,” which includes first-class seating, upgraded meals and vouchers to various events. If rejected, the associate may make a Fallback Offer on a lower-priced package that doesn’t include the upgraded meals, and may have only business-class seats. Read More »

B2B Selling: What Do Small Businesses Think About All Day Long?

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Recently, I was listening to client calls at their Inbound sales call center. They sell bank products like checks, endorsement stamps, deposit slips and other such items. They also sell promotional products like pens, shirts, notepads and other items their clients can purchase with their own logo nicely printed on the product. Many companies use some products like these to promote business.

After listening to a few dozen calls, I noticed something that each sales associate did on virtually every call. After the customer ordered their bank checks, the sales associate would make four additional product offers, one at a time, all centered around bank products.  And will you be needing an endorsement stamp today? Okay, how are you doing on deposit slips? Fine, and what about envelopes? And how is the check binder holding up? After four answers of  No (in most cases), the caller was tired of being on the phone and had absolutely no interest in hearing about the promotional products. Read More »

Telephone Sales Mastery: Outbound Fundamentals

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

The following fundamentals come directly from our Telephone Sales Mastery workshop. These ideas and suggestions can help you make better use of every customer contact.  Please e-mail us when you have had success with any of the tips that follow.

Tip No. 1: Avoid using brand jargon and technical acronyms when speaking to callers.

Saying, “Our X1000 Plan works with Series R and Series S type systems,” doesn’t usually peak a potential buyer’s interest, especially on the telephone. Stay away from brand jargon as much as possible. Jargon and technical acronyms are problems. When a caller doesn’t understand what we’re saying, he/she will get bored or anxious quickly. And that’s a hang-up waiting to happen. If it is absolutely necessary to use brand jargon in a conversation, make sure you define it or explain it right after you mention it. Read More »