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Posts Tagged ‘Closing More Sales’

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 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.