Call Center Training Solutions

Call Center Training Solutions Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Improving Sales Performance’

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 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.