As a customer, I frequently come across up-sell and cross-sell offers when calling a company for service, and I'm often struck by how poorly this bridge is crossed by the agent. As soon as we move from the customer service transaction into the sales pitch, the agents tend to lose all confidence. Consequently, they tend to lose the sale.
I feel for them. I was once upon a time a fledgling salesperson myself and I know it can be daunting. Plus, I've also consulted with countless clients whose call center agents face the same thing.
But it doesn't have to be this way. Confidence is as important to this job as the ability to navigate through the computer screens. In the hopes that it will help all those customer service agents who pitch additional products to me, here are some confidence-building tips related to telesales:
Tip #1: Sales is about service. Your job is to find out if I have a need that your product can meet. Or a problem that you can solve. In either case, you're not just selling—you're serving me! (By the way, I can't go without a mention of Impact Learning System's key course for this topic: Sales—The Other Side of Service™. It's proven very successful in helping customer service reps embrace their role as salesperson.)
Tip #2: You're an ambassador, not just an agent. As a customer, I'm not calling you; I'm calling the big (or not), successful company that you work for. And since this company has presumably developed, branded, marketed, and sold a product that appeals to thousands, perhaps millions, of people, I expect its employees to have some confidence and expertise. So, even if you have to pretend for awhile until it becomes real to you, project this confidence when selling to me.
Tip #3: Diagnose your own discomfort—and then treat it. Given that you do a great job on the customer service portion of the call, why do you suddenly become hesitant and insecure when making the sales offer? Why does the pitch and pacing of your voice suddenly change? Typical reasons behind a lack of confidence in selling include insufficient product knowledge, uncertainty about the value of the product, and a feeling of being inferior to the customer—all of which can be overcome.