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Telesales: Is Confidence A Lost Art? Vasudha Deming

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.

Vasudha leads the Per­for­mance Solu­tions Team at Impact Learn­ing Sys­tems, reg­u­larly work­ing with lead­ing com­pa­nies to improve per­for­mance of their customer-facing ser­vice, sup­port, and sales teams. She is a lead devel­oper of Impact's suite of train­ing courses and has authored four books, includ­ing the pop­u­lar Big Book of Cus­tomer Ser­vice Train­ing Games, all pub­lished by McGraw-Hill.
5 Telesales: Is Confidence A Lost Art?
Vasudha Deming
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