So, how do you teach interaction and smoothness?
I feel that a busy call center is the worst environment for teaching sales. A cool and relaxing environment where people can focus on interaction is much better. I study dream analysis which is the study of symbology. My dream dictionary says that a coffee house or coffee in a dream represents stimulation and interaction. I feel that sales should be taught in a coffee house. Lesson one should be how to call someone on the phone and smoothly engage them in a conversation. Talk about THEM and what they are doing. They might ask about you, and what you are doing. NOTICE that we have done a lot of talking and not yet talked about what we are selling — this is good.
Did you forget that you were selling something? — GOOD!
When people get to know you and like you, they are now willing to talk to you LONGER, and have put their defenses down, which makes it easier for you to talk about what you are selling while they are still in a good mood.
Learn the art of asking questions
You can practice this in the cafe with your sales mentor. You pretend you are on the phone with them, and you could even hold real phones to your ear to make it realistic. You could joke with the people at the next table to lighten the mood — and the key here is to keep the mood light. People are bothered by salespeople, so if you are the one salesperson who keeps the mood light, they will be less repulsted by you — they might even like you! Think positive!
This dialogue below is very casual. It might be considered inappropriate for larger companies, but smaller companies have the luxury of developing their own “corporate” style which could be very informal. Many people in America really like a relaxed and folksy (informal) way of chatting.
You can practice a dialogue: Let’s say that Ravi and his trainor Ramesh are hanging out at Barrista’s somewhere in India. Ramesh pretends to be the prospective client who is a manager at a company somewhere overseas.
Ravi: Hi this is Ravi from Aleppi Call Center, may I speak to Candace please? (a professional introduction is a must)
Candace: Hi, this is Candy, how may I help you? (Candace uses her informal name variation)
Ravi: So, how is everything going today? …. (if Candace is really busy, this casual approach will backfire)
Candace: Oh, just busy doing emails as usual. I feel like a slave in this office.
Ravi: I know how you feel, that is why I do most of my work from a local cafe. We have all become friends here at the cafe.
(Ravi smoothly lightens the mood)
Candace: That sounds like so much fun, if only I could do that
Ravi: You can always pretend that you are at a cafe when you are trapped in a stressful office
(Ravi has a witty and cool response to every statement Candace has made so far if you have noticed)
Candace: That is so true, I’ll remember that… By the way, what is your call about?
Ravi: Oh, right — “purpose”. It is so much fun chatting, that I almost forgot that we are supposed to talk about something productive! (funny comments make the other person feel relaxed) We run a large and well reputed call center in Kerela, (this line adds professionalism) and we were curious to know if your company feels overburdened in any way in regards to the volume of calls, emails, or technical support issues. I noticed that you mentioned that you were buried in emails, we have staff members who specialize in answering emails, and we can train them to answer them exactly how you would like them answered.
Candace: Hmm, that is very interesting Ravi. We have never hired an outside company to do anything like this for us. I have never thought about this even briefly…
Ravi: Certain repetetive tasks are easy for outside companies to assist you with. More specialized tasks requiring a deeper knowledge of your core competencies (notice that Ravis uses MBA terms with ease) are better left to a skilled manager at the mother company in our experience. Does your company have any types of tasks that you consider to be repetetive that drain your labor resources? (notice that Ravi does more asking than telling — he LISTENS)
Candace: Hmmm, once again you have got me thinking again, usually I operate in auto-pilot when in the workplace. Hmmm….. thinking… Actually, we do have some repetetive emails, and from time to time some annoying phone calls. Does your company like annoying work?
Ravi: We actually thrive on that — the more annoying, the more we enjoy it. (Ravi adds humor once again to win over the mood of the prospect). We are actually so used to busy work over here, that we don’t even notice how repetetive it is. (Ravi adds a psychological sales pitch here making his company look very seasoned and reliable). We are actually very flexible at our company. We cater to companies small and large alike. We can come up with an introductary plan to meet your specific needs which seem to change by the week. (flexibility is a huge factor when dealing with smaller companies with unstable workloads). We can handle your overflow whenever you need it, so that you can relax and smell the roses a little more. Why don’t we set up a time to go over what your specific tasks are and what they entail. Once I know what the tasks involved are, I can give you approximate billing details. Do you think you could itemize the type of tasks that you need done?
Candace: I never thought about that. I guess I could work on that tomorrow. I’ll itemize all of the work that we might need you for.
Ravi: That sounds great!
What can we learn?
A larger company would need a more formal approach as I mentioned before. But, Ravi smooth-talked this lady. He was friendly, funny, and involved her in a conversation before talking about business. He got her to interact with him which is critical. He asked questions, listened, and provided business solutions that were tailor make for her. Keep in mind that large companies have untrained workers rattle off sales slogans about how they provide tailored and customized solutions to their clients. If you talk more to these salespeople you will find that they have two million clients and only three choices and trust me — these three choices are standardized and there is nothing customized about them. Rather than making too many generalized claims about your product, make specific claims that pertain to the prospect. After this dialogue is over, Ravi will have to brush up on his follow up skills which are equally important as the initial sales call.
Can you teach your salespeople to be as smooth as Ravi?
Some people just don’t have it in them to sell anything. So, you have to start out with people who have potential. The next stage is to get your trainee to relax. Tension doesn’t sell anything. Teaching interaction is hard, because that derives from a person’s individual style. But, you can try to train someone to make smooth conversation, and witty remarks from time to time. The path to smoothness is a hard road, but a little training could go a long way!
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