To work in sales, you have to be able to talk a good game. Or so the story goes.
Certainly, the power of persuasion is integral to good salesmanship. But at InfoCision (News - Alert), those who train the company’s customer service representatives also teach the power of listening.
It’s part of an approach to sales called “The Selling Tree,” a proprietary program dedicated to teaching InfoCision’s Communicators how to maximize selling points during every call and drive revenue for clients.
The best example is if you saw an ad or a commercial for widgets. If you called in and spoke with one of our Communicators about the widget, they’d be asking questions and doing a lot of listening. ‘What piqued your curiosity about the widget? How would your life be better with the widget?’ Once we find those things out, we move forward from there, hopefully to a conclusion where you agree to purchase the widget.
InfoCision’s sales training is a big piece to our puzzle, and an important tool that is going to help our clients drive sales and grow.
Tricks of the trade
One of the key aspects of The Selling Tree is a two-pronged approach aimed at connecting with the caller both on a rational level and an emotional level. The rational level relies on the Communicator having a thorough knowledge of the product, then using that knowledge to position the product as useful to the customer.
Communicators are assigned to an account and go through additional training to gain a thorough, inside-and-out understanding of the client’s product lines. Once the Communicator has asked the customer the questions regarding interest in the product, the Communicator can then discuss how the product can improve some aspect of the customer’s life.
InfoCision’s Communicators can appeal to a customer’s sense of rationality with product comparisons and hard facts, but the sales effort also has to appeal to a customer on an emotional level. If a customer can get pumped up about a product, the odds of closing the sale go up.
Throughout the sales training module, Communicators are instructed to use impactful language that grabs and holds the customer’s attention, without sounding preachy or delving into the type of histrionics stereotypically associated with used-car salesmen.
The approach is straightforward. Communicators are instructed to speak to the caller as if speaking to a friend or family member — friendly and casual, while projecting a sense of enthusiasm about the product. The Communicator must also continuously demonstrate a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the customer’s business.
People are calling for different reasons initially. Some people are calling because they’re specifically interested in a product they saw advertised. They are looking to buy right off the bat. But you also have customers calling for additional information on a product they already own, and there are those who are calling because they’ve had a negative experience or who feel like they can’t do business with the client anymore for various reasons.
Those callers might want to cancel or change their current product and service plan, and not only do we want them to continue doing business with the client, we want them to have a complete turnaround and actually do more business.
Pleasing customers is a matter of meeting their needs and, if possible, exceeding them.
When a customer calls in with a problem, that’s especially challenging, and the training provided by The Selling Tree program gives InfoCision’s Communicators the tools to turn a potential negative into a positive gain. It takes a thorough knowledge of the client’s product and an ability to get to the root of the caller’s issue in the span of a few questions.
Communicators are coached to find out why a caller wants to do a certain thing, such as changing or canceling a plan, and then direct the call accordingly from that point. If they are trying to cancel, it may be because they’re moving and think the service won’t be available at their new residence. But that might be an assumption. There might be a way to continue the service, and that’s what InfoCision’s Communicators need to figure out. If they can, they might make the customer’s day, and that customer might become a loyal customer that stays with the client for years. This is why it’s so important to dig deeper and develop that connection with the caller.
Customer satisfaction doesn’t only mean rectifying a negative situation. It can also mean making a decent situation a great one.
If a caller is utilizing a competing product or service, even in an area not connected to the original purpose of the call, InfoCision’s customer service representatives are still coached to be curious. Communicators ask questions about the product, about whether it is meeting the customer’s needs and, above all, if the customer is happy with the performance and price point. If the answer lacks certainty, there is a sales opportunity, and Communicators can investigate further. It could be that the caller is OK with his or her current service or product but could be thrilled with a competing service or product.
Ultimately, The Selling Tree program works because it develops a sales culture within InfoCision’s organization. Everyone is focused on driving sales by meeting customer needs. Supervisors and executives are also focused on maximizing sales opportunities. When all levels of the organization are working toward that common goal, it drives revenue for both the clients and for InfoCision.
Having a comprehensive sales training and implementation program creates an environment where everybody is speaking the same language and moving in the same direction. That’s important in this day and age, where everyone is fighting for the last consumer dollar.
Michael Shonk is vice president of commercial operations at InfoCision Management Corporation. InfoCision is a leading provider of contact center solutions for many verticals including direct response, consumer services, B2B, financial services, pharmaceutical and telecommunications, as well as providing inbound and outbound marketing for nonprofit, religious and political organizations. You can reach Michael at 330-670-5166 or [email protected].
Edited by Stefania Viscusi