8 Ways to Improve Your Telephone Sales Skills
A post from our Sales blog
Written by Ashley Andrews
When you're on the phone, selling your company's product and ultimately earning the commission that helps you live a happy life on pay day, it's important to realise the full potential that telesales can offer.
Building a good rapport with customers is an excellent way of closing a deal, and in some cases, finding a route to offer more to the customer which could lead to a better sale for you and your employer.
But how can you improve your telesales skills and ensure that you're closing as many leads as you can? Keep on reading for our top eight tips.
1. Know your product and your pitch
If you're planning on spending time on the phone, looking to sell any product, then you need to know exactly what you're selling – and why you're selling it. Failure to adhere to this simple principle could prove to be your undoing.
We've all had customers on the line who need to know every facet of a product or service before they part with their hard-earned money, so it's imperative that you know your product down to the tee well before you take to the phones. It's not just a case of knowing what you're selling, though. You need to have thought of why the person on the other end of the telephone really needs this product or service.
Once you've established these points, then you can start to think of your pitch. Having a pre-thought pitch can be a good way to boost sales, as it will contain all the important notes on what you're selling, why they need it and it will make you look professional. Of course, that doesn't mean that you need to have a pre-written script. Far from it. But having a well thought-out plan of attack can help you close your lead.
2. Stand up and smile
A lot can be said for a phone call where the person on the other end sounds happy to be talking to you, and leaving this impression on potential client can have a positive impact on how you sell to them.
If you were e a door-to-door salesperson and you were looking to sell your product, you wouldn't look at them with a sparse grin and shrug your shoulders – you'd smile, be authoritative yet warm and you'd try to draw them in. The same principles apply to a telesales environment with just a few adjustments of your current working practice.
Standing is a great way to start. You don't have to stand all day, but having a straight back can not only help your demeanour in selling, but it will also help with your voice. Sitting in a slumped position can lead to a hesitated sound from your throat, while a standing position
can help to clear all airways and allow for a clearer, more welcoming tone.
And then you've got to smile. Having a smile on your face can instantly help with your tone and allow those on the other end of the telephone to know that you're interested in what they have to say and that you enjoy your job.
3. Don't hesitate to move around
Let's not go overboard here. You're not Usain Bolt. But there's no reason why you can't use hand gestures as you would in a face-to-face setting. Being free to move in your working environment can help your mood on a call, but can also help you to improve your pitch and methods of sales.
Many of us talk with our hands, and it's these hand gestures that can often help us to get our point across – acting as a catalyst for a point that you're trying to make. Of course, those you're speaking to won't be able to see your hands, but if it acts as an aid to helping you to close a deal, then there's no harm in doing so.
Much with the standing method, being free to walk (even if it's just one pace to the left or right) can help. The more comfortable you are, the more positive and welcoming you will sound on the phone and the more that those you're speaking to will feel warm in your company and buy your product.
4. Make sure that you're really listening
You're no agony aunt, but an excellent way to improve your telesales is to show that you're really listening
to what others have to say. Even if it's just asking how their week has been and having a small conversation on that front can be enough to break the ice and allow for a smoother, and often quicker sales call.
If you're selling a product, people will always have questions and to answer those queries both clearly and concisely is important, but it counts for nothing if you've not listened properly. You need to make sure that you're giving the client your time if they're going to give you their hard-earned money.
Customers may even have reservations over buying your product, despite sounding keen to do so. Make sure that you're an effective sound board for their fears
and allay them with your knowledge of the product. Put yourself in their shoes. Is it a good idea for them to have your product? Yes? Well, tell them your thoughts. No? Don't push the envelope. Let them make their minds up but leave the client appreciating your honesty.
5. Mirror their mood
We've all had those calls when we're speaking with a number of potential clients who are all holding different emotions. It's important that we can clearly recognise what the mood of our telephone counterpart is portraying in order to mirror their mood.
If you've got a happy, conversational client on the other end of the telephone, then it is much easier to close a deal if you're happy and forthcoming, and others will respond well to you and they'll be more open with you. However, if you're talking with a more direct, serious client then don't beat around the bush. They're not in for the long haul, so keep it quick and keep it concise.
If you can successfully mirror moods, you stand a good chance with increasing your sales figures. It's a case of being more personable, and it's a trait that we all do without thinking if we're in the same room as someone else – so why not do the same while on a call?
6. Don't forget your common courtesy
Manners are often forgotten in a sales department, where the key target is to sell as many products as possible. It's one thing having a good approach to your pitch, but simple courtesies can be the difference between you selling and being left with an unsold opportunity. Don't abandon your niceties when you're on the phone and especially if you're looking to build a working rapport with the person you are speaking with. It sounds fairly straightforward, but it will help with your professional tone.
Have you spoken over your client? Apologise and allow them to continue. Have you just sneezed or coughed? Apologise. The more personable you are, the better. And never forget to thank them for their time and tell them to have a good day. Why not ask what they've got planned, if the call allows? You're making a lasting impression which could lead to more sales than just your call.
7. Ask for permission with questions
Not all clients will respond well to you asking a number of questions, so it's a good idea to prepare them for the fact that you're going to ask questions. For example:
"I'm just looking at your file and I need some additional information. Are you happy for me to ask you some questions regarding this?"
This method will not only help the client to feel more comfortable and help them to know exactly what is expected of them next, but it will add an extra air of comfort to your entire call and let those on the end of the phone know that you're just doing your job – you're not going to ask anything that they don't want to answer.
This is a good tool to employ if you need to ask any questions of a sensitive nature. Many people get a bit upset at disclosing any answers regarding wages or money, so easing them into such questions can be a good way of getting the information that you need while maintaining the boundaries that your client appreciates.
8. Don't hang up first
It's a good rule, and one that all telesales personnel should think about. If you're selling a product, and you've followed the previous seven steps to the tee, then the last thing you're going to want to do is hang up before your client and give off an impression that you were in a hurry to get off of the phone.
Let them hang up first. Let the caller feel that they hold some control into the conversation and allow them to say their goodbyes and leave you as they wish. It may be the difference of a few seconds, but if they think of a late question, then you're either going to miss that question and hinder your sale or, worse, cut them off just as they're about to ask you something.
There's no rush. Getting your sale is more important than anything, so make sure that the responsibility to hang up is with the caller and not yourself. Even if it's 5pm on a Friday afternoon and you want to get home for the weekend. Word of mouth is important, so make sure that the caller has the best possible impression of you and your company.
Do you agree with this article, or do you think that there are alternative methods to improve your telephone sales skills?