Successful businesses build their call centers on a foundation of talent, technology, and training. Employing competent sales talent and providing them with proper training will set your company up for success. Productive and efficient teams also have access to the right technology. Automated utilities, such as auto dialer software for call centers, help keep your team on track to hit your sales goals.
Today’s post is a refresher on some of the “common sense” tips — the things managers often take for granted that most sales representatives know — coupled with technology.
Phone Etiquette for Call Centers
The first few seconds of a call set the tone for the entire conversation. Your call center agents need to convey the right message about the company and set the tone immediately. If your sales representative had an in-person meeting you would want them to have a professional appearance and be courteous; ensure that your reps carry this mentality over into their calls. Here are a few ground rules your team should follow when on a call. Some should be common sense, but it never hurts to put it in writing.
- Address the prospect as Mr. or Ms. _____ unless they say otherwise.
- When placing someone on hold, tell them why and provide an expected hold time.
- Express gratitude for their patience when returning from a hold.
- If a call has to be transferred to someone else, the agent should explain why and let them know who they will be speaking with next.
- No eating, smoking, or gum chewing on a call. This should be common sense, but it’s pretty important.
- Ensure that your reps are competent and prepared. Prospects will see the time spent on the call as wasted if the caller is ill prepared, leading to an immediate loss of the chance of a sale.
- Consistency is key. Every caller should portray the same company message and persona.
- At the end of the call, the caller should open up the conversation for any other questions and then reiterate the next step in the sales process. Allowing them another chance to speak will portray a sense of caring beyond presenting the pitch and rushing to get off of the phone.
- Never interrupt, and let them hang up first. The prospect may have another question, and if the rep hangs up first, they chance cutting them off mid-sentence.
Auto Dialer Software and Other Useful Tools for Call Centers
Technology that makes a salesperson’s job easier is one of the best investments a business can make. By providing your team with the proper tools, you give your reps more time to do what you hired them for – to make as many quality sales calls as possible. Here are three features VanillaSoft offers to make your sales team more productive and efficient.
Auto Dialer – The auto dial feature keeps your salespeople on track and on the phone as much as possible. With both progressive (the next best contact is dialed automatically) and preview/click-to-call (caller can review contact info before initiating the next call) dialing, these features increase call volume by 35%-100%.
Voice Drop – This feature frees up time for your inside sales team. Instead of sitting through a voicemail prompt and then taking 30 seconds or more to leave a message, voice drop allows the caller to queue up a pre-recorded voicemail and move on to the next call.
Logical Branch Scripting – Keep your messaging consistent by providing your callers with a winning script. As the conversation progresses, logical branch scripting reflects the prospect’s responses and where they are in the buying cycle.
In addition to saving time and energy for the salesperson, VanillaSoft allows management to easily monitor their team’s efforts and the status of leads. These are only three of our many powerful sales tools. Check out VanillaSoft’s other best-in-class features here.
Practical Inside Sales Techniques for the Call Center
We’ve covered call center phone etiquette along with a few valuable VanillaSoft features that can simplify your agents’ jobs. Next, let’s review some useful inside sales techniques that your call center agents can use to move prospects and leads closer to a purchase decision. You’re probably familiar with many of these, but a few may be new to you.
Tips for the team
- Smile when speaking. The contact should feel like the caller is happy to talk with them. A smile really does shine through in your voice.
- Speak more slowly. When people are nervous, their cadence tends to speed up. Encourage your team to slow down to make their speech sound more natural.
- Allow for a moment of silence after making a statement or finishing the pitch. That second or two carries a lot of power.
- Use the prospect’s name. It personalizes the call and builds familiarity with the prospect.
- Use verbal cues like “yes” and “uh-huh” to let the contact know you’re paying attention.
- Repeat prospect’s words or phrases to show understanding.
- Empathize with the contact to build trust and rapport.
- Set up a clean workspace free of distractions and clutter. This will help you stay focused on the objective of selling.
Tips for managers
- Provide your team with sales software that has minimal distractions (bells and whistles you don’t need or use). Most CRM solutions provide too many features that confuse or distract callers. VanillaSoft limits distractions and facilitates more productive and efficient sales calls.
- Monitor and review sales calls for needed improvements. Management can do this for the team, but consider giving your sales reps the option to do this on their own too.
- Role play with your agents to help them perfect their pitch. Get sales reps to regularly practice together, too.
- Encourage your team to read blogs, articles, and books about sales success every chance they get. You can even send out a daily or weekly email with content to fuel their learning and provide some motivation.
- Train your team on social selling tactics for relationship building. Simply reviewing a contact’s social accounts before a call can reveal a common interest or hobby that they can use to connect with them.
Working in sales in a call center can be difficult without the face-to-face interaction that sales reps out in the field get. However, following the tips and techniques listed above, combined with tools like auto dialer software, can make it easier for your team to close more deals. Do you have any methods or tips that work for your sales reps that you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below.