SALES SUPPORT IN THE OFFICE
Whilst it is of paramount importance to have a company’s field forces well trained and skilled in all facets of achieving sales, it is of equal importance to have a competent support team in the office as sales support, securing a steady and rewarding income for the company.
This staff need to understand, that a contact or customer who requires more attention is not an aggravation on the job, but the purpose of everything. Therefore, complete sales training is required with subsequent reward for competency in the shape of commission, bonus, override etc., exactly like the outside field forces.
The staff are not mere ‘office girls’ as they need to have the same product knowledge and have to relate well to customers. An office person, who is popular with customers, is one of the biggest assets a sales department can have.
Beside adequate financial incentives, these team members need an agreeable
working environment that will reflect in their pleasant voice when answering a telephone call and convert an enquiry into a sale.
How can they optimize their skill? Most likely when using the telephone. But even for this seemingly simple activity, things may be handled wrongly, creating bad atmosphere at the other end of the line. This optimisation of the behaviour, is being explained here in concise form.
To answer the phone right after the first ring, is a little too early. Because at that time, your caller does not expect you lifting the receiver quite so soon. He is taken aback. Better, you pick up the phone after the second ring, thereby winning a little time to clear your previous thoughts and to concentrate on the new conversation at hand.
The proper greeting is most important. Boring your audience with an infinite manta a la "A very good morning to you and welcome to John Brown Pty. Ltd.
I am Mary Smith – how may I help you?" This sentence may be well-intentioned is indeed well-intentioned, but too long for most listeners, causing
a range of emotions, from impatience to aggression. On the other hand, the greeting "John Brown Pty. Ltd. Mary speaking” may be perceived as somewhat terse and unfriendly under certain circumstances.
The right balance should include the name of your company, your name and a short greeting such as: "John Brown Pty. Ltd., Mary speaking, what can I do for you?" (Making the caller think: Good, she's willing to listen to me).
And now, let’s deal with the positive and solution–friendly conversation.
It happens quite often that the caller is at the wrong extension. When this happens, the spontaneous reflex "I cannot help you, I'm not in charge here," should be suppressed and we need to consider instead who can help the caller. Suggest to the caller directly linking him to the correct person. This eliminates the initial negative impression and the caller still feels well cared for!
Avoid negative messages at all cost.
We often tend to give statements on a negative connotation. For example: "Unfortunately, the product is no longer available" or "The guarantee is given for only two years." By using the words "only" and "unfortunately" we create a negative undertone. Try to omit these simple little words - the result is a neutral statement - without the negative connotation.
Questions instead of commanding phrases.
Phrases like "Then I need you ..." cause the caller to sense apparent resistance. Better, ascertain the kind of information that is required. A particular challenge is often written confirmation of an order. Instead of "I need this in writing from you", you can say, for example, "Would you be so kind sending me the information by email?" A kind request gets the same result with better feelings, right?
Elegant return to somebody on hold.
What is better than "Hello? Are you still there?" The caller should be called again by his name and thanked for waiting.
The right attitude towards the caller.
On the phone, the caller does not see you, however, your transmitted voice can convey a range of emotions and tells more about your attitude than you would like. Thus, you should always sit upright or even stand. That way, the sound of your voice will be well-rounded, pleasant and making you sound confident and friendly.
How to avoid repetitions.
Some callers tend to repeat themselves because they are afraid of not conveying their message clearly enough. The best technique of overcoming this is by summing things up. Confirm the dates, statements and important points your customer made from notes you jotted down. This will convince the caller that his matter is well-understood and that there is no need for further repeats.
Concluding an elegant and impressive telephone conversation.
Often, the best way is a combination of expressing thanks and best wishes to the caller. This technique works very well on the phone at the end of a long enquiry or sales conversation. "Thank you for calling (or for your order) and have a nice day / a nice week / fun on holiday / good luck with your project." This way, you manage a friendly, outgoing conversation which ensures that the caller feels comfortable and positive.