Think about the number of calls made and received by your sales and customer service teams every day.
One of the best things you can do to improve your bottom-line business results is to make every call count. Too much business is lost because of:
- Delayed responses
- Poor messaging
- Lack of persistence
- Inefficient use of resources
- Missed opportunities to sell or up-sell.
Here are ten simple things you can do to improve your over-the-phone customer experience. Read to the end and you’ll find a link to TEN MORE!
1. Spend more time on phone scripts than sales materials.
How many customer interactions take place in person versus over the phone? If you’re not sure, ask your sales and client service reps.
For some businesses, the ratio can be as high as nine phone calls to every one in-person meeting.
If you spend most of your time developing materials and training to support in-person meetings and very little on calls, rethink the balance. Put more effort into creating things that will improve a higher percentage of customer experiences, including:
- Cold calling scripts
- Ideas for casual “catch-up” calls
- Training on how to make interactions over the phone more effective
- Answers to frequently asked questions
- Sales support materials that can be emailed or viewed through shared screen experiences.
Did you know: A sales enablement system like the one offered by Mobile Locker makes it easy to access tools, scripts, and other resources any time you get a call?
2. Be patient, persistent and determined.
Reps often give up on reaching prospects after one or two attempts. However, research shows it can take between eight to ten calls to actually get someone on the phone.
They may NOT be avoiding you. They might just be busy.
Giving up on prospects after too few attempts will result in lost sales. Don’t stop trying until you hear an actual “no” or you’re absolutely clear that prospects are avoiding you.
3. Limit lunchtime calls.
Some salespeople make the mistake of calling prospects and clients during their lunch hours. Reps believe it’s a time when people are less likely to be busy working, making it more likely they’ll answer the phone.
The opposite is often true. Many people use their lunch breaks to get caught up, making it one of the busiest times of the day. That means they’re more likely to ignore calls.
Try reaching people first thing in the morning or late in the day. They may be more willing to talk over their morning coffee or when the workday is winding down.
4. Be responsive.
Many purchasers reach out because of an immediate issue. They require a product or service right away or in the near future. For them, dollars are more likely to be spent with the provider that responds first with a reasonable solution to their need.
Have a plan in place for answering inbound calls and requests in a quick, efficient and responsive way. Develop call scripts and answers to frequently asked questions so sales reps are prepared to provide quality responses to urgent requests. It will go a long way toward closing more deals on the spot.
5. Follow-up early and often.
Reps often make only one or two follow-up calls after sales meetings before giving up on prospects. It’s a BIG mistake.
Buyers are busy, or may require multiple levels of approval before completing a purchase. Be persistent and keep in touch until you get a “yes” or “no”.
6. Don’t limit calls to Monday.
Reps come off the weekend ready to close sales or connect with clients.
The issue: Clients are ready to get back to work and tackle projects on Monday (and Tuesday), as well. That makes them less likely to take calls.
Try connecting on Wednesday or Thursday, when the “new week buzz” is over. People will be more likely to take a break to answer the phone. Some prospects and clients may be open to taking sales calls on Friday or over the weekend when they’re not focused on important tasks. Check with prospects and clients to see if this is a good option for them.
7. Hire temps to handle less critical calls.
Is it absolutely necessary to use your best (or even good) sales reps to cold call or handle service requests? Probably not.
Why not hire part-time, less experienced sales or service people to do these tasks? Train them well to maintain your company’s brand. Come up with ways to seamlessly transfer calls to more experienced peers when opportunities seem like they could turn into sales. This is a good way to optimize your sales budget by using your top talent to close deals.
8. Learn from the best.
Do you have reps who are exceptionally good on the phone? Why not tap into their knowledge to train other members of the team?
Be thoughtful when you ask them to share their trade secrets. Many salespeople are reluctant to give up their hard-learned lessons. Offer them an incentive for doing so. Or find ways to unobtrusively observe how they work to learn what makes them so good.
9. Invest in sales.
Are you demanding too much from your sales reps? When this happens, the first thing many give up is making calls — or they become less persistent in their follow-ups.
This usually leads to fewer new deals and less repeat business. The money saved on hiring staff could be costing much more in reduced sales revenue.
10. Don’t waste time talking to the wrong people.
If you’re purchasing lists or getting referrals from friends and family members, you could be talking to the wrong people
In the typical firm, only a small percentage of employees are empowered to make purchasing decisions. Speaking to anyone else (or trying to reach them) is a waste of time. Do research on company websites or through social media to make sure you’re only connecting with decision makers or people who influence them.
Check out 10 MORE things you can do to improve your phone sales results in our next post!