Using Call Center Sales Training to Help Your Team Upsell (Without Losing Your Team in the Process)


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Call cen­ters can be profit mak­ers or losers, depend­ing on how they’re run and the type of com­pany they’re used for. Com­monly, call cen­ters are focused on cus­tomer ser­vice and used to help cus­tomers solve prob­lems or find solu­tions – which may be great for the brand and prod­uct, but this sin­gu­lar pur­pose can turn a call cen­ter into a money pit for the company’s bot­tom line. A pop­u­lar solu­tion is sim­ply to com­bine the call cen­ter into a “cus­tomer service/sales cen­ter,” mean­ing – just have the reps upsell and we’ll start to make money.

Sounds sim­ple, right?

In the­ory, yes. How­ever, in prac­tice, com­pa­nies that attempt to con­vert their cus­tomer ser­vice teams into a sales force, with­out the proper call cen­ter sales train­ing, may soon be sur­prised to see another num­ber as part of their met­rics: turnover rates.

The truth is that sim­ply ask­ing call cen­ter employ­ees to upsell, cross-sell, or “add on that war­ranty” dur­ing their con­ver­sa­tions with dis­grun­tled or con­fused cus­tomers callers is not as sim­ple as it sounds. Sell­ing requires a new par­a­digm shift and atti­tude, and it’s likely that the major­ity of cus­tomer ser­vice rep­re­sen­ta­tives never received proper call cen­ter sales train­ing instruc­tion dur­ing their ini­tial train­ing, nor were they under the impres­sion dur­ing the job hir­ing process that they were also expected to be sales­peo­ple. Call cen­ters that attempt to force quick sales train­ing into the job duties may see staff losses as high as 25%. If this story sounds famil­iar to you and your man­age­ment staff, what are you to do?

Call Cen­ter Sales Train­ing that Takes the Pres­sure off of Sales

Call cen­ter sales train­ing requires more than ful­fill­ing requests and pitch­ing an addi­tional prod­uct or ser­vice to the cus­tomer. A blan­ket approach – upselling and cross-selling – dur­ing the call may not only jeop­ar­dize your staff and their job sat­is­fac­tion, but it will likely make your cus­tomers even more dis­grun­tled (thus obvi­at­ing any gains made by hav­ing cus­tomer ser­vice reps avail­able for ques­tions). One of the keys, there­fore, in call cen­ter sales train­ing is to teach your staff to truly lis­ten to the cus­tomers’ needs; sim­ply ask­ing your reps to “sell, sell, sell” may drive away the cus­tomer if it’s not in response to what the cus­tomer needs at the moment. A more effec­tive call cen­ter sales train­ing approach focuses on lis­ten­ing closely to the customer’s needs, con­sid­ers ways to add value for the cus­tomer – by pro­vid­ing addi­tional infor­ma­tion about the prod­uct, for exam­ple – and then sug­gests com­ple­men­tary prod­ucts or ser­vices if it truly will ben­e­fit the cus­tomer. The point is that upselling and cross-selling becomes a part of the ser­vice process, not the goal of the call.

Call Cen­ter Sales Train­ing Should Give Your Staff Confidence

A sec­ond and cru­cial com­po­nent to call cen­ter sales train­ing involves boost­ing your staff’s self-assurance with tele­phone sales. An impor­tant fac­tor in learn­ing to sell involves gain­ing con­fi­dence and posi­tions sales as a nat­ural exten­sion of the cus­tomer ser­vice role. Proper call cen­ter sales train­ing is not sim­ply “train­ing”; it’s an entire learn­ing process that will not only help reps have a new atti­tude toward sales, but it will help them use skills to over­come buyer resis­tance in a way that is not overly pushy. When your staff has con­fi­dence in their sell­ing abil­ity, they will feel informed about the sales process, feel more eager to sell, and most impor­tantly, be able to increase the customer’s sat­is­fac­tion because the upselling or cross-selling is done appro­pri­ately and knowledgeably.

Turn Your Call Cen­ters into Prof­itable Sales Cen­ters – With­out Los­ing Your Staff or Customers

If you are ready to con­vert your call cen­ter into one that offers cus­tomer ser­vice and sales, make sure that you don’t lose any of your staff – or cus­tomers – in the process. Ask­ing your staff to upsell and cross-sell requires spe­cial­ized call cen­ter sales train­ing that will result in new­found skills and con­fi­dence for your staff, and ide­ally, more sat­is­fied cus­tomers who feel lis­tened to and that they ben­e­fited from addi­tional exper­tise and prod­uct offer­ings. Cus­tomer ser­vice reps can be won­der­ful sales peo­ple, and your call cen­ter can be prof­itable – all it takes is the right cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing approach.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peggy Carlaw
Peggy Carlaw is the founder of Impact Learning Systems. Impact helps companies develop and implement customer service strategies to improve the customer experience. Their consulting services and training programs help organizations create a customer-focused culture while producing measurable business results. Peggy is also the author of three books published by McGraw-Hill including Managing and Motivating Contact Center Employees.


  1. True. Agents should undergo training to improve their skills, to have more confidence and have knowledge and ideas on how to handle sitatuions


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