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.



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