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37 High-Converting Sales Tips Straight from the Experts

Sales Tips

Sales ExpertsFor sales professionals, nothing beats the rush that comes with closing a sale.

Every handshake, every signed contract, every sales receipt is a milestone worthy of celebration. Perhaps a bottle of champagne to toast for the occasion, even.

The reason is simple: Salespeople know all too well the hard work that comes with closing a contract. They’re familiar with the arduous tasks that comes with the sales process.

Selling is even more difficult nowadays, thanks (or no thanks) to an even more dynamic business environment.

So what’s a modern salesperson to do?

Why, heed the advice of the experts, of course!

As a sales professional, you have the opportunity to use the momentum of change to your advantage. But before you can do that, you have to stand on the shoulders of giants.

Speaking of giants, here are the most powerful selling tips straight from the mouths of sales experts.

1. Yuri Kruman, CEO,  Master The Talk Consulting

Before you ever sell anything to anyone, get comfortable listening to people and their issues, opening up and getting vulnerable.

People want to deal with others that are human, approachable, fallible and have gone through the same pain they’re facing and the process to solve it.

My greatest successes in sales have been through this approach.

There was basically no selling at all, just listening well and telling my story in the relevant language and with the psychology of my audience, then showing the benefits (not features) of what I offer.

When you look at add value first, especially through your story and process, that’s when you don’t have to sell, just help the person.

2. Dave Hill Jr., Go 2 Market Coach

Sit up, lean in, and actively listen to the customer. Try to get underneath their first answers to discover what is really important to them. Then help them however you can.

By leading with value and building trust, you can earn their business when they are ready to act.

3. Lyman Montgomery, Coach, Focused Driven Lifestyle

Our philosophy is based on our FOCUS Business Model:

  • Focus on Strategic Prospecting
  • Operational Process Excellence
  • Customer-focused staff
  • Utilization of platforms to promote products/services
  • Systematize profit-generating activities.

4. John Bulman, Owner & Adviser, Profitability Thinking Business Advisors

There is no such thing as too high priced for a qualified prospect, only lack of value.

5. Alex Terranova, DreamMason, DreamMason Coaching

It’s all about relationship. I don’t believe in selling. People don’t want to be sold things. People want to be heard. People want to be understood. People want to be loved, connected with and empathized with.

When we connect with people deeply and authentically we are able to see what they need without attacking them with what we want them to have.

When we provide value and create relationship from that place, the sale takes care of itself.

6. Wayne Law, Manager, InBiznez.com

Sales are the process of building a relationship of trust that can be repeated over many years and many commodities.

7. Barbara Wainwright, CPC, CEO Wainwright Global, Inc.

Provide a “sense of urgency”.

People want what they can’t have. Putting a count-down timer on your sales page will let the customer know they have a limited time to make a decision.

8. Dr. Aikyna D. Finch, Social Media Consultant & Speaker, Finch and Associates LLC

Build a demand for your Supply. Make sure that people want what you sell and how that you have it for sell!

9. Dr. Alan Jones, Director, Inspire MLP

DON’T SELL!

The old ideas of Always Be Closing (ABC) and defining what YOU (as a provider can offer) are just that, old ideas!

BECOME A RESOURCE!

Becoming a ‘resource’ for your potential clients (suspects and prospects) is the first step in establishing a relationship.

10. Scott Messer, Mad Wizard of Sales, Sales Evolution

Courtesy counts. Always ask “Am I catching you at a bad time?” and carefully listen to the reply before launching into the conversation.

11. Adrian Miller, President, Adrian Miller Sales Training

Remember to not tell your prospects what makes you “better.”

A more successful approach is to tell them what makes you “different” and explain how your points of differentiation are really benefits that will equal an improvement in their current situation.

Prospects will get cynical and defensive if you stress “better” because after all, what salesperson will say that their service or product is worse than the competition!

12. Steve Smith, President/Founder, GrowthSource Coaching

Seek to understand what your prospect really wants and approach them with the mindset of helping them solve a problem. You can do this (and quite effectively I might add) by asking a few really good questions.

The questions will differ depending on what you sell and where the prospect is in their decision making journey but any question designed to find out what the customer really wants is a good place to start.

When customers believe you are there to help them before helping yourself, they will trust you and they will buy from you.

13. Calum MacRae, Business Consultant/Mentor, Blue Momentum Coaching

It is never about you when you are selling so make sure 100% of your attention is on your client.

14. Bruce King, Zone Master & Director of UK & English Speaking Operations, iZONEN

‘THE GATEKEEPER’ AND ‘THE DOOR OPENER’

Do you have a problem getting past the gatekeeper? If you do, the solution to the challenge has as much to do with your attitude as your sales skills.

The challenge is in the use of that word – ‘gatekeeper’ because the moment you encounter them, you may think of them as the enemy – the person who is going to stop you from speaking with your prospect.

So when the Gatekeeper answers the telephone, your mind goes into a negative state and impacts on what you say and how you say it, even if you are trying to be pleasant.

What you are thinking consciously and subconsciously comes across, and the gatekeeper doesn’t like it. And then they probably get difficult.

Let’s be clear – Gatekeepers are NOT hired because they are horrible, nasty people whose sole function is to ruin the livelihoods of salespeople.

If they were horrible and nasty, they wouldn’t get hired in the first place. He or she is probably very well qualified, often with a university degree, they are personable, sociable, frequently have a background in sales, and often run their boss’s office for them and handle their diaries.

They do however have various responsibilities, one of which is to prevent their boss from being disturbed by irrelevant and unnecessary telephone calls AND, and this is important, and to put through calls that they think their boss would possibly benefit from taking.

So, from now on, instead of thinking of them as Gatekeepers, think of them as Door Openers. Be polite, respectful and professional. Don’t try to avoid answering questions and don’t tell lies, or even half-truths. And don’t be over friendly.

Treat them as The Door Opener; have something intelligent and interesting to say, that their boss is likely to want to know about, and more often than not, they will open the door for you!

15. Nigel Temple, Sales and Marketing Consultant & Trainer, The Marketing Compass

Get the customer talking by asking a series of open questions.

For example: ‘I wonder how you found us?’ and ‘are there any specific things that you are looking for?’ Customers can reveal a host of information, if you let them.

Once you understand what their requirements are, you can start to talk about specific benefits which are relevant to them.

16. David Hoffeld, CEO, Hoffeld Group

Salespeople need to develop an intense focus on their customer.

We must seek not just to understand what our customers want and need, but also how to sell in a way that guides them through their buying journey and into a confident buying decision that they’ll feel good about.

In other words, we must serve buyers not just with what we sell, but also with how we sell.

17. Annelies Bommeljé, Owner, My Own Marketing Coach

Always take your buyer’s perspective when thinking of your sales approach.

Think of their needs, their context, their possible barriers with your product or service. This way your prospective clients will be more receptive to what you have to say.

18. Marc Prosser, Co-Founder, Fit Small Business

Every great sales is a sales consultant. I sell advertising, however, I often talk with new clients for 20 minutes about their sales process during our first call.

By understanding what happens to the leads are generated from advertising on my website, I can make better suggestions on what type of advertising the client should buy.

Even if the conversation does not lead to a better recommendation, the potential client almost always appreciates the effort and the chance to talk about their company.

19. Jim Ackerman, Marketing Master & Licensed Certified Marketing Coach, PCMarketingCoach.com

Prospects care about WIIFM (What’s In It For ME), so focus on speaking in benefit language. Of course, sales trainers have been saying that for years, but few have explained HOW to do it.

Here’s a tip. Begin your statements with a verb, or the word YOU. “Watch response to your advertising soar.” Or “You’ll see an immediate increase in profits… and you may even get a promotion.”

Even FEATURES can be stated in BENEFIT language… “You can choose between 3 easy payment plans.” 3 easy payment plans is a pure feature, but when you say “You can choose…” you put it in BENEFIT language.

The more you use benefit language, the more receptive to your message the prospect will be. Hope this is what you’re looking for.

20. Jonathan Keable, Managing Director, Business Success SW Ltd

My number one tip for successful selling is…don’t sell.

Pushy, outright selling is a high-pressured technique that automatically turns off many prospects. Forget outdated transactional selling and focus on building relationships that nurture a certain level of trust and add real value:

  • Learn about the customer’s situation
  • Give personalised recommendations
  • Resolve objections Find a win-win solution
  • Remain honest and authentic
  • Continue to provide consistent value

Long-term success hinges on your ability to leverage relationship selling and effectively align customers with your offerings, making for repeat custom, a strong network and a top reputation.

21. Ryan Dohrn, Founder, SalesTrainingWorld.com

Know your audience. As a sales professional, you must prove to the prospective customer that you have done your homework, and you are presenting a solution that benefits them in copious ways.

While this sounds easy, many sales professionals fail at proving relevance over and over. Stop sending generic emails.

Use Ryan’s 3 Elements of Email Relevancy Subject Line Specificity:

  • Your subject line presents a solution to a particular problem that the prospects is obviously facing. For example, “Reducing -insert name of prospects company – Office Supply Costs” If you do not know of a problem, take an educated guess.
  • Keep the Body Relevant: First, personalize your email. Mention the recipient’s name and avoid the generic “Hello Friend.” Then, keep your body relevant, short, and sweet. Show the prospect you have done your homework, and briefly, explain what solution you offer to their particular problem.
  • Include Samples: People will not nip at something that they cannot see. To pique interest, include a link to a promo video or entice them with an introductory discount so that they have a reason to follow through.

22. Danelle Brown, CEO, Queen Bee Consulting

My best tip is to Listen.

Listen to the clients needs and desires – what is it they are trying to move away from? How can you help them get there. Then demonstrate the number one biggest result they will get by buying from you.

Usually, if you just have a normal conversation with them, they will tell you exactly what you need to know. Don’t try some canned elevator speech. Really ask them what it is they want and you will know what to say.

23. Parag Prasad, MD & Head Coach, London Business Coaching

I think asking questions is massively important. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.

The more they talk the easier your job is.

You can use question softeners like “can I just ask…?” or “can you explain further…?” but basically you’re just playing dumb and digging deep. And keep asking questions until you get asked a question back – that’s when they’re ready to buy.”

24. Terry Viney, President, The Plus Factor In Your Business LLC

3 ways to increase sales in 3 words.

Be more courageous. Communicate to percolate. Try new things.

25. Jason Lee, Founder & CEO, Unleashing The Alpha Networker | Elevacy Inc.

Understanding tonality in your prospect’s voice, and the difference between a question and an objection can lead you to the right things to say at the right time.

Once you understand the difference, it becomes easy to tell whether a person is looking for the back door or trying to get more information because they’re subconsciously interested.

26. Jessica Lorimer, Sales Coach & Founder, The Smart Leaders Sales Society

Start with premium offers first. Increase your cash flow by selling high ticket offers first, and then expand into selling lower ticket items to increase your cashflow and increase your time.

27. Dr. Greg Chapman, Director, Empower Business Solutions

The best known secret in Sales is that on average most Salespeople are average!

You can spend a lot of money on sales training, but a better investment is to develop a great Sales Pipeline and then even average Salespeople will become great.

28. Mike Stokes, CEO, Indicator Group

Be focused on incremental improvements every day, reflect after every meeting and every engagement and ask yourself how could you have done that better, what value did I add to the person or company.

29. David J.P. Fisher, Author, Hyper-Connected Selling

A simple and powerful way to strengthen your connection with a prospect or customer is to mirror their language back to them.

When they describe challenges they have or goals their trying to achieve, use the same words that they do when referencing those areas later in the conversation.

It might not match the exact terms that you use, but it will resonate with them more powerfully because it matches what they are already thinking internally.

30. Jeff Bajorek, CEO, Parabola Consulting

I’d rather see you make a connection at the expense of a sale than a sale at the expense of a connection.

31. Peter Rathmann, Founder, MKE Sales Accelerator

I tend to look at sales more objectively and pragmatically in the years I have trained teams.

I think the best advice is for sales people to really understand who their prospect is, understand where you can impact the prospects business, and then align the sales approach on the way they buy, not how you sell or rely on company collateral.

It helps to understand the numbers that impact your efforts as well. Numbers can’t lie.

32. Liston Witherill, Sales Trainer & Coach, Liston.io

Serve, don’t sell.

The thing most people get wrong about selling is that they think there’s a winner and a loser. Not true. When done right, you’ll be helping your buyer and that takes the pressure off of everyone.

If you believe people wh0 buy from you are better off when they use your product or service, focus on helping them and your sales will follow.

33. Mark Davies, Sales & Marketing Consultant, MD Sales Pro

My one biggest tip when it comes to selling is actively listening to the client, keeping quiet and being able to outlay the information they give you succinctly and in your own words to demonstrate understanding and gain trust.

34. Don Buttrey, President, Sales Professional Training, Inc.

For each proactive call, a salesperson should prepare a written tactical plan.

They should not just “show up and throw up” but prepare what they will say to start, what questions to ask and how to word them, what benefits and value they will be ready to present, and how they will ask for the order, commitment, or next action.

I call this “The SELL Process”: Start, Evaluate, Leverage, Lock. This is fundamental consultative selling!

35. Mark Wyngaard, CEO & Head Coach, MW Coaching

How do you know how much activity you need to do to achieve target when you do not understand your Closing Ratio’s?

Sales is like baking, use the wrong measurements and no rising takes place!

Once you understand your Closing Ratio’s you will know exactly how many calls you need to make to get X appointments. X appointments will get you X quotes/proposals.

How many quotes/proposals do you need to submit on average to get a deal?

36. Tibor Shanto, CGO, Renbor Sales Solutions

The one thing all successful sales techniques have in common is the need for execution, everything else is just talk!

37. Forrest Dombrow, Owner, Solvesales.com

Many people think selling is about talking. In reality, the most important selling skill is listening. If you ask the right questions and listen carefully, prospects will literally tell you how to sell them.

While that’s my best tip about selling skills, there is one thing that is more important that all selling techniques combined, and that’s offering the most uniquely valuable product or service in your market.

If you offer a product or service that is clearly better than your competitors, in a unique and relevant way, selling skills become secondary.

Ultimately, product development is the most powerful sales tool. And there is nobody better positioned to inform product development than the sales people on the front lines who, if they’re listening closely to prospects pain points, know exactly how to beat the competition.

Succeeding in sales requires an incredible amount of grit, resilience, and smarts. If you want to be great at it, you have to be willing to put in the work.

More importantly, you have to pay attention to what other people in the sales industry have to say, even more so those who have achieved tremendous success in the field.

Do you have other helpful sales tips you can share with our readers?

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The Top Five Benefits of CRM Systems to Customer Experience

CRM Systems

CRM SystemsCustomers value excellent customer service when interacting with brands. It is known.

In fact, according to a Walker study, 86% of customers will be willing to pay more for great customer experience by the year 2020.

To the surprise of no one, technology always finds a way to keep up. Enter the CRM system, a tool that companies use to effectively and efficiently manage customer (both potential and existing) information.

Thanks to dedicated CRM systems, companies can now track and manage customer information, correspondences, conversations, and billing information, among many others.

As a result, call centers can deliver excellent customer experience with more regularity and efficiency.

Care to know how? Here are the top five benefits of CRM systems to the customer experience.

1. Faster resolutions

So a customer calls in, and the next thing you know that customer’s information pops up on the screen. Now that’s the convenience.

When that happens, it’s even possible for a call center agent to take an educated guess on why the customer is calling (agent should listen to the customer first, however)

Thanks to the case management functionality that comes with most CRM systems, agents can quickly provide relevant answers to customer queries and offer quick resolutions.

2. Fosters continuity

The point of delivering great customer service is that it builds relationships with clients. Clients want that too.

And for a relationship to prosper, there needs to be a strong sense of continuity in every customer interaction.

It’s roughly equivalent to calling your friend and asking her if she loved the gift you gave her for Christmas and giving her the lowdown on the latest gossip concerning the next-door neighbor.

Because of CRM systems, customers don’t have to repeat themselves over and over again every time they’re doing a follow-up call on a recurring issue.

The best thing about it is that customers will always feel that agents understand their needs and are likely to respond in kind.

3. Self-service integration

IVRs are notorious for stretching the limit of customers’ patience.

Thankfully, many CRM companies are now offering an integrated IVR and CRM solution, providing customers a seamless self-service experience.

With a CRM system in place, an IVR can identify each caller and then proceed to provide custom menu options that are relevant to that particular customer.

4. Find ways to serve customers better

CRM systems provide companies with measurable data that can help them come up with a myriad of actionable insights.

These insights offer opportunities that enable brands to serve customers better.

By offering a comprehensive picture of key performance metrics as they apply to customers, CRM systems make it easier for call centers to deliver customer-centric service on a consistent basis.

5. Better internal communication

Having a good CRM system in place enables companies to have a more efficient internal communication.

Seamless communication between different departments in regards to customer information allows for faster resolution and opens new windows of opportunities to serve customers better.

Conclusion

There are no two ways about it: investing in CRM systems is one of the smartest business decisions you’ll ever make.

Put your customers at the heart of your business, and your company is bound to reel in the profits. As is the case with any meaningful relationship, it’s an arrangement where both parties win.

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Four Steps You Can Make To Reduce Customer Churn

Reduce Customer Churn

Reduce Customer ChurnDo you want your business’s bottom line to get a big boost? Easy. Make a concerted effort to reduce customer churn.

Customers are the lifeblood of your business. And if you want to keep your business alive, you have to take the necessary steps to foster loyalty in your customer base.

In fact, according to Bain & Company, it is six to seven times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t exert some effort into recruiting new customers. If you have sound customer retention strategies in place, every new customer you recruit can potentially offer a lifetime value that will significantly impact your ROI in the long run.

Here are four steps you can make in order to reduce customer attrition.

1. Provide support round the clock

With the rise of multichannel services and social media platforms in the last several years, more and more customers are expecting businesses to be available round the clock.

Simply put, availability issues can have a lasting impact on how customers perceive a business or service.

If, for instance, a customer experiences connectivity issues on his broadband connection at 4 in the morning, being able to provide technical support right then and there not only makes a big impression, it sends the message that you care about your customers.

2. Make use of call notes

If a customer makes a follow-up call over a similar issue only to end up being asked to repeat himself again, chances are he’s going to entertain the notion of switching to another service.

Why? For starters, customers don’t want to feel like they’re being treated like cogs in a machine. They want continuity, and they’ll appreciate the service more if the context of every call reflects that continuity.

By integrating CRM with phone systems, your call center can keep track of customer logs and conversation details.

This approach keeps customers engaged, which will, in turn, instill loyalty in your brand.

3. Offer proactive support

If you want to inspire loyalty among your customer base, you’d do well to take a proactive approach in customer support.

What this means is that you have to identify and resolve customer issues even before they occur or become apparent.

If you’re worried about being a “bother” to customers by being proactive, it’s high time that you put your worries to rest.

To bring home the point, a study made by inContact discovered that 87% of customers are happy about being contacted proactively by companies concerning customer service issues.

4. Reduce customer waiting time

Customers don’t like being made to wait on the phone.

A study made by Arise in 2017 discovered that two-thirds of customers are willing to wait two minutes or less while 13% said that “no wait time is available.”

Considering how current technology has diminished our attention spans in the last decade, this isn’t at all surprising.

Tried-and-tested solutions that can reduce customer waiting time include addressing bottlenecks on a regular basis, creating self-service opportunities, and optimizing the contact center’s system and processes.

Conclusion:

Reducing customer churn goes beyond providing exceptional service and superior products, it also involves engaging your customers in a way that nurtures the business relationship.

To do this, you have to make a constant effort to keep track of your customers’ needs and then taking the necessary steps to address them through your products and services.

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Five Crucial Skills Every Call Center Agent Should Master

Call Center Agent

Call Center AgentIf you want your company to build and maintain a great relationship with customers, you need to have skilled call center agents on the front lines of your business.

Call center agents represent your brand and embody your company’s values, and as such will need the extensive skill set to consistently deliver favorable outcomes in each customer interaction.

As a business owner, you’d do well to invest in your call center agents, and to make your investment count, you need to put in place processes that take into account the following skills.

1. Empathy

The word ‘empathy’ has become such a buzzword in the business world for so many years and rightfully so.

While the concept may sound touchy-feely to some, there’s no denying that empathy is essential to human interactions.

Managers and team leaders need to constantly remind their agents to imagine themselves in the customer’s shoes in every customer interaction.

After all, by ‘owning’ the customer’s problem, agents are putting themselves in the best position to satisfy customers.

Empathetic statements let customers know that you care, and that makes a big difference.

2. Patience

Being a call center agent is a rewarding job, but we have to admit that having to deal with rude or irate customers on a constant basis can make it a little less fun.

That is why patience is a critical skill every call center should have.

When callers are upset about your brand’s products and services, they are likely to treat your agents as a sounding board for the simple fact that they have nothing else to vent their frustrations on.

But agents need to learn not to take it personally and instead be willing to listen and respond calmly in order to diffuse the situation.

That way, the agent (and the company) is able to leave a good impression no matter the outcome.

3. Clear communication

Call center agents need to communicate effectively in order not only to resolve issues quickly but also to ensure that customer interactions are as pleasant as possible.

To deliver on this end, reps have to speak the English language fluently. After all, spotty grammar will always leave customers confused, not to mention that it may take longer to arrive at a resolution and sometimes not at all.

Agents also need to learn how to straddle the line between being conversational and being formal, switching between the two as the situation dictates.

4. Active listening

In a customer interaction, what customers are saying is as important as what they aren’t saying. This is why customer service reps need to give their undivided attention to every call.

Active listening goes beyond just paying attention to the customer’s words. It also involves ‘listening’ with all the senses, meaning they have to respond appropriately, withhold responses when necessary, remember what is being said, and more.

5. Well-organized

Call center agents are regularly tasked to manage, record, and process various types of information.

To be well-organized means many things: taking down notes when appropriate, saving information under the right category, putting things in their proper order, and more.

Call center agents are entrusted with customer information every day and it is their responsibility (and yours) to handle it with care.

What’s Next?

Being a call center agent can be a demanding job, but with the right support and training, they can master all the crucial skills mentioned above with ease.

By training and cultivating these skills in your call center agents, you’re taking the first big step in increasing customer retention and fostering customer loyalty, which will in turn positively impact your business.

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Five Strategies You Can Do to Help Your New Call Center Agents Manage Their Average Handling Time

Average Handling Time

Average Handling TimeAHT (Average Handling Time) is one of the most important metrics in a call center. Simply put, a low AHT is one of the good signs that a call center is delivering great customer service.

That’s not in the least surprising. When customers call, they want solutions, and they want them fast.

Since it’s the goal of every call center organization to deliver a positive experience to customers, it only follows that you take the necessary steps to reduce the amount of time they spend on calls.

Here are proven strategies you can use to reduce average handling time in your contact center.

1. Strengthen your knowledge base

A strong knowledge base allows call center agents to pull up customer information and resolve issues with minimal effort.

When the knowledge base is optimized, agents can find relevant answers to even the toughest queries at their fingertips. This way, agents are able to close calls quickly, which in turn makes customers happy.

2. Record and analyze calls

A call center needs to have a system in place that records and analyzes calls. This makes it possible for you to identify which issues and questions are usually taking a long time to be resolved.

Once these issues are identified, you can come up with more efficient solutions to resolving them.

By training your agents to execute such solutions, average handling time can be reduced significantly.

3. Optimize call routing

One great way to reduce AHT is to optimize call routing. After all, a lot of time is wasted every time a caller is routed to the wrong department.

The best way to speed up your call center’s call routing system is to use a high-end automatic call distribution software (ACD).

When customers are always able to reach the agent qualified to handle their issues, it takes significantly less time to end a call.

4. Initiate call backs if necessary

Sometimes a customer will call in with an issue that is much too complex to be resolved immediately. Agents need to be able to identify such cases quickly since attempting to resolve the issue right then and there will only be a waste of time.

What agents can do instead is to initiate a call back at a time when answers and solutions to the customer’s issue are readily available.

5. Optimize the IVR system (Interactive Voice Response)

Recent studies show that more and more customers prefer self-service over having to speak with a customer service representative.

However, it can be frustrating to a caller when the IVR system eats up a lot of time promoting your brand’s wide range of products and services.

To optimize your IVR configuration effectively, you can start by structuring your IVR according to the customer’s perspective. Make your IVR scripts short and simple.

In addition, you can provide pre-recorded messages in a way where customers can help themselves better.

Final Word

While it’s crucial for every call center organization to reduce AHT to meet  KPI targets, care should be taken to ensure that the quality of service is not compromised in any way

A call center organization has to manage AHT the right way and for the right reasons, and you can pull that off by employing the five strategies mentioned above.

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Five Ways to Motivate Your Agents to be the Best in Their Job

Agents

AgentsWith the rise of data science, cryptocurrency, and cloud computing, many industries are currently on the verge of a systemic shift.

As a business owner, you need to be able to adapt to change if you want your business to thrive. That said, there’s one thing that will never go out of style: great customer service.

If you want your customer service to make customers happy on a consistent basis, you have to take the necessary steps to ensure that your agents are motivated enough to be at their best.

It’s not an easy task. For one, being a call center agent is a demanding job. If you don’t give agents enough reasons to stay motivated, your customers and your business are bound to suffer.

Below are tried-and-tested ways to ensure that call center agents are motivated enough to put their best foot forward at all times.

1. Foster a positive working environment

As a business owner, the onus is on you to take the initiative to reinforce the right attitudes and proper mindset among call center employees.

In short, you need to foster a positive working environment.

Sounds like hard work? Perhaps. But if you take the time to interact with every employee (not just agents) and take the steps needed to contribute to a pleasant and friendly environment, then you are well on your way.

After all, as a leader, all agents and managers look up to you for guidance. As a leader, what you do serves as the blueprint which employees will be adhering to.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to communicate your desire to create a warm and friendly atmosphere to managers and agents. As the business owner, you’ll have many opportunities to do that.

2. Encourage a feedback culture

Forget suggestion boxes and put them where they belong: the dustbin.

To ensure that feedback is always contributing to the improvement of the workplace, you have to encourage a culture or environment where ideas and feedback are freely shared by employees.

In turn, a system where ideas and suggestions can be reviewed quickly by a committee needs to be in place. For optimal results, a reliable feedback loop needs to be implemented as well.

When employees realize that their ideas are being taken seriously, they are more likely to realize that they’re part of the company’s growth and as such will feel more motivated to make contributions.

3. Recognize and reward employees for good performance

Everyone craves recognition for a job well done. Yes, even those who pretend that personal accolades don’t matter to them.

A word of praise, a pat on the back, or a simple complimentary shout out can go a long way into boosting an employee’s morale.

When an employee feels that her contributions are valued and recognized, the behavior that led to the positive feedback is reinforced. It gives the employee something to aspire to.

That said, agents who perform poorly need to be guided as well. But it should be done in private to save them the humiliation.

4. Assign agents a variety of tasks

Agents who are made to do the same tasks over and over again are likely to feel disillusioned and bored by their responsibilities down the line.

This is why agents need to be assigned a variety of tasks to keep them engaged and interested.

Instead of consigning an agent to voice work 100 percent of the time, you can ask them to work on email or web chat or other support responsibilities as well.

5. Promote from within

Employees will feel more motivated to do their best when they know that their hard work could land them a promotion.

After all, promoting from within is one of the best ways to show your agents that you appreciate them for their contributions. It gives them the validation that their talents are an asset to the organization.

In addition, setting up career development programs gives agents the support they need to advance in their career. It gives them a sense of direction and purpose, thus keeping them engaged and motivated.

Key Takeaway:

Every business is bound to face challenges that will make it difficult for employees to stay motivated.

But if you implement the steps above and ask each member of your team to support you in the endeavor, it will only be a matter of time before your business achieves the growth that you’ve been planning for.

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How to Retain a Customer who is about to Quit Doing Business with your Company

Retain a Customer

Retain a CustomerCustomer retention is crucial to the success and survival of any call center business, or any business for that matter.

Does that surprise anybody? Surely not. Without customers, there can be no business.

While customer attrition is sometimes inevitable, every business owner worth her salt needs to adopt a proactive approach in making customers stay.

To bring home the point, here are two important factoids proving why keeping customers should become a priority in your business:

  • Bain & Company study shows that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent raises profits by 5 to 25 percent.
  • Harvard Business Review reports that “acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”

Convinced? Here are the best ways a call center can retain customers who are on the verge of severing their business relationship with your company.

1. Process cancellations through voice channels

Before a call center can retain customers, agents need to be provided opportunities to work their magic.

One good way to do this is to direct the cancellation process through voice channels

While it may cost your company a little to encourage customers to speak with a representative when requesting a cancellation, having the opportunity to convince them to stay can significantly shore up your customer retention efforts.

2. Offer a cheaper option

Some customers choose to cancel their subscription due to money issues. In such cases, the best course of action is to offer a cheaper alternative.

Since there will always be customers, who aren’t aware that there are cheaper plans than the one they’re subscribed to, making the right offer at the point of cancellation is the logical next step.

Once a customer has decided to downgrade their subscription, kindly remind her that she can choose to upgrade anytime — preferably once her financial situation has improved.

If customers are calling in to cancel their subscription because they find the product or service wanting, reps should go the extra mile in helping them resolve their issues with the company.

In cases where they are requesting to cancel so they can switch to a competitor, make it a point to explain why your brand can offer so much more.

3. Offer inconvenienced customers gestures of goodwill

Customers can be impulsive sometimes.

When customers are having a bad day, even the smallest inconvenience where they feel that your company is to blame may cause them to make a rash decision.

Most of the time, a gesture of goodwill — a voucher or a one-off credit — can help dampen their temper, causing them to reconsider if cancelling the service isn’t such a good idea after all.

Of course, it goes without saying that whatever issue the customer may be having should be addressed as soon as possible.

4. Remind customers what they’re giving up

Your call center agents have to remind customers what they’re about to give up when they decide to stop doing business with you.

One great way to do this is to use a spiel, something that goes along the lines of, “Are you sure you want to cancel the service? If you unsubscribe, you will no longer have access to (insert your brand’s best offerings here)…”

If your company is offering loyalty incentives (and it should), the point of cancellation offers a great opportunity to remind customers about their eligibility to special offerings that may be coming their way if they choose to continue doing business with you.

5. Form teams of retention specialists

Setting up a team/s of retention specialists trained to engage customers who are on the verge of quitting is a great strategy to adopt in your customer retention efforts.

Since these specialized reps’ primary focus is to retain customers, they are more likely to become more effective in convincing them to stay.

For better results, a rigorous approach in selecting the best agents for the job has to be adopted (refined “soft skills” is an important qualification to have).

Key Takeaway

Retaining customers poses a lot of challenges for any business. After all, it’s difficult to convince people who appear to have already made up their minds.

But if you adopt the practices mentioned above with a conscious intent to keep customers happy, you are providing customers the best reason not to leave.

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Five Effective Ways of Maintaining Active Listening in the Call

Active Listening Skill

Active Listening SkillActive listening is a critical skill every call center agent needs to hone. By mastering this skill, an agent is highly likely to deliver a positive experience in each customer interaction.

It bears mentioning, however, that active listening goes beyond just hearing and understanding the words coming out of the caller’s mouth.

It’s a dynamic process that requires the agent’s full engagement.

Active listening can be a difficult skill to master, but far from impossible. Here are tips to help call center agents maintain active listening while on the job.

1. Be at the moment

A call center agent needs to give the customer her undivided attention the moment she finishes her standard welcome spiel.

In short, she has to be fully at the moment, not allowing distractions to draw her attention away from what the customer is saying.

Granted, customers go into tangent at times, and might even head towards boring territory.

That, however, is no excuse for agents to get sidetracked. The moment their thoughts start to wander, the agent has to force herself to refocus.

2. Empathize

Knowing how to put yourself in the customer’s shoes comes with the territory when you’re a call center agent. Additionally, empathy is a skill that can help agents focus better on what customers are saying.

This is why it’s essential that agents are trained and often reminded to always understand where the caller is coming from, even when that caller is unreasonable.

Listening is always easier when there’s a genuine desire to help. The same rule applies to conversations between customer and call center agent.

3. Don’t jump to conclusions

Call center agents often handle similar issues on a day to day basis, and doing so may make the job feel repetitive to them.

Because of this tendency, agents may fall into the trap of jumping to conclusions when a customer talks about an issue they’ve heard many times before.

This is a critical error customer service reps need to avoid at all costs.

When listening and talking to customers, agents need to keep an open mind. This ensures that they’re not missing out on critical information and subtle cues that can help them arrive at the best solution.

4. Ask for clarifications when needed

Even the most skilled listener can get confused by what a speaker is saying especially when it comprises many complex or seemingly unrelated ideas.

This is why agents have to be reminded not to shy away from asking for clarifications when something is confusing or unclear.

More often than not, callers will take it as a cue that the rep is listening and genuinely interested in helping out.

That said, agents have to wait for the caller to make a pause before asking for clarifications. Reps can say something along the lines of, “Back up a second, but could you clarify that for me, please?”

5. Master paraphrasing

Paraphrasing is the process of restating what the speaker has said, but in different words and, whenever necessary, in a slightly different context.

It’s an important skill to have because it shows the caller that the agent is paying close attention. It also assures the customer that the agent can fully understand his issue.

Ultimately, paraphrasing, when done well, makes customers feel that their issue is being addressed with a sense of urgency.

Key Takeaway:

In a world becoming even more beset with distractions, it’s starting to feel like active listening is becoming a lost art. Let this not be the case in your call center.

When push comes to shove, active listening is what makes it possible for us humans to make meaningful connections with each other. It goes without saying that the same rule applies to providers and customers.

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Why Promoting from within is Good for Your Call Center Business

Call Center Business

Call Center BusinessThe question of whether it’s preferable for organizations to prioritize internal hires over outsiders when filling a job vacancy has long been settled for years now.

And the general consensus is this: internal hires trump external hires almost every time.

What settled it was a 2012 study made by Wharton assistant professor Matthew Bidwell, who came out with these findings:

  • Internal hires perform much better on the job in the first few years following a promotion than outsiders who were recruited for the similar job.
  • External hires have higher exit rates than internal hires.
  • External candidates are offered higher salaries (up to 20 percent%) than internal hires.

All results point to the same conclusion: promoting those belonging to the existing employee base is far more recommendable than hiring from outside.

While there’s no study similar to Bidwell’s that exclusively applies to call center organizations, logic dictates that the same rule still applies.

Here are five reasons why call centers will do well to prioritize internal recruits over external candidates in their recruitment efforts.

1. It’s cost-effective

Call center organizations spend quite a hefty amount each year in recruiting new hires.

On top of paying for advertisements, the HR team also has to allocate expenses on pre-screenings and interviews before deciding to hire a new employee.

And don’t even get started on the training expenses. Do you know that the average call center spends nearly 2,000 dollars training each new recruit in a span of 4 weeks?

In fact, this Tenacity article has been kind enough to do the math for us.

Considering the high employee turnover rate in most call center organizations, there’s no question that prioritizing internal hires over outsiders is the more attractive route.

Besides, all the money expended on advertisements, screenings, training classes, etc. would be better spent on empowering your current employee base and boosting their morale.

2. Saves you time

As if the hiring process isn’t strenuous enough, the company also has to invest some time in orienting new employees to the company’s vision, values, technologies, and processes as soon as they are hired.

In addition, new recruits also have to go through a steep learning curve before they can get acclimated to their new environment.

In contrast, promoting an existing employee allows you to do away with all that. Considering the call center industry’s fast-paced environment, time is a luxury you don’t have.

3. Boosts productivity and morale

Rewarding productive employees with a promotion is an excellent way to foster a culture of loyalty, growth, and stability in the organization.

When employees feel that their hard work and dedication are rewarded by the company, they are more likely to feel more motivated to give it their best at work.

Moreover, unlike external recruits, existing employees are already familiar with the organization’s policies and procedures, and as such will be much more productive right from the get-go following a promotion.

4. Improves employee engagement

By promoting deserving employees, you are giving them a sense of growth and direction in their career within the organization.

This, in turn, motivates them to take ownership of their roles within the company and as a result, will give it their best efforts.

Conclusion:

While external hiring has its own merits (for example, new hires are more likely to bring new ideas to the company), studies and current sentiments show that internal hiring is far more preferable as a recruitment strategy.

When existing employees feel that they can count on the company to provide them career opportunities that they worked hard for, it gives everyone a better sense of stability.

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20 High-Converting Sales Tips from Sales Experts

Sales Expert

Sales ExpertSales tips… One can never get enough of them.

After all, selling is a profession that is as exciting as it is challenging — not to mention the variety of pleasures and pains that come with it.

While that may be the case, there is, however, a more pressing reason why companies need to pay attention to every piece of sales advice that comes their way — the times are yet again changing, and their sales techniques can easily become obsolete.

That being said, when it comes to sales, stagnation is never an option.What better way to keep up with the current sales trends and techniques than to read up on the powerful selling tips that seasoned sales experts are using.

If you’re interested to learn about the best selling tips that the industry experts are using, then you’re in the right place.We’re going to share with you 20 high-converting sales tips from sales experts.

Let’s hop right in.

1. Mike Saunders, MBA, The Authority Positioning Coach

Have authority positioning assets like media mentions, podcast interviews and publishing, built for their brand which serve as a long-term digital footprint for their target audience to discover. This works to pre-sell them before they even connect. Building your authority is your #1 priority.

2. Loren Fogelman, Business Success Coach, BusinessSuccessSolution.com

The Right Mindset: Become Their Trusted Advisor.

To win a new client, you want to appeal to their emotions. That’s because people don’t buy services, they buy feelings. Either they want to resolve a problem or achieve a result. Don’t worry about whether or not you know the best sales technique. Instead develop great questions that help you figure out what your prospect wants.

They’ll sign on as a new client once they believe you possess the solution to their problem. So it’s essential that you win their trust instead of overwhelming them with details about your service.

3. Erica Duran, Freedom Business Mentor and Digital Marketing Expert, EricaDuran.co

“Start a Conversation, Not a Sales Pitch”

At the beginning we don’t know if our products or services are a good fit for a particular person. We have to explore and find out together if working together is a good idea.

It has to be a win-win.

4. Ellory Wells, Executive Coach, ElloryWells.com

I’d say 2 things:

1) Stop with the hard-sell. Nobody likes it. We don’t mind buying, but nobody wants to be sold. Build a relationship with someone before you sell to them.

2) You have to believe that what you have to offer is what your prospects really need. You have to believe that your product is a glass of water and you’re looking for thirsty people. If you don’t believe 100% in your solution, you’ll get surpassed by someone who does.

5. Nora Conrad, CEO, Norbly Media

I wouldn’t really call myself a sales expert, but if I had to give one bit of advice, it would be that the sales start with the product/service. You can’t sell a crap product. You need to understand what your audience wants and build it, then you can focus on sales tactics. Until you build a product people actually want or need, you’ll be spinning your wheels.

6. Nick Bettes, Founder, BusinessCoachKit.com

Make sure your salespeople can understand and explain your positioning (your niche, their pain, your better solution) before you waste money training them on your product or sales process.

7. Gareth Shackleton, Business Coach, ActionCOACH

I would suggest starting with getting crystal clear about who you are targeting your sales at and why they would want to buy from you. It’s not enough to have a product that is different (because these days it’s not unique/different for very long), but the way you deliver it and the experience the customer has must be tailored to your target’s wants and needs as well.

If you get clear about these things all the following steps in the sales process become easier.

8. Mark Frey, Certified Business Coach, FocalPoint Business Coaching & Training

Quantify the COST of the customer’s pain.

In other words, what is the cost to the business if you fail to take action and fix this problem that you are telling me about?

How much is this problem or issue costing your company in revenues? Then you can compare that cost to the cost of coaching and ask them if they would spend X to get to target Y.

9. Claudia Crawley, CEO, Executive Coach and Career Mentor for Women, Winning Pathways Coaching Ltd

Before going through any sales conversation, be sure that this potential buyer is definitely from your target market. Then prepare yourself by letting go of any anxiety regarding the sale.

Raise your energy level by getting into peak state so that you’re feeling powerful and self-assured. Then smile. You’ll impress as warm and friendly, confident, and enthusiastic. These are infectious and will help you engage more effectively with the customer.

10. Tim Stokes, Founder, Profit Transformations

“Selling is the art of asking, quality, educational questions”.

Too often people are guarded towards salespeople, so telling them what they should do, or what you offer is just going to create an objection. Don’t create objections by statements, ask questions. This shows you care, want to understand, are a good listener and wanting to assist them with their ‘problem’, of who to choose to provide the service/product they require.

11. Rob Taylor-Brown, Director, Attention to Retail Ltd

People buy people not products, be honest and open and they will buy.

12. Pat Roberts, Executive Coach & Partner, Change Partners Coaching

Understand who you’re talking to and what they want out of the interaction with you. That way you’re soling their need not pushing your offering.

13. Alan Adams, Award Winning Coach Speaker and Author, Horizons Consultants

You may find yourself in a situation where you ask about a client’s budget and the client gives you a firm answer. No matter what they say, make sure you use these next two words, just say “up to” and then shut up and don’t say a word, nothing, no matter how tempted you are, just wait for their response.

In many cases, the client will give you a much higher figure, and this gives you the opportunity to much more comprehensively answer the client’s brief, to do a much better job for them, and of course plenty more opportunity to show your value.

You need to have ‘your right to be there’ absolutely nailed. Your right is when you first sit down, or at some point in the first meeting, you tell the client about you and your business. This would typically include the years of experience you have in the industry, your expertise, name-dropping clients that are appropriate and who would impress, as well as awards, accreditations, and recent publications you’d been in.

You do this so the client completely understands why you have the right to sit in front of them and offer advice. In the client’s head they should perceive you as an expert and so someone they should listen too.

14. Holly Worton, Business Mindset Alchemist, Holly Worton

I’ve done sales training courses and I’ve learned scripts and outlines of how to manage a sales conversation, and I followed those for years. They worked. But it got to a point where they just didn’t feel right anymore, and since then I’ve simply moved to a non-scripted conversation model where I simply speak with the potential client to get an idea of what they need help with, whether I can help them and, most importantly, where I think I’m the best person to help them.

I treat sales conversations as I would an interview: it’s got to be a good fit for both of us. Since making this shift in how I handle sales conversations, I feel more natural and authentic. It’s what works for me.

15. Nicola Huelin, Award-winning Business Coach & Mentor, Founder of MPower for Mums in Business, Author of The Invisible Revolution

The single best way to ensure consistent and increasing sales is to get your Marketing right. If clients are the lifeblood of a business, Marketing is the heartbeat. Understanding what effective Marketing is, and investing time, energy and money in laying the right Marketing foundations is an investment which will give you a huge return over time. Imagine a world with no more cold-calling, feeling awkward or pushy – imagine a consistent flow of clients ready and needing exactly what you provide, knocking on your door. Doing business from a strong Marketing platform means that rather than have to struggle with selling, we can enjoy serving with ease.

16. Alejandra Crisafulli, Award Winning Master Relationship Coach, Alejandra Crisafulli Coaching

My biggest tip to “selling” is to relationship develop rather than think about a person as a sale. When you approach your “sales conversation” as just that… “a conversation” then you develop a relationship and people love to be liked & valued. When they feel that from you they are will to buy from you.

17. André Hindley, Owner, Mindfree Coaching

Society is ‘wisening up’ significantly when it comes to sales and marketing. Sustainability is the new buzzword in business. What you want are quality customers, to build a long-term brand trust relationship with. When you’ve achieved this, customers will sell your product for you.

What is critical is that you ensure that the product you sell is authentic and of good quality, no matter what it is. Any compromise on this is compromising your reputation and hence your business. PRICE IS NOT KING, TRUST IS.

18. Asanda Gcoyi, Head: Talent Management, CB Talent

The two things I swear by when it comes to selling anything are as follows:

1) Ensure you are over prepared- know your potential clients and what their pain points are (and what those are costing them) and tailor your proposition based on that. There is nothing worse than making a cold selling pitch!

2). Understand and be passionate about what you are selling- the potential client can tell when you are box-ticking. You can achieve this by going over and above the typical script; familiarise yourself with FAQs on your service or goods and never stop learning more about your offering. Nothing beats a knowledgeable and passionate sales person.

19. Terri Levine, Bestselling Author of Turbocharge How To Transform Your Business As A Heartrepreneur

Sell is not a nasty four letter word. When you focus on helping others and detach from the outcome and simply tune in asking yourself, “Can I make a difference with my products and services?”, then you will have a relational conversation from your heart.

20. Tony Selimi, Author, Speaker, Cognition and Human Behavioural Expert, TJS Cognition

To sell more is to know how to articulate with clarity how the solution you are offering resolves a meaningful problem for your customer.

Knowing your clients hierarchy of values help you communicate your offer in a language that your client understands.

What’s Next?

What are some of the best selling tips that you can share with the community?

If there are ideas or strategies that you think can help our readers of business owners and entrepreneurs, then please share them in the comments section below.

Cheers!

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