It is 9:00 a.m. and the phone starts ringing again. “I would like to learn more about White Label Services,” the person on the other end of the receiver says. “Absolutely. I would love to get you set up, to speak with a consultant. How does Friday at 2:00 sound for you?”There is always two ways a phone call can go, but in the sales field, it is important to guide the call into an opportunity to close the deal. As the end customer, it’s hard sometimes to understand that there is a scheduled call for a reason. I mean, why can’t someone take my call right now? Well, that’s simple. Experts are highly sought after. When you need to see a specialist, you schedule an appointment, or worst-case scenario, you sit and wait for what seems like days. It is phone calls like that, which test your ability to turn this around. It demands patience, as well as the ability to make that customer feel like their call is the most important you’ve taken or will take all day. Customer service is a huge part of sales. Sure, anyone can tell you to buy a product or a service, but to make the customer always feel like they made the right choice, to believe as deep as we believe-that path is the best. That first impression does it all. If you can’t get them past the first call, you probably won’t be given another opportunity. Chances are you have called somewhere and expected or wanted results then and there. Perhaps it didn’t happen, which probably made you feel like that company didn’t value your time. We have all been there numerous times. A phone call that gets us no closer to the answer. It’s frustrating, but what could change the tone of the conversation? A friendly voice, a joke, something to at least take the edge off? In sales, customer service is the only thing that can turn a bad call around. So, what does it take?
One of the things that pops up when speaking about customer service is:Engaging in active listening. Well, what does that mean to you? As the person on the other side of the phone, who just wants to be heard, they may wish for their question or concern to not fall on deaf ears. Active listening is defined by Business Dictionary as, “the act of mindfully hearing and attempting to comprehend the meaning of words spoken by another in a conversation or speech”. This is becoming so involved with the call that you don’t allow yourself to be distracted. If you find you need help in this field, try repeating the person’s words subliminally.
Being courteous. Now this one seems obvious, but often times it isn’t. Sometimes, the salesperson is eager to turn the situation around and make the best of the opportunity. As a result, they may cut off or talk over the customer. Believe it or not, this can quickly send a decent call to the breaking point. It’s important to make sure your customer is completely finished talking before you begin. These are a few tips that may not be noticed by the customer, but over all it will assist.
The following are steps that could potentially turn a bad call into an opportunity:
- Using the Customer’s Name
- Going the Extra Mile and Being Proactive
- Asking Instead of Demanding
Use the Customer’s Name
Using the customer’s name creates a personal connection.After all, it’s hard to be mad at your friends.Dale Carnegie famously said that, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” People love to hear you pronounce their name – every time you do you forge a personal connection. Writing down the customer’s name will help you remember their name, and it will personalize the call for you. While you should use their name, don’t abuse it. Including it naturally throughout not only gives the customer a sense of personalization, but it also shows you are using active listening without saying it. This simple tip really helps let the customer feel like they are the most important person you’ll have talked to all day.
More than being personal, another step is to be proactive and go the extra mile. In the daily life of handling calls and booking appointments, sometimes you think your job stops once the meeting is booked or the call is handled. However, that’s rarely the case, especially if you want a good end result. Being proactive often means finding out exactly what the person wants, and relaying the message to the sales personnel so that your customer doesn’t have to tell his story a second time. It’s frustrating when you thought you left the first call explaining it all, only for it to never have made it any further; or even worse, explained wrong. Find out what will happen so you can prepare and make your customer’s experience as positive as possible. Going the extra mile, when you’re only given an inch will prove to the customer that they won’t regret the choice they are making.
Ask Instead of Demand
Last but not least, ask for permission, don’t be demanding. No one likes being forced to make a choice. If things aren’t going the way you planned, it’s a much easier pill to swallow if you get to make the choice on how the end result plays out. This step, combined with personalizing the call with a name and going the extra mile, can really turn what could have been a bad phone call into a second chance. These three tips for handling daunting phone calls are often noticed by the customer. They will lighten up and engage in the phone call. If you add these three tips to a seemly negative phone call, the first two steps will follow suit.
Consider your last less than positive phone call. If they had greeted you more personal and cared a bit more for you situation specifically, instead of brushing you off with the rest of the calls they get that day, would you have at least thought twice? If the other person did everything they could to guarantee your next call would be successful and useful they were courteous and asked questions and went the extra mile, would you be more likely to agree to a later date or time? Chances are yes, because everyone enjoys feeling like they are the most important person in the planet.
So, next time you get that call that you know you can’t give them what you want, at least give them a good experience while they wait to get what they want, by following these tips:
- Engage In Active Listening
- Be Courteous
- Use The Person’s Name
- Go The Extra Mile and Be Proactive
- Ask Instead of Demand
Chances are not only will the customer have a better experience, but so will you. You’ll find yourself scoring more second opportunities, and enjoying the conversation.