Telephone Sales Training – Nine Phone Sales Training Steps for Success

If you’re a sales manager, you rely on telesales to meet your targets. Selling over the phone isn’t a natural act. You’ve got to know how to get your prospect’s attention, know what you’re selling, know how to keep yourself motivated, and know how to troubleshoot when there are problems.Success means on-going training because if you or your team can’t be effective connecting with prospects and customers through the phone, you’ll have a major challenge hitting your numbers. Read on to learn the nine steps to create, implement, and manage your sales training strategy for a winning telesales team.1: Define Your Culture”Know what you stand for and what you won’t stand for.”Sales managers tell me, “I don’t have time to talk about culture. We’ve got sales to make.” I tell them, “If your team doesn’t know this company’s purpose, how they fit into the grand scheme, and why they are important to that purpose, anybody and any behavior will do. Do you want to manage that mess?”Defining your culture creates consistent customer experience, which creates your brand. Your culture helps your team know how to correctly answer tough questions and helps you know who to hire, how to train them, how to manage them, and why you make the choices you do.Define your culture with a sales manifesto, a one-page document that’s easy to understand and galvanizes your team into predictable action.You can define your culture by converting your company’s mission and vision into an action statement. “We’re the team that identifies, creates, and grows a relationship with… ” fill in your mission statement.You can further define your training culture by describing the attitudes, behaviors, and goals of your team. “We believe that our learning and quest to understand our customer never ends because we know more about our products, and our customers, and our competitors then anyone else.”You can refine your culture by describing what happens when things go wrong. “We hate telling our customers ‘no’ to a reasonable request. We’ll find the answer, make it right, or find someone else who can do it. No excuses.”These culture statements will either scare you (then go get another job) or excite you (you’re in the right place).2: Document Your Process”Know how customers buy and you’ll what you’re doing.”The concept of a process means that given a set of inputs, you get a consistent set of outputs. Applied to sales: given a customer’s objective, priorities, criteria, and propensity apply these communication steps and you’ll achieve a sale.You might be thinking, “Mark, it’s not that simple.”Yes it is. Every successful telesales organization uses some kind of a script – a defined process – that undergoes constant testing and tuning until it closes the maximum number of sales. If you’re going up against a competitor with a tuned telesales process, without a better sales process, you’ll lose, even with a better product.Your successful telesales process depends on your product and how your customers buy it. Some products can be sold with one scripted call. Others need a call and an in-person visit. And others need multiple calls, multiple visits, and a presentation to the board of directors.Whatever the process, you need to define what creates sales success as efficiently as possible. This means understanding how customers buy what you sell.Research the answers to these questions:· How do they find out about you?· How do they identify that you solve a problem, meet a need, or fulfill a dream?· Why would they trust you?· What is their objective that you can fulfill?· What are their priorities?· How can you get them to shift their priorities?· How do they know who to choose?· What price do they expect to pay?· What value do they get?· How do they justify the purchase?· How do they pay for it?· Who else needs to support this purchase?· What compels them to decide?· What causes them fear, uncertainty, and doubt?· What’s been their experience around buying something like this?· What’s their preference?· Are they loyal to another vendor?· What is that vendor’s weakness?· What would motivate them to take action right now?When you can answer these, and likely many more product specific questions, you will be ready to define your sales process.Your telesales process consists of high-gain discovery questions, compelling value statements tailored to the customer, objection busters, closing statements, deal sweeteners, and more. Along with this is the decision logic to know what to do next.3: Create a Compelling Incentive Structure”Any behavior that is rewarded will be repeated.”Teleselling is a rough job. Customers are rude: they hang up on you, they don’t want to talk to you. When it comes to picking up the phone and dialing, sometimes the receiver feels like it weighs a ton.That’s why top telesales managers have a wide range of incentives to keep the team smiling and dialing. Choose a mix of behaviors (like number of dials and number of messages left) and outcomes (number of appointments booked or deals closed).One caveat: make sure the reward creates your desired behavior or smart team members will figure out how to work the system. Regularly change up what you’re doing to keep the game fresh and the team on their toes.Here’s a list of ideas you might choose from.· First rep with 10 dials gets a $5 Starbucks card. Ready, go!· First one to get 50 “no’s” gets a $10 Taco Bell card.· Get 10 follow up appointments, get $20 AMEX card. Everybody wins.· Celebrate your 1,000th dial this month, get $100 AMEX card.· Close five customers today, I’ll buy you a steak dinner.You may wish to have team incentives if your product involves multiple people to do the deal. For example, winning team gets tickets to the skybox and a catered meal while the losing team gets general admission tickets and hot dogs.Once you have incentives in place for behavior, look to incentives for product knowledge and competitive information. This makes your telesales training sticky.Knowledge goals pay you on-going dividends because you – and your team – keep receive the benefits long after the training and incentives are over. So make studying for and passing quizzes part of your incentive plan. You can also do this as a pop quiz. “I’ve got a five dollar bill for the first person who can tell me three distinct reasons why customers choose us over our number one competitor.”4: Set Achievable Goals”Know where you’re going and know when you get there.”Nothing discourages a sales team faster than unachievable goals. Setting achievable goals with a stretch goal (a bit bigger than normal) results in a motivated and excited sales team.The difference between a new rep and a pro is product knowledge and telephone time. So for new telesales team members, set knowledge and activity goals to hone their chops. For example, “Pass this knowledge quiz at 90 percent and you earn… ” and “Make 50 dials and have 10 conversations a day and you’ll hit your target.”For experienced reps, set individual goals and incentives that capitalize on their strengths and improve their weak spots. For example, a rep that easily sets appointments but has challenges closing deals, create a multi-threshold target: set 10 appointments, study and pass this competitive knowledge quiz, and close one deal today and you’ll earn…Yes, this is more work than having a single incentive structure for everyone, yet it’s worth it because of the improved sales efficiencies.5: Select a Winning Team”Know who’s going to get you there.”A winning sales team is one that learns fast and unlearns easily. They’ve got to be trainable and willing to be continuously trained.Using the culture you’ve defined in Step 1, decide the attitudes and skills you need to achieve your goals. Don’t worry so much about knowledge, that’s a commodity that grows stale, can be taught, and knowing the wrong thing can limit future growth. Instead focus on the attitude you need for success.As the legendary former CEO of Southwest Airline, Herb Kelleher observed, “I can teach anyone how to fly a 737 airplane in a few months. What I can’t do is teach them the attitude to get out of the cockpit and unload bags if that’s what it takes to get the plane off the ground. I hire for attitude and teach them the rest.”Screen your telesales rep candidates over the phone. If they can’t sell you over the phone, how do you expect for them to sell your customers? Since few people actually answer their phones, start by having them leave you a voice mail message. Is it compelling? Do they sound the way you want them to sound or do they get lost in the rest of the messages? Do you want to call them back?Give them homework. Ask them to perform some task that represents the work they’ll do. Perhaps research a customer so that they can hold a relevant discussion.How trainable are they? Teach them how to do some simple new task to see how easily they accept ideas, how they retain information, and if changes in procedures frustrate them.How coachable are they? Do they accept feedback and coaching, willing to make adjustments to be their best and reflect your company’s culture? For example, how do they respond if you point out a common mispronunciation? (Mispronunciation kills trust with educated buyers and makes the seller sound ignorant.)6: Teach Sales Tactics”Know what gets, keeps, and directs your customer’s attention and teach them that.”Teach them the culture you defined in step 1 and the process that you’ve identified in step 2. Unless they’ve been selling by phone for a while, they probably don’t know what to do to be effective. Even so, they probably have some bad habits. And while many telesales organizations rely on scripts and script trees, unless you’re selling a low-cost, simple transaction, that’s not enough for a winning telesales force. They need to be able to hold unscripted conversations that explore customer needs, identify opportunities, know what to do next, and move the sale to completion.Elements of a strong telesales training program include:· How to create trust and rapport· Leaving voicemail that gets a return call· Setting call objectives· How customers buy the product: thought processes and actions· Creating and asking high-gain questions· Uncovering customer objectives, priorities, and criteria· Presentations that close deals, knowing what to say when· Managing objections· How to close to the next step· How to make an irresistible closeTake a close look at your sales training system to see how you can tune it to work better with your target market.7: Teach Product Knowledge”Know – in exquisite detail – what you’re selling.”The more your team knows about the products from a customer-centric view, the more they’ll be successful. Your team must know why customers buy and keep buying. Ideally, your team will have first hand knowledge and actually use your offering so that they become product evangelists.You can get a lot of sales power out of, “I use it. I love it. Our customers tell us that they choose us because… “They need to know the customer scenarios where you win and why. When they identify a customer situation, they know what to say and do.8: Teach Competitive Knowledge”Know – better than anyone else – what you’re selling against.”The more your team knows the competitive product, good and bad, the more they win against it. Train your team about how the competition sells, why customers buy from them, what they say about your product, and how to combat them.Ideally, you’ll have competitive products available for them to see, touch, and experience. Nothing is more powerful than saying, “I’ve used it and it’s just not for me. Our customers agree.”A confident and excited sales team is a winning sales team.9: Observe and Adjust”Know how to quickly troubleshoot and tune.”Whatever is measured tends to improve. While many telesales organizations will randomly and secretly monitor calls, you may find that you get more mileage out of specifically and overtly monitoring calls. Your reps will do their very best when they know you’re supervising and mentoring them. This builds positive sales habits that create a winning telesales team.Correlate training with sales success. One way to motivate your team to learn more is to show the tie between skills and product training and winning deals. For example, those with more training certificates tend to sell better. Those who do well on quizzes tend to sell more. Training leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to confidence, and confidence leads to sales.Publicize production. Place a whiteboard or digital display with key performance indicators where all can see. You want the team to know who’s leading and who’s lagging. This spurs the performers to compete to higher levels and will help you quickly spot those who need more coaching and training or need to find a different job, one that brings them success.Figure out why the winners win and teach that to the rest of the team. Determine why the laggards lose and teach the antidote to those behaviors.If you’re running a winning telesales team, you’ve got to manage, observe, encourage, train every day. While you don’t need to micromanage them, you do need for them to know you’re there to ensure their success.

Using Desktop Sharing Tools to Drive Sales Success

In the traditional sales model, presentations are made in person at the client’s place of business. Today, however, rising fuel costs have translated into higher airfares and gasoline prices. As a result, the travel budgets of companies around the world are straining at the seams. Similarly, company executives are recognizing that traditional business travel consumes a significant amount of a salesperson’s time, thereby negatively impacting employee productivity. Both travel costs and a salesperson’s time increase the cost of on-site meetings, and represent resources that could be better leveraged to generate additional sales. As a result, businesses are increasingly seeking less expensive technological alternatives to on-site sales presentations.This paper explores computer desktop sharing solutions as a means of leveraging resources to drive sales success. Specifically, this paper addresses four questions:
What is desktop sharing and how does it work?

What are the benefits of desktop sharing?

How can desktop sharing tools be used in sales?

What features should an effective desktop sharing tool include?

Although business travel and on-site sales presentations are sometimes necessary, many on-site pitches can be replaced by online presentations at a fraction of the cost. Effectiveness and efficiency increase, positively impacting both the sales professional’s and the client’s bottom lines.Desktop Sharing: A Simple, Innovative, Technological ToolDesktop sharing is an innovative software program that allows one or more people in remote locations to view the primary user’s computer screen. Using a Web-based interface, the user can show others any document or application that is open on his or her desktop.Desktop sharing is initiated when the presenter invites others to participate in a session. The presenter begins the session, and participants join via the Internet, using a unique session ID. During the session, the presenter’s screen – including mouse movements, documents, and applications – is visible to the participants. The participants simultaneously interact with the presenter by phone or audio conference call.The Benefits of Desktop SharingBy delivering sales presentations online, desktop sharing allows sales professionals to increase the effectiveness of their presentations while leveraging their time to reach more clients and prospective clients.Through the use of desktop sharing technology, sales presentations are amplified with visual components. The instantaneous, real-time delivery of documents, slides, or software applications allows for better communication and increased flexibility in addressing the specific needs and concerns of the customer.As a Web-based tool, desktop sharing enables the sales professional to make a presentation instantly to anyone, anytime, worldwide. Because a session can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection, traveling to a customer’s place of business isn’t necessary. This not only represents a significant savings in travel costs, but also a tremendous savings of time, allowing the salesperson to exponentially increase the number of sales presentations he or she can initiate.Desktop Sharing in SalesLead GenerationMany companies have found that desktop sharing quickly becomes a critical tool to generate leads.Breaking Down Geographic Barriers: As part of the salesperson’s repertoire, desktop sharing provides sales professionals with the ability to schedule online meetings with larger groups of prospective customers, regardless of their geographic location. Web conferencing allows companies to gather leads in new markets without incurring the travel expenses associated with reaching these prospective customers.Passive Lead Generation: Companies can, through their websites, offer visitors the opportunity to register for informational online meetings or for the launch and demonstration of a new product or service. Potential customers self-select as leads through the registration process. The data collected from registrants and from those attending the online meeting can be used by the company’s team of sales professionals to convert leads to customers. When a company archives their informational meetings and educational seminars on their website, potential customers can register to download or listen to the information, which generates additional passive leads.Existing Customers Become New Leads: Desktop sharing allows new products, services, or specials to be shown in order to upsell or cross-sell existing customers. Current customers make excellent prospective customers for new products, and desktop sharing enables a salesperson to upsell or cross-sell without having to make an on-site sales call.Educational Seminars Hook Prospects: Online meetings can also be utilized as a non-sales marketing tool to present live educational seminars to potential customers, who then become qualified leads. In contrast to online meetings that introduce a company or a specific product or service, the topic of an educational seminar serves to address a common challenge faced by the company’s potential customer base. For example, a company that provides shopping cart software might hold an educational seminar on cost-effective marketing techniques to drive traffic to e-commerce sites. The information gleaned from the attendees of these lead generation seminars can be passed on to the sales team, which can convert sales by using the collaboration features offered by desktop sharing.Qualifying LeadsWhen marketing tools, such as white papers, recordings of product demonstrations, and customer testimonials, are posted on a company’s website, potential customers self-select by downloading or accessing the materials. This process begins the selling process prior to a sales team member contacting a prospect.Similarly, an online meeting utilizing desktop sharing technology can drive prospects to download or access supplemental materials that can further pique their interest and speed up the sales cycle.Sales CallsDesktop sharing is most useful during sales calls, and represents a tremendous savings of resources. The salesperson can invite one or more prospects to a presentation or project demonstration, regardless of the geographic locations of the potential clients, thereby saving both time and travel expense.Presentations and Product Demonstrations: By enabling prospects to view the sales professional’s computer screen, desktop sharing allows the salesperson to easily present information about the company and its products and services. The salesperson can also turn over control of the desktop to a participant, allowing him or her to try the product or browse through various parts of the presentation. This hands-on experience gives the prospect a clear understanding of the benefits of the product or service.Building a Virtual Bridge: When some members of a potential client’s company can attend an in-person meeting but other key personnel cannot, desktop sharing allows those who can’t be physically present to participate in the meeting to attend from a remote location.Cold Calling: During cold calls, the sales professional can quickly initiate a desktop sharing session and invite the prospect to review the company profile and view slides or other information about the product or service.Immediate File Sharing: During an online meeting, desktop sharing allows the sales professional to provide potential customers with any material they may request. This capability communicates efficiency and a commitment to customer support.Closing the SaleDesktop sharing is a powerful tool for closing sales and shortening the length of the sales cycle and increasing revenue streams.Document Collaboration: Desktop sharing streamlines the process of working on proposals and contracts, since it allows both the salesperson and the client to modify proposals together in real time.Team Leader Involvement: A salesperson’s upline or supervisor can sometimes be instrumental in closing a sale. Desktop sharing solutions enable sales team leaders to join a sales presentation without ever leaving the office, thereby enhancing the interaction and increasing the client’s level of satisfaction.Client Authorization: When a sale hinges upon the go-ahead from a potential client’s higher-level manager, desktop sharing solutions can smooth the way to closing the deal by allowing managers to attend meetings without ever leaving the office. In addition, the flexibility inherent in the tool makes it possible to initiate or reschedule a presentation at a moment’s notice.Customer SupportOnce the deal is closed, desktop sharing tools can be utilized to enrich the relationship with the customer.Transitioning to Customer Support: Desktop sharing can become a bridge to provide the customer with the support needed to implement the company’s product or service. For example, desktop sharing can be used to introduce the company’s customer support team and walk the customer through the support services offered.Follow-Up Meetings: Desktop sharing can also be utilized to conduct follow-up meetings, during which the sales staff can stay in touch with new customers. A series of weekly conferences, for example, can go far in demonstrating a company’s commitment to their new clients.Customer Retention: Similarly, desktop sharing can be incorporated as a way of keeping in regular contact with existing customers. Inviting customers to educational seminars, new product launches, and company news events are just three of the ways that desktop sharing can help ensure customer satisfaction and pave the way for future sales.Features of Effective Desktop Sharing ProductsThere are a number of desktop sharing solutions in the marketplace. To ensure maximum accessibility and security, you should consider a number of factors when selecting a desktop sharing program.In order for clients and potential clients to embrace participating in a multimedia sales presentation, there cannot be any barriers to accessing the technology. From a technological perspective, this means that the desktop sharing product should enable participants to connect through corporate networks, firewalls, and proxy servers. They must also be able to connect using a variety of operating systems, such as Windows, Mac, and Linux. Similarly, customers should not be required to install software in order to participate in sessions.In order to facilitate spur-of-the-moment presentations, participants should be able to connect using any Internet browser and without having to register or submit any personal information. The desktop sharing interface should be intuitive and easy to use.From the presenter’s perspective, a desktop sharing tool should allow him or her to show his or her computer screen without first having to upload the content to a presentation server. Likewise, he or she should be able to hide confidential screen areas and have the ability to pause transmission in order to browse through confidential files. In order to facilitate discussion, the participants should be able to highlight items on the presenter’s screen.Finally, a desktop sharing solution should have strong security features. Transmission should be encrypted to the best practices standard, and connections to individual sessions should be made using unique, random session IDs.Leveraging Resources to Boost RevenuesWith tight travel budgets and time at a premium, using innovative tools to conduct remote sales presentations can leverage both your time and the time of your clients. Desktop sharing solutions can reduce routine business travel costs and increase productivity. The result is the ability to reach more prospective clients and an acceleration of the sales cycle. When sales presentations can start with a click of the mouse and reach customers and potential customers around the world, the result is an increase in the bottom line.