We know which phone skills are important and which aren’t. How do we know?
Because the data tells us.
The way a call starts is critical to how it ends.
The person answering the phone at a business needs to be upbeat, excited, happy and thrilled that the caller took time out of their day to call! They called to talk to you. They are obviously interested in what your business is selling. If they weren’t, they wouldnt’ have called.
Also, remember that your company has likely spent several hundred dollars to generate this call. It is worth a lot. Act like it.
Instead of hearing upbeat greetings, we generally hear people that are stressed or hurried on the phone. Or, at least, that’s what they sound like when they answer the phone. They sound very stressed and they sound very hurried.
This is especially a problem in call centers and in distributed location environments. At a tire shop, for example, people are running in from the shop floor to answer calls. They often sound rushed and frustrated. In call centers workers are…well, let’s just say they’re not necessarily excited to be working in a call center. All of that comes through on the phone.
“Thanks for calling today. How can I help you?”
“Jim’s Muffler, this is Jim, how can I serve you?
Early in the call you should ask the for the caller’s name. This may sound overt or over-aggressive, but it is critical.
Research we’ve conducted with the help of UNLV and Dixie State College indicates that if employees use the caller’s name during the call, the caller is 2.5 times more likely to buy.
This is statistically critical.
Generally the employee doesn’t ask for the name.
“And can I ask your name sir?”
“And who am I speaking with today?”
When you describe your product or service, you should use descriptive words that paint a picture. Studies in the hotel industry, for example, show that a caller was 1.8 times more likely to reserve a room when the employee used phrases like ‘beautiful flat screen’ instead of the more boring ‘TV’. Another example is ‘crystal clear pool’ as opposed to ‘swimming pool.’
The words we use matter.
A caller is 4.4 times more likely to purchase when they are specifically asked to purchase. Remember, the person on the other end of the phone called you! They want to buy what you’re selling. Keep that in mind. You are not being too aggressive or obnoxious if you ask them to buy your product. You’re just not.
In about 80% of the cases employees do not ask for the business. They just don’t say anything. They’ll give the price of the product or service and then wish the caller a good day.
That’s not selling! That’s no different than what an automated IVR could do.
Sell them, otherwise you’ll be replaced by an automated IVR.
“So, it sounds like this is a good fit for you. Can I go ahead and sign you up today?”
“I have some time available between 2 and 4 tomorrow. Will that work?”
If you’ve asked for the business and the caller rejects you, says they’re not interested, or says they’ll call around a bit more, what do you do next?
About 95% of employees give up. They stop trying to sell.
You shouldn’t. Our data shows that employees who persist and ask at least once more for the business, are 12.6 times more likely to get it.
Persistence is critical.
“I honestly, think this is a great fit for you. What if I gave you a 20% discount today. Would you sign up right now?”
“I’m curious why you don’t want to book an appointment. Do you want to call around a bit more first? I’m honestly telling you that we have the best prices in town. Why don’t we just get you on the calendar? We’re filling up really fast. I don’t want you to lose your spot.”