Call Coaching is a new solution for some – but the lessons learned for those on the program are invaluable.
I know it’s football season, but here’s disclaimer for you before reading on: coaching isn’t just for sports, it is for everyone. In fact, some of the most successful people have coaches, whether it is a fitness coach, life coach, business coach, or in CallSource’s expertise, a call coach.
CallSource introduced Call Coaching to our deck of business tools in 2016 to help our clients improve their businesses even more. The program has been thriving ever since. Unsure how call coaching can benefit your business? Well, why not hear from other business owners about how call coaching has helped them.
There is always room for improvement—and some people need to see others succeed to motivate for self-improvement. Ever wonder why people trying to lose weight are usually more efficient and successful when they have group support with the same end-goal as them? According to The Alliance by Reid Hoffman, “75% of employees say that they’re willing to use their own time to further their careers and take on additional learning that would benefit them at work”. Seeing others improve themselves encourages team members to want to improve, too.
You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! Experience and seniority in a job are helpful, but there is always room for more learning and improvement. Just because someone is good at their job does not mean that they cannot get better. Having a call coach doesn’t mean that your call handlers don’t know what they’re doing—it just means that they are being invested in to always be at their fullest potential and to advance the skills they already have to stay consistent.
CallSource believes that call coaching gives your call handlers the tools they need to go from good to great.
Free Call Handler Checklist Included
Seemingly smaller parts of a conversation go a long way – and can end up costing you the sale.
As a salesperson, the majority of your responsibility is to talk to people to make the sale. People skills are obviously big, but there are still many other factors to take into consideration when selling over the phone. There may be a lot to think about, and it is easy to let important parts slip through the cracks. So what are some reasons that you’re unsuccessful at your sales job? Below we’ve listed out pain points of a phone sales conversation and how to overcome them.
1. You don’t have sales talk tracks
Even the most seasoned and skilled salespeople need to make sure that they are continually providing their best effort every time they get on the phone. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you’re perfect—conversations can get derailed, and important information can be forgotten now and then. Having some simple talk tracks or a checklist never hurts and will keep you on track.
Just like you’d create a list before going on a big trip, you know the necessities that you need to pack, but you want to make sure that you won’t forget anything. Now, you don’t want to have an all-inclusive script to work off of—no one wants to talk to a robot—but a bit of guidance is helpful.
Create a checklist of points that you want to make sure you’re hitting; otherwise, there is a high chance that at some point you will get off-track during your conversation and be unsuccessful at closing the sale or setting the appointment. As best-selling author Max Altschuler suggests, set an agenda with your caller, and use your talk tracks to make sure you don’t stray too far from it.
2. You aren’t customer-centric
Jot down some information about your potential customer before calling—check out the prospect’s social media sites and his/her company web page. This will ensure you will address his/her wants and needs, and provide a solution. Remember, it’s not all about what you do, but how what you do solves the problem.
Engage your potential customer to identify their pain/problem, and then help them understand how your company can provide a solution. Don’t brag about all your product’s great features — make the conversation about the customer.
3. You aren’t giving enough value before discussing price
… But you still want to make sure that you are successfully communicating the value of your company and product or service to make the potential customer want to buy-in. As suggested by Marc Eglon in “How to make a sales call – Part 1,” make sure that you are clear of the value of what you are selling, and be able to effectively connect that value to your prospect as well.
For example, if they are searching for a particular car, is this car a good fit for them? Why are they interested in it? Are they looking for speed, comfortability, luxury, or good gas mileage? If your prospect needs a new air conditioning unit, what type of model would best suit the needs of their house or company building?
Yes, it is your job to sell them on the product, but make sure it is a good fit as well and explain why they should choose your company to buy this car (or air conditioner, or whatever it is you are selling) from your company instead of any others. Don’t act like you are just trying to get them to buy it no matter what; keep their best interest in mind.
If you have any other suggestions or value statements of why you have better offers and are the best fit for their needs, discuss those up front. Do you offer a particular warranty, pricing options, and a great service department to install the AC they are looking for or take care of the car they want to buy for years to come? Talk about all the positives of your business before price becomes the looming factor.
4. You aren’t successfully overcoming objections
It’s difficult to close the sale or set the appointment on a first try. Customers will most likely have some apprehension or objections before you can close the sale. Be prepared for these. This is why addressing their concerns and giving value is crucial before it comes to the part for them to commit.
You should have responses for objections that may arise from the prospect included in your talk tracks This way; you lessen your chances of being caught off guard and don’t stumble with less confidence than usual once it comes to being more on the defense.
Ready to put these into practice? We have a FREE call handler checklist for your call handlers to use. This checklist is based on our years of experience analyzing inbound call handling skills.
Looking for more tips to increase your performance? Make sure to subscribe to our blog. We’d love to hear any tips that you have as well in the comments below!
Need to increase your appointment-setting conversions at your company? Call tracking can help.
Call tracking is for more than just your marketing department. Advanced call tracking platforms deliver metrics to help improve your business. Below are four ways that you can improve your conversion rates by utilizing call tracking.
1. Set Goals with Your Team and Share Updates
Keep your employees accountable by not only setting specific conversion rate goals for them to hit on a monthly basis but keeping them updated on their progress to stay on track. CallSource’s Platform allows you to setup scheduled reports on a weekly basis (or whatever time frame you choose) showing your team’s conversion rates which you can share with the team—the data is right at your fingertips. By holding your team members accountable, they are sure to strive harder to reach their goals, improve their scores, and ultimately make more sales for the company.
2. Incentivize Based on Data
To take goal setting and accountability a step further, incentivize your team based off of their success. If you set a goal for your team to improve their overall conversion rate by 5% in two months, have an incentive on the line if they can improve in the time allotted. Maybe it is a monetary incentive, team outing, or some other idea—you know your employees best and what will motivate them. It is through regular check-ins on their data via web reporting that will easily tell you if your team is hitting their increased conversion rate goal.
3. Pay Attention to Areas of Improvement
Setting appointments to achieve higher conversion rates takes more than simply reading off of a phone script. CallSource encourages all managers and owners to log into the system and listen to some of your recorded calls. You should be able to hear if your call handlers are adhering to the qualities of a good phone call or not, and where you think that specific employees need to improve in their conversations.
To make this even easier and less time to consume for managers, CallSource has put together our proprietary Four Core Principles that we score phone calls based off of in our Telephone Performance Analysis (TPA) Report. Easily diagnose which area(s) of the phone call that your team needs extra training and coaching on overall and on an individual level by viewing your TPA scorecard(s), and identify where to focus your efforts to set more appointments.
4. Coach Your Team to Improve Skills
Scored calls, and call recordings, are available to you via the CallSource Platform—now you need to put action behind the analytics. Meet with your team on a regular basis, both as a team and individually to review calls. Focus on specific areas that your team and individual employees need to improve upon to set more appointments and increase their conversions.
If you don’t have the time or feel that you have the skills necessary to coach your employees on phone handling skills, CallSource has trained Call Coaches with years of experience to coach your team Coaching has been proven to increase conversions, and call tracking is the basis of this program.
So what are you waiting for? Start utilizing the data you have to start booking more appointments today!
FREE DOWNLOADABLE TRACKER SPREADSHEET!
If you’re making an effort internally to rebook your lost leads, don’t you want to see if your efforts are working effectively?
Whether a call handler did not present value, the caller had price objections, or your business is at capacity for the day, there are going to be a myriad of reasons that a call does not convert into an appointment. But do not fear—CallSource is here!
Although we’ve talked about ways you can overcome objections, there will be times when you simply cannot get the caller to book an appointment. Of course, we recommend turning these calls into learning opportunities—with the end goal of recapturing that caller into a long-time customer.
Hi, it’s me again
Whether you are using CallSource’s DealSaver alerts for awareness of your missed opportunities or have your own program, how do you know how successful you are on your follow ups? We have put together a handy internal-use spreadsheet to effectively track the outcomes of your follow-up attempts.
Why is this important? Well, if you are putting in the effort to call back your customers, don’t you want to know how effective your follow-up call handler or program is being? What strategies are working when you call back to gain the appointment? You need to decide how you want to approach the customer before dialing the phone; you don’t want to upset anyone by “bothering” them for a second conversation, but you also need to be open and honest. Stay tuned and subscribe for more posts on outbound best practices.
Thanks for following up
If you need help tracking your outbound call efforts, download our FREE Follow-up Spreadsheet. By utilizing this worksheet, you will be able to track your outbound attempts, successfully decide what is working, what isn’t, and why you are getting these missed opportunities to begin with.
If you are already a CallSource customer, be sure to work with your dedicated account representative for any additional help on how to use this worksheet to your best advantage.
In this spreadsheet, you will be able to:
- Track how many missed opportunities you consistently follow up on
- See which employee is most successful at gaining the appointment on that second call
- Figure out which outbound calling tactics work best when regaining a caller’s appointment
- Make decisions to improve based on data that you are collecting, instead of assumptions
See all this info all in one place!
We’ll do the work for you before the caller goes to the competition
It’ll take a bit more effort to track on your own, so we’ve taken the guessing game and extra work out of the equation with our DealSaver program, which sends you your missed opportunity alerts soon after the initial inbound call. This allows you to listen to a call that wasn’t booked and strategize how to recapture that caller’s commitment.
Although call coaching takes some weight off the manager’s shoulders, management still has a few key roles to support their employees on coaching.
Improvement means change, and change takes effort. There are three main challenges that internal management will need to overcome for effective third-party coaching and the positive changes that go with it.
- The environment – conflicting priorities, time constraints, lack of support.
- The human factor – lack of commitment, understanding skills, initiative; resistance to change.
- The follow-through process – poorly defined goals, poor execution plan, lack of accountability, rewards and consequences.
While a good coach can address many of these issues through experience and skill in listening, questioning, and engaging, management also has a responsibility to enforce certain policies and keep employees accountable.
The role of the internal manager is quite important alongside coaching with a third party. While the call coach can do their part during their coaching sessions, outside forces will inevitably affect the outcomes of the employees’ success on a day-to-day basis. This is why it is imperative that managers re-enforce behaviors being coached and support the call coach in their efforts.
Although call handlers may have other responsibilities besides answering the phone, priorities must be outlined to employees so that they know that setting appointments is their number one concern, which means employing the lessons they learn during their coaching sessions is crucial. The manager must support their employees’ journey in bettering their phone skills, whether that be during one-on-one or group meetings on a regular basis, on-the-spot reinforcements, and/or signs posted in the office reminding the team of their goal(s).
The Human Factor
Since coaching may not have been outlined as a job responsibility when employees first began, some may be resistant to a new coaching program and feel that it is being critical of them rather than seeing it as a tool to learn and improve. It is vital that management brings up the importance of why they are using a call coaching program and its benefits for the employees and the business. When introduced in a way that makes sense and gets call handlers excited to better themselves, there should be less struggle and more understanding, helping employees to be better committed to the program.
The Follow-Through Process
Lastly, it is important that managers to not only explain the call coaching process to employees, but also have a set plan in place and goals to achieve based off of the program. Just as a person going to see a nutritionist and personal trainer to lose weight and get healthy would have regular goals and check-ins for accountability, a plan must be set in place when starting a call coaching program as well. Make sure to hold employees accountable to goals set, and continuously check-in and update those goals over time. Utilizing incentives and rewards, as well as consequences, will be a great help in this area.
Call Coaching is proven to improve conversion rates – and can be even more effective when using a third party coach instead of an internal authority figure.
Once you have decided if it seems like the right time for your company to start a call coaching program, it’s time for the call coaching conversation. The coaching conversation is the way in which coaching is delivered to your call handlers. It’s a dialog between the coach and the call handler; the employee is fully involved in the communication process and the call coach frequently solicits the employee’s thoughts, feelings and feedback.
The conversation follows a process that engages and empowers the call handler to be proactive in any performance improvement. This process is important: undisciplined conversations do not follow any process and often result in a false sense of performance improvement. Skilled coaches allow for an interactive dialogue with the call handler, but simultaneously guide the coaching conversation towards the specific and pre-planned conversation stages.
In many of our clients’ businesses, while there are people with many varieties of skill sets, most of those do not include skilled call coaching. Many owners and managers are too busy to dedicate the time necessary to truly coach their call handlers and set aside enough of that one-on-one and group time for true coaching sessions. This is where a skilled, seasoned call coach comes as a reasonable option.
Coaching is a pretty personal activity, and can make for a difficult discussion between manager and employee. There is a delicate balance of ensuring improvement by giving helpful and critical feedback while not offending, yet also delivering true recommendations and results. It is easy for an employee to feel more intimidated by having their boss be their call coach, yet comfortable with a third party coach whose job is to make them a better employee without judgment.
Utilizing a third party call coach not only provides a better, less intimidating experience for employees, but it also frees up time for managers to dedicate to other important tasks. Depending on the size of your call handling team, coaching can be a full-time job. Not only does it entail the time of the actual coaching session, but there is also preparation of listening to calls to coach off of, preparing the coaching conversation and follow up. While it is important for managers to follow through internally with what is learned during an employee’s sessions with their external third-party coach, it requires far less time than actually completing the full coaching on a regular basis.
Many clients enjoy using CallSource because of its third-party call scoring since it takes a weight off of their shoulders and gives unbiased feedback; using a third-party call coach provides those same benefits.
To find out more about CallSource’s third party coaching process, contact a representative today.