- Author: Noah Rickun
- Subject Matter: Management
- Issue: Becoming an Effective Salesperson
Every time you answer the phone, you have an opportunity and a choice.
- The opportunity: Somebody is calling you because they need or want something.
- The choice: You can give them information or you can give them a reason to buy from you.
Before you answer that next call, think “What’s my goal?” Hint: If your goal is to give them prompt, courteous information, you’re only a fraction of the way there.
I train my reps to go into that call with the following objectives in mind:
Make the caller smile
People call people they like. It’s not rocket science, but friendly service is rare in our industry.
Help the caller
Don’t recite policy. Answer all of their questions (like a human) and help them until they no longer need help. Yes, that may take you five minutes longer than you’re spending on the phone now. Unless you’re working in a call center for a utility or cable company offering crappy service to customers who have no choice, forget about call time and focus on the only metric that counts: Did you make the sale? Your boss will get over your slowness on the phone if your closing ratio is twice that of your coworkers.
Garner information and answers from the caller
Don’t simply provide information. If all you do is give quotes, you’ll never have any idea about whether the caller is likely to buy from you. Ask them questions about their expectations and their plans.
Ask for the sale
After you’ve delivered the quote, the answer and/or the information, ask them for a PO number or for a credit card. Never end a call with “I have three in stock here. It’s $157. Call me if you need it.”
Give them a reason to call you back
Or give them a reason to take your call when you follow-up. This is created by your friendliness, by your willingness to help, by your resourcefulness and by your value-based approach.
Here are a few things you might want to ask your callers (if you want to increase your odds of selling them something or, at the very least, if you want to have a better idea as to why they aren’t buying from you). After giving them a quote, ask:
- “Is that what you expected to spend?”
- “When would you like it delivered?” (as opposed to just telling them when you can ship it)
- “Is the car in your shop?”
- “Have you already sold the job to your customer?”
- “What other options are you considering?”
- “If you sell the job to your customer, will you be calling back to order from me?”
- “What else are you working on today?”
- “What else is in your shop?”
This is only a start. I don’t create scripts. I create an environment in which my reps are empowered to think and to play. So much of sales success comes from figuring out what works for you. I’ll give you this promise: Anything will work better than what you’re doing now. If you’re willing to take the risk, if you’re willing to try something new, you’ll soon be on your way to sales success.
The phone is ringing. Answer it, engage the caller, and earn yourself the sale.
Noah Rickun, aka Captain Reman, is the vice president of sales & distribution at ETE Reman. An aftermarket veteran, Captain Reman is known for sharing his sales, business and customer-service knowledge weekly through the e-newsletter Reman U.