Working in sales can be great, it can be easy and it can earn you so much money, but rarely. It is difficult to do your job with a myriad of targets for you and your team to reach while you are trying to compete with a multitude of competitors whose sales agents are trying to do the exact same.
I have worked in several telesales roles over the years (primarily insurance and telecoms) and I currently work for one of the BIG 4 mobile telecom companies in the UK on a line specifically for existing customers (although I do deal with new customers as well). It can be difficult to stay calm and focuses and do your job but I have found some tips on how to survive and excel in your job.
I often get a lot of “incorrect transfers” to myself. The customer is meant to be asked by customer services/billing etc. if they would like to hear the deals for additional contracts. Often they are not told this and it gives me a customer who is not looking for anything and has little idea why transferred. By just asking these customers you can get a sale, or even a call back as a later time for a sale. If you have a target of one sale for every 10 calls (conversion of 10 percent) then asking on these calls could potentially lead to someone remember that it’s their daughter’s birthday next week or their partner could do with a tablet because they are in hospital a lot (this is an example I had two hours ago).
By just asking you can potentially increase your sales potential, leading to higher bonus – what’s the worst the customer could say? “No.”
Turnover will be high
I’ve only ever been in one sales role where there is not a high turnover of staff. My previous employer was often employing 20-30 people every two weeks to fill out the gaps due to leavers and “sickness”. You will be great friends with someone then all of a sudden they disappear. Learn to deal with this as if you let the high turnover affect you then your performance will start to dip, alternatively if it does affect you move to another company. My current company is fantastic in benefits, incentives, bonus etc. This time last year I was a probationer in my job, there were two groups (of a max ten) after myself due to expansion and we have taken on 60 now due to expansion – not to cover leavers.
Nothing is ever going to go the way you want it to. Sure certain parts will but no matter what happens in live things will go wrong. It is necessary to breathe at times. I don’t mean breathe as in in through your nose and out through your mouth but taking that time to collect yourself and calm down.
I can have a rotten call with an angry customer who is giving me all sorts of abuse, the last thing I want to do is have the stress from that call carry over into my next call essentially affecting my sales potential. I will take 30 seconds and just breathe, collect myself and put that call behind me. The same is applied when I have a poor day, that’s why I love the 5 minute walk to the train station it gives me that time to calm down and look forward to getting home and doing my thing.
If you don’t breathe then everything will pile up and you will explode. In January (which is typically a very difficult month in sales due to post Christmas debt and saving) I didn’t do this, my performance was atrocious I was failing in everything. I didn’t think to breathe. The first day of February it seemed like the same so I took 5 minutes to talk to my manager (I breathed). By taking those 5 minutes to calm down and speak to someone it reset my outlook and I realised how I can breathe (which is having 5 minutes on a bad day ranting about things to my manager for myself). This led to me getting my highest bonus ever in February as I performed – less than half the floor hit bonus.
Sales can be a tedious job at times; you have to find something to do in the down time (when there is availability etc.). This will obvious depend on company as a lot of companies are strict on their social networking policy. Things that I’ve done to pass the time include writing my first article (this one), BBC News, competitions with mobile suppliers, researching new phones, Wikipedia (I am a bit of a history buff so this definitely passes the time), downloading and playing with apps – this indirectly helps with my sales as well.
Ideally you want to find something you can relate to your work, being a mobile company then nearly everything I do can some way be related to work, loosely.
While at work, please follow your works policies as you don’t want to get into trouble.
The call itself
So the most important part of your job is obviously the call. Leaving it to last is not to suggest that it is not. Every single call will be different, you’ll have the person who barely speaks English (or the language you speak in work), and the elderly woman who is lovely and chatty but you can’t carry on because you can’t get a word in edge-ways.
You have to treat every single call differently due to the nature of them.
I am often polite and professional but with the majority of customers there is little rapport building just because I find it difficult to rapport build until I get into the sale, when in the sale then I can learn more and go from there.
The best people for me to rapport build is mothers under 40 who speak English as their primarily language as I can relate more to them that the 27 year lager swilling man (I am a 27-year-old, wine sipping man btw).
Simple things such as “How are you today?” or “Is it chucking it down [raining] where you are as well?” can open up calls so build rapport and make the call about the customer. I’ve actually had a call that was listening to by the managers (and the client) in my old work where I spent time talking about baby poop with the customer. I’ve no idea how we got onto that subject but we did. The client and my manager loved it, found it hilarious, due to the fact that I related with the customer and it wasn’t about the end product (the sale) it was about making a memorable journey for the customer.
If you can do that you can have customers ask for you again and again and you essentially build up your own portfolio of customers, regardless if you have a portfolio or not.
While they may not be the “best” tips, I do find the tips above some of the best for me. Of course, like everybody, I don’t act on all of these all the time but when I do I can sell. I’m able to keep my mind from going into overdrive by breathing and to stop it falling asleep by multitasking. I ask on as many calls as possible as well as building rapport when I can and I’ve found myself in the right company and environment for myself to progress and feel safe as turnover is low here.
I hope you find the above information helpful in whatever sector you are in as most of it can be adapted to suit yourself (I hope).