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How Sales And Customer Service Teams Dramatically Improve

How Sales And Customer Service Teams Dramatically Improve

Sales and customer service training often has a minimal impact on improving sales numbers and critical metrics.

 

There are three specific reasons for this:

  1. The sales team does not have the basic skills in place and the content of the training is way to theoretical, planning and strategy oriented and not nearly practical enough.
  2. Sales training transfers knowledge but practice elements are weak so practical selling skills don’t get developed much
  3. Sales managers/coaches don’t know how and/or don’t have the time to do much real sales coaching and follow up to sustain the progress made in training.

Over the years, we have met with hundreds of sales managers who said things like:

  • “Our people are really good, but they need something new and more advanced.”
  • “If the training is too basic, our people will not like it.”
  • “Our people are pretty high level, we don’t want to insult them with beginning training.”

And then, when you go out and start talking to the sales team and ask them to do things like:

  • Give me the three most important competitive advantages of your company?
  • Tell me who are the 25 highest capacity buyers you are trying to schedule meetings with?
  • Give me a concise and compelling success story of a customer/client of yours using your most popular product/service.
  • If a prospective customer/client were to ask you to explain what you and your company do, how would you answer?
  • What is the most common objection you get and what exactly do you say when it comes up?
  • Explain what it is that makes your company a better choice than your two strongest competitors?
  • How do you get a sales conversation off to a good start? Specifically what do you do?
  • When a prospect or customer will not give you an answer (yes or no) what are the different options you use that produce the best results?
  • Explain a new product or service your company is offering that you would like to see more of your customers purchase? Tell me about the product and what it could do for a specific customer?

More often than not many of the answers to these very basic selling questions and situations are weak and some are downright terrible. Sales people, even “high level” sales people, often fall into terrible habits when it comes to the bedrock skills of selling their product/service. Companies put sales team members through complex account development training when they can’t even leave a great voice mail that answers the simple question: “Why should I call you back?”

Interestingly, when companies understand this and finally put their team through a very rigorous coaching experience to learn how to communicate this stuff, the top performers LOVE IT. Why? Because they know this stuff makes a difference. There’s a time and place for more systems training, more ideas on how to maximize a CRM interface and yet another account planning and forecasting tool, but, at some point, a sales person has to be able to generate selling opportunities, then say the right things at the right time in the process to move the buyer forward in the sales process.

That’s what we do better than anyone else. There simply is no program that offers more rigorous coaching and practice repetition than what Consilio delivers. It’s the way a Navy SEAL trainer would teach sales people how to perform the critical skills that determine their success in the trenches. Thinking about prospects and strategy is very important, but not as important as the basics that always come into focus when we are voice-to-voice or face-to-face with a live customer.

This is what most sales organizations should focus on to generate better results:

  • Intensive training for managers, coaches, sales people and customer service agents that interact live with customers.
  • Rigorous coaching and training on the interactive skills needed when voice to voice with real customers.
  • Mastery of the core language needed to persuade and influence prospects and customers.
  • Mastery of the most basic interactive model that creates rapport, discovers needs, tailors products and services into high value solutions and all the skills to overcoming buying resistance in a natural and low pressure way.
  • Practice, coach then practice some more until every member of the sales team can effectively verbalize competitive advantages, differentiating factors, customer success stories, credibility statements and value propositions. If they can’t do this stuff at a world class level, all the training in the world on advanced account development theory won’t make a bit of difference.

 

What Are “Bedrock Sales Communication Tools” (BSCT’s)?

What Are “Bedrock Sales Communication Tools” (BSCT’s)?

The Bedrock Sales Communication Tools are the most fundamental communication tools Sales People MUST master.
Consilio has extremely rigorous training and coaching methods to break through the barriers that prevent sales professionals from being able to verbalize the critical information that determines selling results.  These critical sales communication elements include:
  • How to leave a great voice mail to get a callback
  • What to say to gatekeepers that ask “what this is in reference to?”
  • How to answer when a potential customer asks “what do you do and tell me a little about your company?”
  • A credible and compelling answer to the question … “why should I meet with you and what’s in it for me?”
  • A 60-second elevator speech of who you are and what you do
  • A solid credibility statement to kick off an initial sales conversation
  • An agenda statement to start every sales conversation / meeting with
  • The company’s value proposition
  • What differentiates you from your competitors
  • The company’s most important competitive advantages
  • Responses to the 3 most frequent objections to your product/service
  • Answer to the question … “Why should I do business with you?”
  • 3 solid success stories of customers the company does business with and the results they have gotten from your product/service
Knowing what to say and how to say it is not enough.  Sales People need to be able to VERBALIZE this knowledge and that’s where the weak link often is.  Sales People typically know their message better than they’re able to verbalize it.  The cause of poor results often comes from the inability to effectively communicate these critical pieces of communication and poor skills at using a proven sales process.  What sales people need to break bad communication habits is extreme coaching, repetition and reinforcement.  That’s what Consilio does that is unique in our industry.  No one brings the intensity of coaching and practice to the training process the way Consilio does, and we guarantee it. Selling has gotten steadily more complex over the years.  Computer based tools like CRM databases, social networking, cloud based apps, and increasingly complex account development models have raised the bar when it comes to what sales people need to know, especially when it comes to using technology, but one thing hasn’t changed at all.   All the planning, social networking, CRM keystrokes and internet research still leads to the exact same place.  At some point, they will be voice-to-voice or face-to-face with a living, breathing human being and need to interact with and say something that peaks their interest, so they will become more interested in considering their products and service.  Saying the right thing with conviction and credibility at these critical moments is what separates the top performers from everyone else. When sales people master the bedrock sales communications tools listed above they dramatically increase their odds of success.  If they are winging it, mumbling it out, struggling for the right words or simply lack the credibility and conviction they need, then some practice in these areas will yield significant results.   
Advanced Customer Service Skills: Manipulative Customers

Advanced Customer Service Skills: Manipulative Customers

Here are a few tips and best practices to help either you or the people you coach handle these difficult situations like a pro.

The contact center agents we coach encounter many different types of difficult customers. Some get upset for valid reasons and others, frankly, use anger and insults to try and game the system. Our agents need to be able to handle both.

First of all, agents don’t usually have the communication skills needed to deal with manipulative or otherwise unreasonable customers. We have found that many companies simply don’t teach the skills agents need for dealing with these unreasonable customers in on-board training and that only the very best coaches have the ability to truly make a difference when coaching and practicing with agents.

As we teach our agents, starting the call off right and acknowledging customers are the first steps toward deescalating calls. Here’s how a top-notch agent might sound when confronted with a furious customer:

Example

“Sir, I appreciate and understand how upset you are today. I’m glad you called and that I got your call. I have a couple of options I can offer you. Would you like to hear them now or have you got more frustration you’d like to share with me?”

But, what happens when irate customers are not swayed by an agent’s competence and empathy?  Level-headed, reasonable people will start to calm down if an agent remains professional and sincerely acknowledges customer concerns. Customers who maintain their level of anger when you legitimately address their concerns to the best of your ability might be trying to manipulate the situation.

Consider using or coaching agents on the following tips we’ve developed based on thousands of interactions with the best customer service teams in the world:

Don’t react emotionally

This gives away control of the conversation and lacks professionalism. Meeting a customer’s anger with anger will only escalate the situation and give them more to complain about. Maintain a professional and understanding demeanor throughout the interaction. Be aware and in control of your voice tone.

Be positive and offer choices

Speak in a positive manner. Instead of talking about what you can’t do, talk about the options you can offer. And give the customer a choice, if possible. This lets them feel more in control and lowers resistance.

Accept self-important people

When a customer actually plays the “do you know who I am” card, simply tell them you understand how important they are, (using a sincere voice tone, of course), and then follow up by saying something like, “However, the only options available at this point are…” and restate what you can do for them.

Deflect verbal abuse

This one is difficult for some. It involves parking your ego when an angry customer turns to insults. Rise above, take the high road and continually acknowledge their concerns, while remaining firm in what you can do. Realize it’s them, not you, so don’t take it personally.

Example

Customer: “You clearly don’t understand how to do your job.”
You: “I’ll admit I’m not perfect, but even so, what I can do for you today is offer you…”

Easier said than done. Maintaining a level-head when someone is clearly trying to bully or manipulate you is difficult, and responding appropriately and effectively takes practice and repetition. Coaches can incorporate this type of practice into private coaching sessions or team meetings, but oftentimes, coaches themselves need to hone their skills first. It’s one thing to tell reps how to handle manipulative and unreasonable customers, and it’s another thing to be able to demonstrate the appropriate response.

Our teams need to be exposed to what greatness looks like. As coaches, we need to drill these techniques repetitively rather than showing reps only once or twice and expecting them to achieve. Consilio can whip your team into shape by showing supervisors, coaches and/or customer service reps how it’s done and then practicing with them until they have the process down pat. Our processes and capabilities put demonstration, practice and repetition above all else to build and improve your team’s skills. Our rigorous training is so effective, we guarantee our results. Give us a try and see what a difference world-class coaching can make in your organization.