Did you know that only 3% of people trust sales reps? Ouch! No wonder outbound sales can be so rough.
Even if your call center has all the right components to make sales and increase your revenue: a quality sales team, a product that you know will be useful to your target audience, and you and your team are motivated to close more deals, you’re still likely struggling with a dismal conversion rate.
As a VP or Director of Sales, what can you do to stack the deck in your favor?
In this post, we’ll help you identify the possible causes of your low sales conversion rate, and we’ll also give you 11 tips on how to improve the efficacy of your sales calls.
- Hire With Sales in Mind
- Focus on Solving Problems
- Eliminate the “Telemarketer Delay”
- Call From a Local Number
- Train Your Team Members to Cross Sell
- Encourage Your Agents
- Make Training a Priority
- Follow Up After Emails
- Recover Lost Sales
- Reduce Background Noise
- Monitor Calls
Let’s get started!
#1 - Hire With Sales in Mind
The first step to improving your conversion rate is to ensure that you’re hiring with that goal in mind. While you can always train new agents on product features and sales call etiquette, soft skills such as empathy, enthusiasm, and reflective listening cannot be taught in an employee handbook. Look for and hire people who already possess these people skills so that they can easily connect with your prospective customers.
While it may be tempting to only hire extroverts, remember that introverts have an incredible capacity to connect with others one-on-one, especially if they believe in what they’re selling. Instead of hiring the most outgoing and sociable, look for people who are natural problem solvers and have an honest desire to help others.
#2 - Focus on Solving Problems
To reiterate the last point, it’s key that your sales team focuses on solving the customer’s problem. Too often, businesses are in sales mode, i.e. pushing a product without paying attention to the customer’s individual pain points.
Ensure that your team listens carefully to how the customer describes their problem. They probably won’t use the right words or understand the problem fully. But that’s where your team comes in. Act as an expert guide instead of a salesperson. This shift changes the way that you approach your prospective customer’s problem. Instead of selling, you’re listening and guiding the prospect to the right solution.
This strategy also gains trust because your prospective customer won’t feel like you’re just trying to push them to a solution that may not work for their needs.
#3 - Eliminate the “Telemarketer Delay”
Someone answers the phone, says hello, and then there’s a delay and a click and finally someone comes on the line. We’ve all experienced this, and we’ve all probably hung up right after. This telemarketer delay is a surefire way to tank your outbound call center conversion rate!
How do you eliminate it? By using a high quality hosted power dialer, which eliminates dropped calls and offers 100% delay-free connections. Most dialing software can’t do this, and having this feature is a HUGE advantage to an outbound sales team.
More connections + fewer hangups = more deals closed. Winning!
#4 - Call From a Local Number
Everybody has caller ID these days. Prospective customers aren’t likely to answer the phone if they don’t recognize the area code.
“603. New Hampshire. I don’t know anyone in New Hampshire.”
Even worse than calling from a different area code—calling from a toll-free number. Then the prospect most likely won’t answer, and you can’t convert someone you can’t even speak to.
Don’t give your prospective customer a reason to dodge your call!
PhoneBurner’s local ID service dynamically displays a local area code. This builds immediate rapport and makes the customer more likely to answer.
#5 - Train Your Team Members to Cross Sell
Upselling (i.e., convincing the customer to purchase a higher-priced product) gets a lot of attention, but don’t forget the benefits of cross selling. When you cross sell, you sell additional products. Cross selling can increase your revenue even more than upselling, especially if you train your team to solve problems through active listening. By listening to the prospect’s pain problems, your agents will find more opportunities to sell additional products.
Be sure that your team knows your entire product catalog and empower each agent with the ability to sell more than just one type of product. This is crucial because, if your agent has developed a rapport with a customer, transferring to a different department could jeopardize the sale.
#6 - Encourage Your Agents
It's easy for sales team members to get burned out when they’re dealing with one “no, thank you” after another.
Look for ways to encourage and motivate your team. Reassure your team that they’re doing a good job and celebrate every win as a win for the entire team.
Consider creating a rewards program that incentivizes success. Set goals for the day, week, month, quarter, or year, and give real prizes when your team meets those goals. Prizes may include gift cards, paid time off, team parties, and more. Separate your sales group into smaller teams and use a leaderboard to keep score and spark friendly competition and naturally encourage their fellow team members.
#7 - Make Training a Priority
Training isn’t just nice to have, it’s a must-have. While you should hire people who are naturally talented in selling, you should also provide ongoing training to equip them for the task. In other words, it shouldn’t be a one-time-only event for new team members.
If you make any changes to your products or release new features, don’t forget to give your sales team a hands-on demonstration. It will be easier for your team to sell a product that they’ve used before.
It can also be great to role play sales scenarios with your team, tackling different objections and questions that are likely to come up, so that your sales team is prepared for the curveballs that will inevitably be thrown their way.
#8 - Follow Up After Emails
Do you send emails to your prospective customers? It’s rare for the first outreach email to get a hit. It can often take 5, 6, 7 or more follow-ups before you book a call or get a sale, so persistence is key!
Luckily you can use PhoneBurner to get notified when prospects open emails, click on links, view documents, or watch a video. Your agent can track the prospect’s engagement and then tailor their response accordingly. This feature also gives your team an active list of people to reach out to each day.
#9 - Recover Lost Sales
If you run a business that sells online (and who doesn’t nowadays), it’s absolutely essential that you have a plan to call back prospects who’ve abandoned their sign-up or checkout process. You have a tiny window of approximately one hour to recover the sale, but the sooner you call, the better. If you don’t reach out within 10 minutes on average, most buyers will have gotten distracted, lost interest in the product, or started the process of buying from someone else.
A best practice for any ecommerce shop is to capture contact information early in the buying process, a long time before getting their payment information. This allows your team to reach out to the buyer if the purchase doesn’t take place due to an issue with your website or buyer hesitation due to an unexpected charge.
#10 - Reduce Background Noise
If you have a busy call center, background noise could be the cause of your poor conversion rate. Not only is background noise considered unprofessional, it can lead to a negative customer experience when they can’t hear your agent clearly or, worse, they can hear your other agents socializing with each other too clearly.
Invest in noise-cancelling microphones/ headsets that allow the prospect to focus on the sales message, and not what’s happening in the background. While specific models may go in and out of production, both Jabra and Plantronics make excellent headsets and are worth checking out.
#11 - Monitor Calls
Running a sales team is hard, but without being able to listen in on live calls to provide coaching and support to your sales team, it’s easily 10x harder.
Did you know that PhoneBurner allows you to record phone calls? These features help you identify coaching opportunities within your team, and you can use them to analyze performance so that your agents understand what they may have missed and what they can work on for the future.
Final Thoughts on Call Center Conversions
To effectively sell over the phone, implement as many of the above tips as you can.
Not only will these strategies improve your revenue, but they’ll also boost team confidence and ensure that you’re building trust with all prospective customers, all of which can help to significantly boost your sales call center conversions...and of course, those lovely performance bonuses!
Before you go, check out these additional resources to help get the most from your outbound sales efforts: