How to Convert Inbound Phone Calls into Sales Calls
By: Patrick P. | September 27, 2016
When you think of answering the phone, you can imagine it’s a simple task, isn’t it? However, in truth, only 30% of companies get a passing score when it comes to handling the incoming calls for their services and sales. And this is costly for these companies. This is because your company has spent a good deal of money in marketing so that you’ll get the calls. But by the time they do call and those calls are not answered or received poorly, then they’ll just move on to the next company offering the same products or services.
In order to stop your company from bleeding out money from failure to receive and handle incoming calls well, you need to do all you can so you can entice as many clients there are. This strategy is called inbound call optimization. This term might sound complicated at first. But in this article, we will discuss what this is about the and best practices you can do in your company for handling your inbound calls.
Make Sure Your Clients are Talking to a Human
For most of us, it is natural to want to talk to a human being when we have inquiries or issues so that we can get answers quickly. That is why systems like IVR and voicemail leave a rather poor impression on customers because these are inflexible and impersonal.
Another thing to consider is that you might be receiving calls from clients from another time zone. So this means it could outside of your regular business hours already. What you can do is to hire a receptionist or agents that can work after-hours so there will be someone to answer the calls.
Pick Up the Phone at the Right Moment
The right moment is somewhere between not making your clients impatient and picking up the phone too fast that you seem to not be busy. You have to strike a balance. Don’t let the phone ring more than twice. So the rule of thumb we can establish here is to answer the call after the second ring.
Be Courteous to Your Callers
There are three essential elements when it comes to answering the phone. The first is that there ought to be a brief salutation where the agent can mention the name of the company. The next is for the agent to mention what his or her name is. And lastly, the agent should be ready to offer his or her assistance to the caller such as “How may I help you today?”
Don’t be Dependent on the Script
Don’t read the script or you’ll start sounding like a robot or just plain impersonal and insincere. The script is there to provide you with a guide to your conversation with the caller. You don’t need to use the script verbatim or word for word. Being sincere and just natural in talking or in the conversation can allow agents to have a genuine connection with the clients. If this happens, chances are you will probably convert that call into a sales call.
Use the Name of the Caller
During a call, take note of the name of the caller so you can use it to address him or her periodically. When you use the person’s name in a conversation, it gets their attention, and it establishes a connection between the two of you. It will make them feel important. But take note, don’t overdo it, or you will just sound annoying.
Refrain from Using Close-Ended Responses
When you start responding with just a plain yes or no, your conversation won’t really get anywhere. That is why it is important for the agents to know how to ask follow up questions so that the conversation may be sustained and they can enhance the chances of making a connection and eventually, a sale.
Make Sure to Understand the Issue of the Caller
The agents handling the call have to make sure that they understand the issue why the client called in the first place. If in case the problem is more complex than usual, restate the problem by how you understood it. This will allow the client to correct any misunderstanding or to affirm that you have understood the problem correctly. This will surely make the customer feel that you listened well to his or her problem, and you are eager to help in resolving it.
Leave a Positive Impression
Almost everyone prefers people who have the can-do attitude. People with negative vibes often repel everyone else because it’s hard to deal with all the negativity. This is the same when it comes to companies. We like companies that can make us feel good about ourselves or just have that feel-good vibe. It makes us feel that these are the types of companies that can deliver their obligations and promises to their clientele.
For the agents handling calls, one way to make sure that the clients can feel the positive vibe is to smile first before answering the call. Smiling alone can release endorphins in the body and can have an impact on your mood and attitude. You will sound happy to be of help to the customers and believe me, the clients can tell.
Try Your Best Not to Put a Customer on Hold
No one wants to be put on hold; it is an awful waste of time. For the part of your company, making sure not to put your clients on hold shows that you have respect for their time. If you do need to put them on hold, do so in less than 30 seconds.
If it has to be more than that, go back to the customer every 60 seconds to give an update if the person he or she wants to talk to is still occupied. This makes them aware that they are not forgotten, and you are doing your best to get the person they need on the line. Another option is to get their contact information so that you can return the call if they prefer it that way.
Do Not Lose Your Temper on the Customer
Never, ever lose your temper on the customers. The phone calls can be recorded, and that can be bad for you and your company. A moment of anger can be recorded and can spread online like wildfire. This will ruin the reputation of your company. If the agent feels that he or she is about to lose his or her temper, tell the caller that he or she will return the call as time is needed to resolve the issues. This is a way to take a breather and not get angry while taking a call.
Ask the Client if the Issue Has Been Resolved
Before ending the call with the client, make sure to ask if the issue has indeed been resolved. Ask them if the problem has been solved and if they are satisfied with the outcome. They would want to be sure that their goal in calling you has been accomplished. And you would want to know the same.
Review Any Next Steps that You Have Agreed On
Close your inbound calls by reviewing any steps that you and the caller have agreed upon. For example, if the clients need to personally be in the office for some transactions, mention that and ask for a specific time on when he or she can come over. This allows you to get a commitment from the client. In most sales cycles, this can be difficult as a first commitment, but after that, the successive commitments gets easier to gain.
These are just some of the ways on how you can turn inbound calls into sales calls. Surely, the case varies from company to company. But the main points are that you should listen to your client well, be sincere in handling their issue, do your best to help them in whatever problem they called about, and lastly, be patient and do not lose your temper on them. If you have all these elements, the clients will be grateful for the time you spent in helping them, and this will create a positive impression on your company.
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