Even as Entrepreneur sounds the death knell of that long-honed sales technique the cold call, the idea of using the phone as a sales tool is only gaining steam.
Even if outbound is “old hat” and used less in both call center and small business settings, there are plenty of ways that companies like yours can (and should) be using the telephone for closing sales each and every day. Inbound telephone marketing is coming back in a big way, and along with it, valuable sales skills like upselling and cross-selling are going to help you really connect to your customers on a personal level like you never could online.
Internet of Things and the Telephone
Although mobile is still a huge channel for sales in today’s world and omnichannel is leading the way to the hearts and pocketbooks of Millennials everywhere, there are many types of purchases that require a personal touch.
When it comes to any order that needs customization, comes with a lot of questions or is just complicated to place, it’s more than the Internet of Things is capable of handling. This may change as artificial intelligence improves, but for now, at least, talented sales people are still required to make very real and personal connections with your customers.
Real telephone sales people can help callers by:
- Identifying pain points. Often customers don’t really know what it is that they want. They know they want a product like yours, but they want it to do this or that and, by the way, does it come in red? These are issues that aren’t formatted in a way that a computer can handle—but a human can.Your telephone staff will be adept at identifying these pain points, even if your caller isn’t expressing them well, and clarifying issues that may be in the back of your potential customers’ minds in order to close the deal.
- Suggesting necessary additions. It’s not unusual that when callers are ready to place an order they don’t really know what they need. For example, a caller may want a new television and a high tech surround sound system, but not realize that the necessary cables are extra.Your well-trained sales team can create a huge amount of loyalty and happiness by sparing your customer the hassle of getting the product sans cables by simply upselling the necessary items based on what they’ve been told about how the customer plans on using the television and audio system.
- Helping select options. Even if your product line is limited, it probably has a number of options to choose between, many that may seem similar to a customer. A properly trained salesperson can help a caller navigate these various options, help them understand which choices make the most sense for their situation and perhaps even save them a little money in the process, earning their business, referrals and loyalty for life. It’s amazing how little these situations feel like sales, but are really some of the most effective selling forms around.
- Preventing buyer’s remorse. Above all else, with a real person making a human connection via the telephone, you’re going to reduce the number of returns you get and the amount of buyer’s remorse experienced by your customers.When they feel like someone is really invested in their happiness and the salesperson truly probed that person’s situation to ensure they’re getting the product they really need, the customer satisfaction is hard to match—and that’s really the lifeblood of your business.
“Always be closing” is still the mantra of salespeople everywhere, but how and with what tools those closings happen are transforming. Even though sales can and often should start through channels like email, websites and catalogs, your human sales team is the only part of any sales campaign capable of really understanding your customers needs and making a solid, real-time emotional connection.
The art of the telephone sale may be changing, but it’s certainly not dead—and it’s still a great way to close nearly any type of transaction.