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First Impressions and Etiquette Count

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phone etiquette

 

Buyers, who have a plethora of options as to whom they buy from, are cutting potential vendors very little slack. And phone etiquette counts!  In fact, many screen out potential vendors within the first minute of telephone contact based on their initial impressions and “gut feel.”  Negative impressions that “turn off” buyers often include: being put on hold for more than a minute, not being able to easily reach someone knowledgeable about the firm’s offerings, “talky” or pushy salespeople, a perceived lack of professionalism and poor phone etiquette.

Clearly, first impressions are critical to sales success and the use of successful sales techniques is critical.  So, make it a resolution to start out your New Year by improving your phone etiquette and approach.  Let’s start by looking at your customers’ perspectives and asking some important questions.

 

Sales and Phone Etiquette

 

1). CONTACT EASE: How easy is it for prospective buyers to get a hold of your or someone else who is knowledgeable?  How well do receptionists take care of people who call in?  Do callers become frustrated by confusing voicemail systems, “voicemail jails” and auto-attendants?  Do prospects reach voicemail more often than live people?
 

 

2). ATTITUDE: How is the phone answered and what is the demeanor of the salesperson? Are callers treated in a consistent manner on each and every call?  One client of ours has a standard of first mentioning their company name, then introducing the call handler by name, and then making the statement in a very positive tone, “I can help you.”  Indeed, well-designed call handling strategies and proper phone etiquette often pay off with more business and higher levels of customer satisfaction. .
 

 

3). DICTION: We’ve observed many sales and service people use informal language with words such as “dude,” “radical,” “cool” and “let’s boogie.”  While some customers may be entertained by or even like this, others see it as overly casual or unprofessional.  Indeed, sticking to more mainstream words and diction is the safest phone etiquette and runs little risk of offending people.
 

 

4). VOICEMAIL GREETINGS: Many individual voice mailbox greetings (e.g. “I am on the phone now…leave me a message after the beep”) are simply unimpressive and/or non-productive.  Likewise, we often hear greetings that are out of date (e.g. on Wednesday we hear a greeting that states “it is Monday and I’m out of the office today”).  Good voicemails, on the other hand, often convey useful information (e.g. “I will be returning calls between 3-5 pm today”) and provide the caller with useful options (e.g. “If this matter is time sensitive, call me on my cell phone at 858-945-8888 or contact my assistant James at 858-452-9211”).  Good phone etiquette and effective voicemail greetings are critical to presenting a positive image.
 

 

5). HIGH-QUALITY EMAILS: While an advantage of emails is that they are expected to be somewhat informal, many are simply unprofessional.  Email glitches include: spelling errors, grammatical errors and long, rambling sentences. Moreover, salespeople and companies often don’t use a standard signature line on emails.  A good signature line can serve as a promotional message (e.g. use your firm’s slogan/tagline) and should also contain name, title, phone numbers and website address.
 

 

6), APPEARANCE: If you are meeting with customers or prospects in person, how do they perceive you based on your appearance? Is the salesperson well groomed and appropriately dressed?

 

When companies use a customer-oriented, respectful sales and phone etiquette, people notice!  And unfortunately, when a highly-consistent, high-quality manner of treating customers is lacking, prospective buyers notice even more and tend to take their business elsewhere.

 

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

 

 

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Generating Incremental Sales via Customer Service Teams

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Customer Service Sales Training Excellence

 

Companies facing sales challenges are finding innovative ways of boosting sales without significantly increasing their costs or staffing levels–how? They’re developing customer service sales training courses  and programs that allow their customer service and technical support teams to identify leads, cross-sell, up-sell and help close key accounts.

 

To pave the way for success, these companies usually provide their service people, who are always looking for ways to boost their earnings, with both sales training and incentives. A survey by Inc. Magazine supports this trend toward sales by non-salespeople.  More than 54 percent of the companies polled said that they “reward non-sales employees for their role in sales.”  Another study, conducted by Xerox, also showed that non-sales professionals trained in sales techniques often achieve impressive results.

 

But, a word of caution is needed.  We’ve found that a number of service people are resistant to sales initiatives because they don’t like the idea of selling (after all, that’s why they’ve chosen a service rather than a sales role).  To address this reality, we’ve developed a comprehensive program that first helps motivate service people to sell and then provides them with appropriate “soft sell” skills and tools.

 

Smart companies look for opportunities to capitalize on each and every customer interaction, regardless of whether the employees involved are in a professional sales role.  If you’re looking for ideas on how to boost sales and motivate non-sales employees to sell for you, please contact us for a complimentary customer service sales consultation.

 

All Rights Reserved.  The Sales Alliance Inc.  San Diego, CA

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