Training telesales representatives is different than training outside sales professionals because the sales medium is not the same. Outside professionals have the advantage of being able to read a client's body language and facial expressions, while a telesales associate does not have that opportunity. Specific training tips for telesales representatives should be used for efficient training results.
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Role playing is a part of training telesales representatives, just as it is in training face-to-face sales professionals. The difference is that the role playing needs to be done in a phone conversation setting. There are two ways to accomplish effective role playing training for telesales associates. The first way to do this is to put the sales trainer and associate in two separate rooms, and use a phone connection to do the role playing. The other way to do it is to place the sales associate and the trainer back-to-back in the same room, and role play that way. When doing the back-to-back method, it is important that the trainer and the associate not have any physical contact at all.
Because a telesales associate cannot read the customer's facial expressions or body language, he needs to learn to react to the flow of the conversation. A telesales associate cannot allow the conversation to stop until the client hangs up or the sale is closed. A stop in the conversation creates an uncomfortable pause that can drive a customer away. The way to prevent this is to be prepared for every call. Have an introductory script available, and work on scripts that can be used for various negative customer responses. When a telesales agent has a reliable library of scripts, and has studied the product information thoroughly, he is prepared to move a telesales call to a close. That takes training, and developing good preparation methods should be a part of every telesales training program.
Getting Past Gatekeepers
According to the online business resource All Business, a gatekeeper is a secretary, receptionist or administrative assistant that answers the phone and will not let you speak to the decision-maker. Telesales training needs to include methods of either getting past these gatekeepers, or getting valuable information from them to help in future calls. One of the simplest tactics is to simply confirm with the gatekeeper that you have the right person to speak to and her correct contact information. You may not have had the chance to speak with her, but you were at least able to confirm that she is the person to speak with. You can use standard mail and other contact methods to try and get your information through to the decision-maker. Other tactics include asking to leave a voice message rather than speaking directly to the decision-maker; asking if there is another decision-maker to speak to that does take phone calls; or simply asking how you can eventually speak to the decision-maker. One of the things that a telesales training session should emphasise is that it never hurts to ask a direct question when you have a gatekeeper on the phone.
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