Every company wants to make more sales, that’s the key to growing any business. Many companies in the last decade have identified a key weakness holding them back from their full potential: the fact that the majority of their staff are working as “customer service” people, and not “sales people”. The crux of this missed opportunity lies in the fact that customer service reps help people with problems, and sales people drive them toward solutions. If you’ve identified this factor as a lag in your own business’s potential, you’re probably wondering how you’re going to make the switch, and what’s going to be involved? In this article, we’ll take a quick look at how to switch your customer service staff to a sales staff – and what to expect as the outcome.
Abilities Retained, Objectives Added
One of the biggest misconceptions about moving from a service to a sale standpoint, is that you’re going to have to re-staff your entire company. On the contrary, you’re simply going to add to the skillset, and more importantly the end objective of your service staff – without even dropping any of their current abilities. This means adding a few simple questions to the beginning and end of each customer conversation they having. Things like “how is your business doing this quarter”, and “if there was one thing you wanted to sell more, what would it be?” These kinds of questions will help your service people understand how each unique customer wants and needs to be sold to – and the transition will be natural. As the relationships develop, your customers will learn that the service people they deal with are the same experts that can help them grow their own businesses’; because they listen, and present sales opportunities at the right moments. The best part is, none of the customer service value of the employees is going to go away – it’s only that their end objective has moved from “make customer not angry anymore” to “find out how to sell more products to a happier customer.”
Ensure the Training is there
Now that you know who you want your current staff to be, you need to get them there – quickly and efficiently. There are a lot of basic sales training tools out there, things like the “Action Selling” program. They may be a bit cheesy, but they’re not ineffective in teaching beginners how to approach the sales process from square one. You should put your staff through some specialized internal testing as well. Make sure you have some mock phone calls and record the results. Play back these calls to your staff, and grade them on the questions they asked, or didn’t ask to the people they spoke with. This may seem tedious, but it’s the best way to ingrain the sales techniques into your customer service staff. They’re simply not going to be used to moving their conversations towards a sales goal, when all they’ve been responsible for in the past was making customers happy with their current product questions, and ending the calls as fast as possible to save time. If you can successfully make this transition in your training, your staff will follow.
Market Your Sales People
Marketing your staff, and not only your products is one of the best ways to make sure that you’re getting the most from the extra effort you’ve been putting into their sales training. People won’t expect to have a high-level sales relationship with the representatives at your company, if you don’t tell them that’s what’s available to them. This means including personalized features of your employees in the marketing materials you send out – and talking about your staff like you’re actually proud of them. They should be defined, by you, as a point of pride, and something that you want front and center for your business – instead of a last resort when someone can’t figure out a product online, or needs support because it isn’t working. Great sales people are invaluable consulting tools for the businesses they sell to – and that’s a fact. Assuming you’ve created a staff that’s capable of making good on this promise, you need to sing this fact from the rooftops! It doesn’t hurt to let your sales people know that’s where they stand as well. Equip them with the tools to market themselves; things like custom business cards – one’s that actually have each of their own names on them. These little “perks” will help your people feel pride about their positions, and work to sell your company even when they’re off the clock.