Honesty is the best teleselling policy

When your work involves any type of “selling” and in my case, it’s done mostly over the phone, every day seems to be an unending race for bigger numbers. And the challenging task of delivering these numbers are of course carried on by front-liners, guided by operations managers and team leaders with the focused mission of making sure precious calling hours on a shift are spent productively, with agents skillfully using voice, spiels, and attitude, to ensure that the day’s output stays on target.

While the combination of a pleasing voice, engaging spiels, and a positive work attitude help in building confidence, honesty, or transparency in teleselling proves to be a very important strategy in not only bringing in the sales but in making sure you engage in transactions that are intended to provide value to customers and from which the company will be able to grow its business. While most would engage in schemes to win the numbers game, the versus mentality tells us to do otherwise.

But what happens when an agent’s productivity seems to be on a constant shortfall? Out of peer pressure and sometimes desperation (and mostly to stay on the job), some agents resort to actions that not only veer away from the established work processes, but with a few tricks, numbers are bloated as a saving grace and to prevent the bleak picture from getting exposed right away.

Tricks such as processing a transaction that client did not confirm yet, up-selling items that customer was made to believe as free, scheduling the delivery at a later date to dodge spot checks, or just simply closing a sale or deal that didn’t exactly happen. You applaud for these encouraging numbers when declared during the day, only to get disappointed later when you find out that not all these transactions are pushing through. In this case, you’ll need a strong transaction verification process implemented, otherwise you might get into the vicious cycle of the earn-more, lose-more trap.

Even “white lies” in tele-selling won’t get you ahead. I remember an agent trying to explain the “white lies” in his spiels in order to be more convincing, one of which is “I can personally attest to you that this product is really effective, as I’m using it…” and I would object “…and are you indeed using it? Because if not, while your white lie might get you some deals, it’s not going to work all the time, in fact, you sound like a traditional salesman by saying that, and if I were your customer, I‘m not buying both your personal testimony, especially the product.”

If there’s one thing you need to do to ensure honest-to-goodness teleselling, it is to make sure your agents are convinced that your products (or service) work, without having to lie. Make them your endorsers by having them use or avail of the product or service, so they can sell from experience, not from mere spiels, that are predictable. And if the agent found the product or service to be unsaleable, don’t push right away, instead, listen and ask for ideas, a great “teleselling clinic” for newbies and veteran agents for coming up with spiels that are not only strategic but realistic. You’ll also get valuable feedback from your front-liners that you can communicate with your product development and marketing team and/or suppliers, to improve product and service iterations.

When customers are somehow deceived—whether skipping with the need-to-know details of the sales package or hyping-up a rather ho-hum offer, you’re bound to get these deals closed for sure, but in the long run, these will turn out to be one-time deals, with no guarantee of getting repeat customers and will otherwise increase your returns and cancellations, which will hurt your KPIs, of course, what you don’t want to be the case.

Being totally honest with customers still is the best teleselling policy. It helps not only with rapport-building but with ensuring the relationship with customers remains transparent, making it easy to turn them from first-time buyers to repeat and loyal customers.

If you’ve read this far, big thanks! Having worked in both international and local call centers since its early years, the multibillion-dollar business sector that shaped what is referred to as the Philippine sunshine industry, I’ll be sharing my experiences and learnings from working post dotcom bubble, braving the graveyard shifts, and running a 2-man team taking on many “titles” that sounded like a huge contact center under the Vocations series. Thanks for your support, buy me a coffee!

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