Have you optimized your phone technique?

Although many website leads start online - most are closed offline. Probably the most overlooked element of getting the highest ROI (Return on Investment) from an e-commerce campaign is a cruise specialist's inbound an outbound phone technique.

Inbound Technique

If you're answering the phone with a simple "Hello", you're missing the boat. When it comes to inbound phone calls - something more like "Thanks for calling XYZ Corp, this is Mike - how can I help you" is much more appropriate. A simple "Hello" doesn't make people confident that you're the right person to do business with, while the longer greeting I suggested does. Take the extra time and convey an image of a company that is focused on quality.

My wife knows, nothing makes me more ticked off than a waiter taking my order and not writing things down. In fact I've even been known to offer a waiter a paper and pen with the suggestion that this may save their tip and make me happier if they write this down. Most cruise clients feel the same way - they just never come out and say so. They just don't do business with people who don't give them the feeling that you're getting all of the data needed to save them the most money.

So when the client is telling you what they are looking for, collect data in a structured way & ask the important questions others don't ask. When you're done always recap the data you collected. A good way to collect data is to use a "Lead Sheet" similar to what we provide in our Sales Manuals. This will insure you ask those important questions - like Cruise Lines previously sailed, if the clients will be meeting friends onboard (in another cabin) and if anyone 55 or older is sailing. Not only does asking these questions insure that you'll have the data to provide the best quote, it also insures you'll find additional selling opportunities if they exist. Not only will you win business, you'll get the rewards many pen less waiters never get - happy clients, repeat business and referrals.

Outbound Technique

Let's start with the cardinal rule of outbound calls- don't ever leave a phone message with a price without first speaking with someone. It's a waste of your time and effort - and gives the client the opportunity to play "can you beat this" by giving your quote to every other agent that speaks with them live during the shopping process. You need to build a relationship to win business - and this isn't possible through a single phone message. If you're talking to an answering machine, your call objective isn't to sell a cruise- it is to sound friendly and to entice them into returning your call.

When actually speaking to someone whom you haven't spoken with in the past, make sure that you state the purpose of your call - and reference their online request. Second, take the time to introduce yourself and your business. This simple step can make the difference between someone wanting to do business with you over your competition. Quite simply if they like you - they will tell you why they are about to do business with a competitor - giving you the opportunity to overcome the objection.

Next, REQUALIFY the client, and review your lead info with them. You would be amazed how often a client may request one thing online and want something different when you talk to them. Third - get pricing online and quote live whenever possible. If you need to call right back - ask if they would like you to call back the same number or if they would like you to call them on their cell phone. This gives them permission to leave their home phone (and computer) and to get on with the other things they'd rather be doing. It shows you respect their time - and it will often stop them from continuing the shopping process (at their computer or home phone).

In Conclusion

It's simple, but a big part of selling is gaining some one's confidence. Nothing ensures confidence more than good communication skills - hone these skills and you'll reap the benefits for years to come.
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1 Response to "Have you optimized your phone technique?"

  1. Serena says:
    July 2, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    Great tips and information! I just added the question about past experience with the product to our standard Sales Lead form used during phone sales. I look forward to future posts!

PhoCusWright's FYI

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