Front Line Call Team Training: Turning Order Takers Into Sales Makers

Let your front line build your bottom line.

Shifting from a customer service- to a sales-oriented call center is not as simple as merely declaring a new policy. It’s a multi-step process that requires revising the way a Company manages recruitment & hiring, internal and external messaging, training, front line communications, accountability and more.

Transitional Sales: Customer Service & Sales Are Not Mutually Exclusive.

Turning every call into a sales opportunity also requires a shift in mindset. As I discuss in some of the points below, front line personnel engaging in transitional sales should be considered a core component of the sales team and brought into the sales process. For some, such an approach runs counter to the traditional “siloing” of call center agents – but it’s an absolute must for companies seeking to improve customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and the bottom line.

Why?

The more products of yours that a customer has, the more value he sees – and the greater his loyalty will be to your company.

Transitional selling – in which agents introduce additional products to customers while keeping their best interests in mind – is a proactive process designed to increase customer awareness of a Company’s broader product range. Transitional selling can be very profitable, and findings support the view that customers appreciate the efforts of representatives who offer new or additional services that are beneficial to them.

Here are 6 things to consider when contemplating the move to a sales-oriented front line:

  1. Internal messaging
    One of the key concepts we drive home in our transitional sales training program INSERT LINK is the importance of gaining agent buy-in. Front line personnel need to believe that presenting products to the customer is a good thing – that it adds value for the customer. Companies need to get the message across that selling is an extension of customer service, and make it clear to the team what the value-add is for the customer.
  2. Recruitment & Hiring
    Some firms hold the traditional view of contact center agent as a billing rep, and their hiring practices – namely, the KSAs they seek, reflect that. Shifting the front line into sales mode requires contact centers to adopt new target skills, new hiring requirements and new job descriptions.
  3. Everyone Can Be in Sales
    In the Telecomm industry, for example, one thing has become clear over the last 20 or 30 years: techs and installers routinely go into homes and have face time with customers. Training the entire customer-facing team to sell – whether call center agents, field techs or installers – provides more opportunities to make additional sales.
  4. More Channels, More Opportunities
    With so many more communication channels available these days – including social media, chat, websites, etc. – there are many more opportunities to sell. Companies should factor each new channel into the training program.
  5. Sales Goals
    Sales goals need to be communicated clearly across the entire company – to include all relevant divisions, locations and agents. Proper communication of sales goals contributes to an agent’s understanding of his or her role, and what’s expected of them. Maintaining the “agents as order takers” mindset often impedes sales, since front line personnel don’t feel vested or included in the process.
  6. Accountability
    When sales goals are effectively communicated, accountability should be a fundamental component of the sales program. Everyone who is selling should be monitored and held accountable for their share of the Company’s sales goal.

Does your call center’s front line use transitional selling to boost sales?