Tip 9 – Simon Kriss – Telesales: All in the First Few Minutes

Simon KrissThis month, we hear from Simon Kriss, CEO of the Asia Pacific Call Centre Management Association (CCMA).

He is a regular guest presenter at many international conferences and is frequently published in many journals. Simon has in excess of 10 years experience in the field of call centres (both inbound and outbound). He has managed several centres and run a consulting business.

There is an old adage which says “Clothes do not make the man”. Although, in principle, I agree with this saying I believe it should be extended to say “Clothes do not make the man, but they sure do introduce him!”.

Traditional sales reps know that this is true, and they check their dress as they alight from their car before each and every meeting. They often say “It’s all in the first few seconds you know…”, and how right they are.

But what has this got to do with Telesales? The exact same rule applies! You have just a few seconds to ‘win’ the perspective customer over and justify to them why they should give you two minutes of their precious time. Remember, for most people the telephone is a constant source of annoyance, not a productivity tool.

Whilst the actual words are important, most of the focus must go on voice control. In the same way you would check your clothes before a client meeting, you need to check your introduction tool – your voice! Remember the last supermarket register person who muttered “Hello, how are you…?” without even looking up at you? You knew instinctively that they didn’t really care how you were, they are just paid to say it! The voice is a very powerful tool, but it is also a razor sharp two edged sword. Make sure you are using the right side.

Next, get your mind right! Know who you are calling and when, get inside the customer s head if you can. Think back to the last time you were cold called at home. How far into the call was it before you knew it was a telemarketer? About four words? Try it: “Good Evening, this Is…” Gotcha! Within a matter of two seconds you have turned off!

One of the very common mistakes made in outbound dialling is that plenty of planning goes into the technology and processes, but little regard is given to the actual words used! How ironic.

When each of us leaves work, we often get in our cars and sigh with relief. At that point our mind changes from ‘work’ mode to a far more relaxed ‘home’ mode. This is further evidenced by the fact that when we walk in the door of home, we take off our tie, kick off our shoes, drop the briefcase and prepare to enjoy the evening. We just get relaxed and the phone rings …Stop!

What do you expect to hear when you answer the call? Yes, you expect to hear a friends voice say “Hi Bill, this is Dave, are we still on to go fishing …”. Instead what we hear is “Good Evening, my name is Stuart and …” Yuck! What the telemarketer has just asked you to do is to stand up straight, put your tie back on and be ready to do business – but you don’t want that!

I know that if someone rings me during business hours and starts the call with “Good Afternoon, my name is Stuart …” I really don’t mind (in fact I kind of expect that). So when you are planning outbound activity, really get inside the head of your potential contacts and word your call introduction accordingly.

Remember, the contact doesn’t know if you are in a $10 million state-of-the-art call centre using the most sophisticated dialling equipment or standing at the pay phone down the street. That is not to say that dialling equipment is not important, but the customer only remembers the words and tone with which the words were delivered.

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