Dress Code in the Telesales and Telemarketing Business

The issue about dress code policy in call centers always comes up. Some call centers impose a strict corporate to business casual to casual to “anything goes”. Management almost always encounters resistance from employees on the dress code they want to implement. This friction has led some call centers to loosen up a little bit by giving up corporate in favor of casual dressing, giving employees some leeway on how they want to dress. And the result? There was a significant decline in the employees’ quality of work.

On the other side of the extremes are call centers that do not have any dress code at all. The result? They get nothing but headaches. Their employees would show up wearing clothes that are generally considered inappropriate to the point of being indecent by showing too much skin. This goes to show that centers need to have a dressing policy put in place because it has an impact on how you do business.

So the question now becomes: “What is the right dress code?” The answer to this depends on the nature of the business. An ideal dressing policy that would be acceptable in most call centers is business casual. Some people may argue that dressing up is not really necessary because the customers they interact with over the phone do not see them at all. But what call center employees do not see is that dressing up in business casual gives them a professional image and this professionalism is reflected in the way they conduct themselves over the phone. Also, if clients visit your call center quite often, wearing business casual attire certainly helps give a positive impression. Call center employees have a diverse cultural background, and when it comes to dress code policy making it is better to get the employees themselves involved. This will not only make things easier for the management. It also ensures that the code that will be established is acceptable to all and will be observed by all faithfully. Fines or penalties should be imposed on those who don’t observe the proper way to dress.

Let employees have a breather once a week with a “wash day”. You can put a twist to the business casual policy by giving employees the option at certain times to pay little amount of money in exchange for the freedom to wear what they like (but still conforming to the “code” of dressing appropriately) and donate the proceeds to charity. The fact that that there are some who don’t take the opportunity to dress down does not mean that they don’t to want to support a good cause. It means they are just comfortable with what they wear.

Common Mistakes in Telesales

Sales training is an ongoing process not an end goal. It is only with constant reinforcement of the basics that success is achieved. Please take the time to run through some of these with your telesales team. It is a short list of some of the most common mistakes we have discovered when doing training.

Realise that Telesales is not only a numbers game – it is a ratio game

It might sound obvious, but there are many people who neglect this. As a simple exercise, ask any sales person how many deals they have done over a period; guaranteed they will give the answer in a flash. Ask them how many prospects they called to do those deals, and they will probably not have a clue. If they do not know what their closing ratio is, how will they know when a new approach works and when it doesn’t?

Are they still starting their COLD CALL with “Hello Mr. Smith, how are you today”?

The fact is that they are asking a complete stranger for personal information. It is a desperate attempt at getting the prospect to talk, and as you know yourself, no-one answers that question truthfully.

20 seconds for a first impression

If they can highlight the biggest benefit of the product (not feature) within the first 20 seconds, they will have the prospect’s attention and time.

People like you – NO! I am an individual client of yours

Now after reading the previous point, it makes even more sense never to open with phrases like “I was just calling people in your area/people like you”. Surely that can’t be the company’s biggest benefit?

Just calling to touch base/Just checking to see if you needed anything

This always means “I want an order but I am too scared to ask for it”. Rather call with news of interest: “Mr Smith, I was at another client last week, and saw something that might be of interest to you”.

If they ask dead end questions they are losing 50% of their business

“Is there something else I can help you with today?” If the client says “no”, they are stumped. Rather make a specific suggestion. “Mr Smith, have you tried our ….before”

Be prepared and think on your feet

It is said that a good lawyer never asks a question he does not already know the answer to. A good salesman is prepared for both answers.

Have any sales people ever tried to close a deal at the end of a presentation with “so, Mr Smith, what do you think of our product?”

A closing question is answered with a “yes” or a “no”. This question is not only an opening question; it is also a bad one.

Just pick up the phone and try it.

Telesales Magic 101 – Tips on Asking Questions in Your Telesales and Telemarketing Calls

The telesales professional with the ability to ask probing questions will be the most sought after professional in the telesales world. One of the distinguishing qualities of top sellers is their skill in handling their customers effectively by asking probing questions in order to get valuable information and build rapport. By asking probing questions, you are opening the window of opportunities: customers’ needs are uncovered, buying cycles are determined, and people are given a new perspective and go for the better supplier.

The top telesales professionals who ask probing questions easily make new business, encounter fewer objections and make a huge impact on prospective customers, who in turn give their trust and are likely to make a buying decision.

You, too, can be one of the top telesales professionals once you have mastered the skill of asking the right questions. The following pointers should lead you to your goals.

Ask the right questions. The people you call are most likely familiar with your “line of questioning” because they have been asked the same type of questions by other telesales professionals. If you don’t differentiate yourself from the rest by asking the usual “run-of-the-mill” questions, it will be tough to get your prospects talking and give you the information that you need. Vary your questioning by asking more close-ended questions. Compared to open-ended questions which give you lengthy answers, close-ended questions are answered with a yes or no. You can actually take control of the conversation by asking a series of close-ended questions designed to bring the prospect closer to the sale.

Another technique you could try is to ask a close-ended question that brings you to open-ended questions which make the prospect open up to you.

All your questions should be of the kind that make people stop, think and say “That’s a good question.” or “I’ve never thought of that.” To help you think of the right questions, put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and think of the questions that will make you think. You can gauge for yourself if your questions are leading you to the right direction judging from the response of your prospects. If they are answering your questions too quickly, then you are not doing a good job of making them think. Also, if your prospect is not giving you the information that you need then it’s time to think of something better to ask.

Spend some to brainstorm to write down the questions that you will ask in your telemarketing calls. Avoid the questions that other telesales professionals or your competitors are asking.