CALL CENTER CONFIDENTIAL: The Secret to Cross-Selling Success

By: Gordon Lawrence

It is called cross-selling, up-selling, add-on sales, “meeting the needs of the customer” or “providing convenient one-stop shopping.”

What it means to callers is, prepare for a sales pitch.

Representatives are required to ask for an add-on sale in 80% of our calls.

And the sales, on routine customer service calls, have turned call centers from loss leaders to profit centers.

Khalid just got out of a “sales opportunity meeting” with the sales trainer.

I met up with Khalid at break and he was not a happy camper.

“I hate to sell our shitty products. I would never buy credit insurance, it’s a ripoff. Credit Card Registration is a joke. Travel insurance is crap. The only thing we have that I would buy is a 0% loan, and even that has a 5% fee with no limit. So a $5000 balance transfer has a $250 fee! This is bullshit. So Gordon, how am I supposed to make the selling quota?”

“Well Khalid, what did the trainer say?” I reply.

“Just the regular crap; personalize the call, sell the benefits, ask for the sale and rebut twice,” he says, voice rising in anger.

“Hey Khalid. Easy does it.”

Khalid makes eye contact and then backs down a bit.

I try another approach. “Let me ask you this. Who around here is getting good sales? And what are they doing?”

“Majed gets good sales” Khalid replies.

Anticipating my question, Khalid continues, ” Majed sometimes rebuts 5, 6 or 7 times. He just doesn’t take no for an answer.”

Pausing momentarily and looking out the window, Khalid looks back at me and says, “If they want sales, they will get sales because I need this job.”

Going For The Sale

On his first call, a well-spoken Asian woman asked for her credit card to be activated.

Khalid checks his sales window, the recommended product is credit insurance, and swings into his C.I. sales pitch.

The woman replies, “No thanks” and Khalid moves to his first rebuttal, “Would you want your family to have to pay off your bill if you were injured and unable to pay.”

She declined the sale and Khalid moves to rebuttal number two. “The cost is very low and there is no cost at all if you have a zero balance.” She says “No thanks.” She has no interest in Credit Insurance.

Rebuttal three, “Our Credit Insurance coverage is free to try for 30 days” brought the same response, ‘No, I just want my credit card activated.”

After rebuttal five, and with no end in sight, the customer asked. “Do I have to buy the credit insurance to get my card activated?

Khalid carefully avoided the question. He explained, yet again, the benefits of Credit Insurance.

The caller said, “OK, give me the insurance. I’ll cancel it when I get the first bill.”

Khalid read the verbatim and got the needed “yes” three times.

Then Khalid asked the caller, “Would you repeat your original question.”

As soon as he disconnected, Khalid felt a tap on the shoulder, “Sign out and come to my office.” It was Larry Randall, the department manager, and Brenda Martin, the supervisor.

Khalid realized that his call had been monitored. He looked around for the guards, prepared for them to tear off his ID badge and push him toward the exit.

In Larry’s office, Brenda leaned toward Khalid, closer, closer, uncomfortably close, just inches away, and stared Khalid firmly in the eye. “I don’t know where you’ve been hiding it but that’s exactly the kind of aggressive sales call we’ve been waiting for you to make. Larry added: “That was truly a great call. You  presented the benefits and closed the sale – just like I taught you. Get back out there and keep up the good work.”

….Thank you for joining us at Call Center Confidential. I welcome your comments. Please invite your friends and coworkers to join us and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter.

Next time: Call Center Confidential: No Way Out. Sally, 65 Years Old, Must Keep Working.

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