Telephone Selling Training Course – How to uncover the needs of a customer

by ltconsulting on November 9, 2012

Selling on the telephone is very different from face-to-face sales and a telesales team require a specific set of skills and techniques if they are to be successful. It is not enough just to give them a contact list and tell them to ‘get on with it’. Successful results in telephone sales is a by product of successful telesales training.

We, at Total Success Training Ltd are always being asked if our Telephone Sales Training Courses and Telemarketing Seminars teach techniques ‘that really work’ in the real world’. The answer to that question is ‘YES’ because our trainers not only train sales techniques but have actually sold over the telephone in previous jobs. They are able to use their experience to train our delegates to understand the tools and techniques that will enable them to sell confidently and with flair.

We have over 20 years of sales training expertise and use our experiences to show the best and most practical ways to boost sales results and how to sell effectively.

Introduction to Selling, Telesales, Negotiation skills and Presentation Skills are some of the sales related courses trained by Total Success Training  throughout the UK.  If you require further information on our training courses please contact us.

Uncovering the customer’s needs

ASKING QUESTIONS

Sometimes customers will volunteer their needs and priorities, i.e I’m looking for something that will help us save on our stock holding costs”.

More often, however, needs and priorities have to be explored, and there are three ways you can do it:

  • by asking questions
  • by making statements
  • by using a combination of questions and statements

Questions are generally safer and more productive but they have to be carefully used. There are two types of questions that can be used and each has a particular purpose. The types are open questions and closed questions. Open questions are designed to obtain answers that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.

Questions will:

  • keep you in control
  • slow down the conversation
  • give you more information to help you to find customer problems and needs
  • give you time to think about your options
  • encourage the customer to talk
  • help to explore feelings and attitudes
  • help to check understanding

A) OPEN QUESTIONS

They are useful for getting facts, opinions and feelings from the other party. Open questions can be identified by prefixes such as: how, what, why, where, who and when. They require the customer to think and give a reasoned response. They provide a means of uncovering needs and opening up an issue for more detailed and closer analysis.

B) CLOSED QUESTIONS

Closed questions are used as a means of focusing on an issue or problem. They can often help to identify an issue more precisely. Such questions often start with: is, could, should, would, can, will, isn’t etc. They require responses such as ‘yes’ or ‘no’, i.e. to agree or disagree; confirm or deny.

Open-ended questions are preferable for two reasons. First, they allow the customer to develop their own answer rather than putting words into their mouth which they may reject. Secondly they encourage them to talk, which at the beginning of a sale is important. You want a dialogue, not a monologue.

For example, if you ask a customer, “Does your organisation carry out training?”The answer will be either yes or no. If you wanted the customer to discuss the particulars of their training policy, you could ask:

What types of training does your organisation carry out at the moment?

What staff skills is your organisation looking to develop in the next six months?

What has been the result of having a training policy in your company?

Use open questions when you want a customer to explain or discuss something. Closed questions should be used when all you need is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Use both types of questions to gain better control of your telephone contacts. It is also possible to shorten telephone calls by effectively using open and closed questions. At the beginning of most customer calls you need to learn what the customer wants, so you would use open questions. Later, you may need to employ closed questions to get the customer’s agreement, to understand a service request or just to manage the conversation and your time.

Open questions begin with:   HOW, WHY, WHEN, WHO, WHAT, AND WHERE

Examples of open questions:

If you were selling Time Management training courses to a HR director you might ask the following:

  • What challenges do you face in completing your day to day planning and prioritising? What processes are used?
  • How do you assist your staff to cope with change?
  • How effective is your sales force?
  • In the ideal world, what is the one thing you would change in your day to make you (the company) more effective?
  • What areas would you like to alter or improve?
  • What do you get as feedback as to problems your people face in terms of productivity and effectiveness?
  • What particular changes are you experiencing at the moment?
  • How happy are you with the performance of your marketing dept?
  • How well do your meetings run?
  • What challenges do you (your team) face on a daily basis?
  • What demands are you experiencing in regards to time and organisation?
  • What seems to be the real issue?
  • What impact would you say this has on you (your organisation’s) results?
  • How is this impacting on (personal time, your company’s quality process, and sales results)?
  • What other effects might it have? (or side effects)?
  • What other issues arise when (delegation isn’t carried out, meetings run late, projects overrun)?
  • What kind of effect does it have on customer service?
  • How do your customers feel about that?

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Closed questions begin with words like:   DID, CAN, HAVE, DO, IS, WILL, AND WOULD

Examples of closed questions:

  • Is your company going through change and transition like so many others?
  • Are you happy with the performance of all your sales people?
  • Do you get as much leisure time as you would like?
  • Are you completing everything you would like in a day?
  • Are you satisfied with………?
  • Can you expand on that for me?
  • Are there any other concerns?

Any statement can be “closed” by following it with a question. For example:

I would like to send you a brochure about our products. Will that be OK?

I’ll call you back by four o’clock with the information you need. Is there anything else you’d like to know?

Other examples of closed questions you can use at the end of statements include:

  • Do you approve?
  • Will you participate?
  • Is that a good time to call you back?
  • Will that be all right?

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Short closed questions can also be used to obtain the customer’s agreement. For example:

Our representative will be there on Friday. Will that be OK?

You have two sides of the business that need improving. Is that correct?

Some of these examples sound like you are giving the customer a choice. However, you are basically asking for a confirmation of your statement.

Suppose you were arranging an appointment for one of your sales representatives. The only open date you had to offer was Tuesday at nine o’clock. You could say:

I’m sorry, Miss Johnson, but the only date Mr. Stevens has open is Tuesday at 9am. I hope that will be OK.”

This statement is poorly phrased. It could be stated more positively if you said:

Miss Johnson, I have arranged for our sales representative Mr. Stevens to visit you on Tuesday at 9am. Will that be all right?

The customer might still request a different date but your statement sounds like you have taken positive action.

Who will benefit from the course?

This course is designed to give both new and experienced telesales professionals the confidence to approach, appoint, present to and close potential customers. Delegate numbers are limited to no more than eight to allow an environment where the maximum learning can be achieved. We use a combination of learning methods but place emphasis on role-play reinforcement of real life situations based on products and services relevant to the delegate’s organisation.

Our training is carried out in a risk free environment which encourages delegates to practice the skills needed for successful appraisals. We use a number of training methods including role-play, video, audio, workshops and group exercises to enhance the learning process.

Course Dates

  • September 5, 2017
  • September 15, 2017
  • October 3, 2017
  • October 12, 2017
  • November 1, 2017
  • November 9, 2017

In-Company Courses

Total Success have developed a series of in-house training modules. These are designed so that an organisation can pick the training which is more applicable to its own needs and budget. Please call us to discuss your specific requirements

Total Success Training Packs

Why use a total success training pack

If you are looking to run your own training course but lack the materials and the time to develop a fully functional training seminar we produce a range of training materials and packs which will suit your requirements exactly. All of our packs and been written by our own training experts and we can guarantee that the training pack will satisfy your course requirements. Each pack will contain a full set of PowerPoint training slides, trainer’s notes, a course manual, and a full set of handouts and activities.

We have been running our courses since 1995 and have trained 1000’s of people via open courses and in-company seminars. We guarantee that the course you buy is the one we train. All courses are trainer and trainee friendly so you’ll be up and running quickly (depending on your training experience).

We know how difficult it is to choose amongst the many training materials available on line, that’s why we have 3 packages that will suit you needs. With our gold, silver and bronze packages you can choose the training format that’s right for you and your budget. Call us 0044 (0)208 269 1177 to discuss your requirements or email us info@totalsuccess.co.uk

Related information

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