Telephone sales training review: “An awakening experience”

Editor’s Note – this post is a case study sharing the experiences of people attending our training and we’ve provided it here for you to give you a sense of what to expect. The specific particulars (format, dates) have changed but the essence of the trainee experience remains the same.

Representatives from chiropractic, cosmetic surgery, laser eye surgery, hypnotherapy and life coaching attended September 2010’s Increase Telephone Conversion Rates 2-day course in central London.

I made some material modifications to the workshop structure the week prior to delivery and I’m happy to say that, judging from participant feedback, the changes have helped make the course more challenging and relevant to the skills that participants want to learn.

On Day 1, we began by exploring participants’ perceptions of “sales in the context of health care”. I believe this is a critical place to begin because of the wide range of meanings that people in health care (and indeed many industries) attach to the word “sales”.

To some, words associated with sales include “necessary”, “negotiation”, “transactions”, and “customers”. To many others, the word sales is frequently associated with words like “pushy”, “high-pressure”, “manipulative”, “unethical”, “untrustworthy”, and “sleazy”.

Kate Collis, a nurse and a chiropractic assistant with Docklands Chiropractic Clinic summed up her initial perception of sales after the workshop: “I came very skeptical. You helped me clarify some main concerns I have with sales and ethics.”

After ‘outing’ these initial objections about the concept of sales and enabling participants to see both sides of the argument, we can get into the practice of good salesmanship, with a considerably more open mind.

During Day 1, we examined the ‘three acts’ of the inbound telephone conversation:

  • the greeting
  • the qualification, and
  • the proposal

The participants role-played every step along the way. My aim for Day 1 is to get everyone in the room completely comfortable with the ‘three acts’. The specific skills required to perform these acts well are also the fundamentals of good salesmanship: establishing rapport with callers, generating trust while qualifying callers, assessing their needs, and proposing solutions that satisfy their needs.

On Day 2, we deal with what happens when the process does not go to plan. I find that this day is useful for participants to further refine the fundamentals in a constructively critical environment while learning more about what makes their businesses unique. During this day I help them

  • articulate the characteristics of their callers
  • empathise with the motivations their callers share
  • demonstrate the characteristics that callers want to hear on initial phone calls
  • communicate the features, advantages and benefits that are important to their callers
  • isolate their unique selling propositions that set their offerings apart
  • articulate the evidence behind their claims

We finished the day with overcoming their most common objections and using trial closes to sell the appointment, as opposed to the treatment itself.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the new instructional design and I will be making minor tweaks right up to our next Increase Telephone Conversion Rates 2-day course, scheduled for November 6th and 7th, again in central London.

I’ll leave you with this parting quote from one September’s Boot Camps participants that I especially wanted to share:

“This has been an awakening experience that has provided the knowledge required in professional and day-to-day life in order to make people feel safe and happy to be talking with you. It has taught skills, which are invaluable in the business sense to help with all aspects of customer care and treatment. Rod appears to have extensive education and experience in the domain and anyone would be privileged to take part in this vast learning process.”

Oana-Maria Micu, Chiropractic Assistant

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