The rise of omnichannel practices has undoubtedly increased pressure on brands to capitalize on every sales opportunity. With customers reaching out on channels as diverse as social media, messaging, and phone, sales agents are challenged to turn both potential and current customers into loyal advocates without sounding too aggressive. However, in this era of conversational commerce, customers welcome the chance to engage in meaningful dialogue, as long as it leads them to the products and services they really want. Here are five tips for optimizing sales agent communications to drive brand growth and customer trust.
Every successful brand knows that relationship building is key to customer loyalty. Every conversation should begin like a customer service interaction—the sales agent should make an introduction and engage in a light dialogue before proceeding to fulfill the customer’s need. This builds trust and makes the customer feel valued as an individual. If he can trust the sales agent, then he is more likely to trust the brand’s products and services.
Asking too many questions can turn off a customer, but only responding to customer inquiries can make an agent look passive and unknowledgeable. Sales agents need to strike a balance between asking questions that clarify the customer’s needs and making statements that reassure the customer and motivate him to purchase. For example, an agent for a telecommunications company might explain the benefits of a phone and internet subscription and then ask the customer if his current provider—or current package with the company—is satisfying his needs.
Remember that when a customer is considering a purchase, he wants to know how this product or service will solve a problem and/or make his life better. Will it buy him convenience? Will it improve a product he already loves? Sales agents must always describe the benefits before the features of a product and try to establish an emotional connection with the customer. For example, a premium phone plan that costs less than a competitor’s offer may sound appealing, but explaining that the customer can place unlimited calls and have superior access to internet data on the go is far more likely to win him over. The sales agent may explain how the customer will be able to call friends and family on the go, establishing the emotional benefits of the service.
Every sales agent must be trained to explain product features. When a customer asks a question, the agent should never be unsure of the answer. Agents who are knowledgeable about products naturally exude more confidence and enthusiasm for the brand. Customers in turn will feel this confidence and be more excited about making a purchase.
As much as possible, sales agents should find solutions for customer concerns. For example, if a customer hesitates to switch phone providers because he believes that the upfront cost will be too high, the sales agent must first determine if the product being offered is indeed going to save the customer money. If not, the agent should find a way to meet the customer’s needs—perhaps by suggesting a more affordable product or waiving additional fees. When an agent approaches each conversation with integrity and offers a customer the best solution for his particular needs, the agent is far more likely to close the sale.Engaging with customers naturally is an art, and both service and sales representatives must be trained to sharpen their interpersonal skills. By listening to the customer, offering solutions to problems, and sharing deep knowledge and enthusiasm for every product, agents can turn every sale into a long-term relationship between the brand and the customer.
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