How to Ratchet Up Your Upsells
In a call-center context, successful upselling represents an important revenue stream, but not every call center is maximizing its upselling potential.
Penny Reynolds, founding partner of the Call Center School, a training organization based in Lebanon, Tenn., discussed how to boost upselling revenue at last week’s National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Schaumburg, Ill., during her presentation, “From Order-Taking to Upselling: A Plan for Increasing Phone Order Revenues.”
“At the heart of the plan,” she said, “is taking your call center out of an order-taking mode into a sales mode.” She offered the following tips:
* Find the right people. Candidates should be interviewed and tested for their sales abilities, Reynolds noted that “perhaps one in 15 people have a high capability for sales, and you need to identify them.”
Whenever possible, psychographic testing should be used to screen applicants. In many studies, testing has proven to be an accurate indicator of who’ll have success in phone sales and who won’t.
* Train for upselling. Call-center training sometimes goes a little further than the basics of running the phone and order-entry system, Reynolds said. Role-playing and listening to examples of successful upselling techniques are key ingredients in more advanced training. Training also has to focus on overcoming the obstacles to selling for some employees (especially their desire not to be “pushy” with customers).
* Measure your sales results, but don’t overmeasure. “So many things can be measured, such as handle time, quality scores, attendance and so on,” Reynolds said, “but it’s best to keep your eye on the measurement that counts: sales results.”
* Structure a sales-incentive program that actually incentivizes your staff. Reynolds explained that the best incentives are easy to understand and pay out frequently. They reward the best performers while not rewarding bad performance.