Based on some of the recent call experiences that friends have shared with me, it’s apparent that many companies aren’t spending training time on teaching ways for their agents to gracefully bow out of a call to a wrong contact or when the contact they reach says they aren’t right for the product due to (insert here an objection that can’t be overcome).
Here’s a recent example:
Agent using nice Smile and Tone: “Hi is this _____? This is ___ from ____ Insurance providers. We provide Health Insurance benefits for small businesses and individuals.”
Person called responds in friendly tone: “Hi (Agent’s name)…I’m only a one person business and I’m already covered by my spouse’s insurance policy through work so I’m not a good prospect for your company.”
Agent sounding irritated: “well OK… (click)”
This call was reminiscent of the bad telemarketing calls made from “boiler room” type operations years ago (and unfortunately still some in operation today) that trained agents to have a “hit and run” philosophy:
Given the way that the Agent opened the conversation and identified herself, it was evident that she understood how to create a nice first impression. Perhaps she received training and coaching on this or maybe it is her natural style of communication when greeting someone.
Once the Agent experienced rejection, her tone changed completely. If there was to be no lead or sale made, the Agent was finished with you and saw no need to end the call positively. Her focus was clearly on the here and now immediate results regardless of the impression she left with that prospect. And as we know, today our prospects and customers won’t tell only ten people about the bad experience they had with our agent, they will broadcast it on Social Media to hundreds, even thousands of people.
Another example of poor “non-customer” experience is when an Agent calls and the person they are trying to contact isn’t available. It usually goes something like this:
Agent: “Hi..Is Mr. (name) available. This is (Agent name) from (company)?”
Person answering phone: “No he isn’t. Can I take a message?”
Agent using flat tone: “I’ll call back” (hang up click)
It adds little time to the calls to use polite phrases such as “Thank you but I’ll just call him/her back later. Is there a good time to reach him/her?”
If your training program doesn’t include discussion and role-play related to creating a great “Prospect Experience” with those who don’t buy or aren’t the right contact, I hope you’ll start covering this during training and coaching these skills too. We should be creating a positive experience, showing appreciation to and interest in every person we are in contact with.
A wonderful mentor who coached with me many years ago always said and rightly so …”Today’s no may be tomorrow’s yes”!