Category Archives: Sales Training

Motivating Employees

Could a simple five-minute interaction with another person dramatically increase ones productivity?

In some employment environments, the answer is yes, according to Wharton management professor Adam Grant. Grant has devoted significant chunks of his professional career to examining what motivates workers in settings that range from call centers and mail-order pharmacies to swimming pool lifeguard squads. In all these situations, Grant says, employees who know how their work has a meaningful, positive impact on others are not just happier than those who don’t; they are vastly more productive, too.

That conclusion may sound touchy-feely, but Grant has documented it in a series of research papers. In one experiment, he studied paid employees at a public university’s call center who were asked to phone potential donors to the school. It can be grim work: Employees don’t get paid much and suffer frequent rejections from people unhappy about getting calls during dinner. Turnover is high and morale is often low. So how do you motivate workers to stay on the phone and bring in the donations?

One relatively easy answer: Introduce them to someone who is aided by those dollars.

In his 2007 study, Grant and a team of researchers — Elizabeth Campbell, Grace Chen, David Lapedis and Keenan Cottone from the University of Michigan — arranged for one group of call center workers to interact with scholarship students who were the recipients of the school’s fundraising largess. It wasn’t a long meeting — just a five-minute session where the workers were able to ask the student about his or her studies. But over the next month, that little chat made a big difference. The call center was able to monitor both the amount of time its employees spent on the phone and the amount of donation dollars they brought in. A month later, callers who had interacted with the scholarship student spent more than two times as many minutes on the phone, and brought in vastly more money: a weekly average of $503.22, up from $185.94.

“Even minimal, brief contact with beneficiaries can enable employees to maintain their motivation,” the researchers write in their paper, titled “Impact and the Art of Motivation Maintenance: The Effects of Contact with Beneficiaries on Persistence Behavior,” published in the journal Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes.

Are Hotels Blowing Leads?

Michael Ferree, Account Director with Geary Interactive, published an interesting article entitled “How marketers are blowing lead management” on today’s iMedia Connection website. 

Ferree suggests that a study performed by lead management software company Leads360 exposed a number of important facts about performance-marketing and lead management. One important statistic shows that converting a lead is 57 percent lead quality and 43 percent an efficient sales process.  One without the other is not the answer.

So how does this apply to the hospitality industry?  Prospective customers are shopping for a hotel and in many cases they are truly undecided about which hotel best addresses their needs, and they need help deciding. 

All of the major OTAs offer robust hotel information on their websites but don’t give a telephone number where a prospective customer can speak to a hotel representative.  When we placed a random call to a local full-service hotel (their site provided an 888 number which was associated with a call center) there was no one available to take our call and we were prompted to leave a message. 

Call abandoned, blown lead.

The goal is to speak to a prospective customer while they’re interested in being assisted and can potentially be converted into a booking.  Contact speed and professional staff are the two most important factors in managing this initial contact.  A minute later, or in our case three minutes later, a customer will lose interest and give their business to your competitor.

Looking For New Business? Call Your Existing Clients!

Your current client base is your most valuable asset. Having purchased products or stayed at your property, your clients know have a pretty good idea what you have to offer.  Holding on to these clients is so much easier than finding new ones because you already know their purchasing habits and there is something about your product or service that they like!

How can you get more business from past clients?  There is but one simple answer:  BY CALLING THEM.  This is obviously basic, but 90% of sales people do not do it! Instead, they wait for the phone to ring (that’s why they’re called “order takers”).  So it bears repeating: Call on your past clients!

In today’s busy world, the need to visit clients in person has lessened, although it is advisable to have face to face time with your VIP clients whenever possible.  However, if you want to retain any client, you have to pick up the phone and call them periodically. If you don’t call them, you can be sure your competition will.

Cold Calling Secret Alternative To Using Sales Scripts

What if there was another way that you could connect with people on the phone without using a cold calling sales script? Would you be open to it or would you prefer to stick with the way you’re selling on the phone now?

Sales scripts can be great; they can support you through the call, keep you confident and maybe even get you a sale here and there. But the key question is, in your own mind, do you feel they are really creating the sale or is it creating painful rejection-filled experience for you every time you pick up the phone?

Some might say that a sales script is the perfect way to get the sale and engage people on the phone and until now, maybe it has for some. Yet, a lot of sales people associate rejection and pain to picking up the phone and making a cold call. People find scripts are just not creating the results they want. But whose fault is it? Is it the scripts or the person saying the message, or the listener or even the product? The answer is quite simple; it is the fact that a script is being used in the first place. A sales script is a caller and listener’s worst enemy!

Why Sales Scripts Don’t Work Anymore

Scripts hurt a sale. Just for a moment think about how you feel when you receive a tele-marketing call and you hear: “Hi My name is John and I am calling you today to tell you about our latest offer and you have been chosen especially..”. One might think that this will certainly get the message across and engage the customer. Yet, how do we feel when we hear it? You’d probably recoil immediately because you know it’s a sales call and we all hate them. Not because sales is bad, simply because we don’t want to be bothered and we certainly don’t want to be taken advantage of. The pressure builds as the script is read and we either hang up or say the magic words: “I’m not interested.”

It’s Time For a New Solution to Sales Scripts

Let’s begin by talking about the art of selling. When we are selling either face to face or on the telephone we all know we need to have rapport. But why? Well most would say that we buy from people we like. But the truth is, it’s much deeper than that. We buy from people we TRUST!

So the key in any selling situation would be to first create that trust then see if you can help your prospect or not.

It is interesting that on the telephone we don’t that that way. If we are on a cold call the traditional way would be to introduce ourselves and then throw them a sales pitch. One might wonder why the telephone should be different to face to face. In short, if we can bring a trustworthy and respectful approach to a cold call which builds trust immediately with a fellow human being, then maybe we might have a better chance of side-stepping the awful experience of rejection.

How To Get Started

There are two simple changes that anyone can make to their cold calling approach to open prospects and engage them in a dialogue which will create trust. Number one is ask for help. Yes, simply ask for their help in ascertaining if they would be willing to listen to what you have to say.

Try saying: “Could you help me out for a moment?” How would you respond to a request for help? I am sure you as a caller would certainly feel kind enough to give anyone a hand if they asked for help.

This might at least show that you are calling out of respect and care for the other person. Secondly and most importantly when you call make sure you are calling for the right reason and that is to help someone with a problem they might face.

If you are calling to only “close the sale” people will feel that from you and their guard will go up. So call as if you are a problem solver. Be a trusted advisor to everyone you talk to and help people solve problems, because this is what will give you the joy that you really are looking from selling.

Don’t get caught up in the old ways of doing things. Make trust and respect the key elements of your call and try to solve some problems for people. Then watch your stress level drop and your sales rise.

Source Ari Galper