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How to best communicate with your callers

Part 3 of a 3-part series on inbound sales call optimization

In this final installment of our 3-part series on optimizing inbound sales calls, we focus on guiding callers to become customers. In short, how you communicate with your prospect can make be the difference in the final outcome. If you missed parts 1 and 2, check out Turn every call into an opportunity and Provide a high-quality caller experience.

Mobile phone usage has changed the way consumers interact with businesses. Consumers are calling more often and much later in the purchase process, meaning handling inbound calls is much more critical to the path to purchase than ever before. The Marchex Institute recently studied the outcomes of more than 300,000 conversations across thousands of auto businesses to distinguish how good salespeople converse with their prospective customers and close more business.

For many businesses, losing a customer is costly, especially since the number of showroom visits is at an all-time low. Understanding what consumers expect and how to speak to them is the difference between success and failure. Findings showed that consumers are put off by slow or nonexistent answers to contact requests or the difficulty of getting ahold of a salesperson.

The Marchex Institute research uncovered what top sales performers are doing that other salespeople are not. Key findings:

  1. The conversation matters
  2. The interaction between the salesperson and caller shapes the outcome of the sale
  3. Salespeople who practice a service-oriented approach can shape the path to purchase, guide callers to take next steps, and, ultimately, do business with that caller

Some key differences exist between a top salesperson and a bottom salesperson. Top performers:

  • Request the caller’s name 163% more than bottom performers
  • Use active listening techniques 179% more often than bottom performers
  • Discussed features of the caller’s preferred car 19% more often than bottom performers
  • Asked the caller more questions

Besides conversation milestones, the Institute found certain behaviors that top salespeople exemplified while on the phone with a consumer also made a difference. Top performers were much more polite and had fun on the call, sharing a laugh on over half of their calls. Laughter is a conversational behavior that they were able to use to their advantage, likely because it keeps the call positive and relaxes the caller, which often contributes to the positive sales results of the call.

With the trends in purchasing behavior favoring online research followed up with calls later in the purchase journey, businesses that value the caller experience give themselves an edge over those that don’t.

For quick tips on optimizing your phone conversations, check out our Call Handling Infographic.