The most effective inside sales teams are great communicators. It can be a major challenge to develop a strong relationship with a client remotely, as agents cannot readily pick up on cues such as body language that often play a key role in helping an employee close a sale. When technology comes into play, it becomes more important than ever to quickly yet genuinely build rapport with customers, as distance can be a barrier to making an emotional connection. If the inside sales team receives the right sales training to hone their interpersonal skills, they'll be better equipped to win over even the most difficult clients from afar.
According to Farnam Street, Robert Dreeke, an FBI veteran who specializes in building relationships, knows exactly how important it is to establish rapport, and much of his advice can be applied by customer service employees to make their interactions more successful. For example, when calling a prospective client, it's always a good idea to give the person a time-frame for the conversation, as it can make people uneasy to talk with a stranger without knowing how long they'll be tied up. Simply letting the other person on the line know that there is an end in sight will help him or her listen more actively to what the sales professional has to say, rather than being preoccupied by wondering how long the call will take.
As the blog noted, Dreeke also advised that a good way to facilitate meaningful conversations with others is to talk slowly. He explained that when individuals speak at a slower rate, they strike people as more credible. Additionally, it's critical to make sure that all communications are truly conversations in which the other party is being validated. There are several ways to do this, including listening to their thoughts and helping them generate their own ideas and solutions.
Inc. Magazine noted that strong people skills are particularly important over the phone. The source recommended that sales professionals should not only make sure they are actively listening, but that they wait a moment before each response. This way, the person on the other line knows in the absence of visual cues that the employee is actually hearing what he or she has to say. Rushing into providing an answer can give the message that the inside sales agent is providing a stock answer rather than actively formulating a response.
Without strong rapport-building skills, inside sales teams may find it extremely challenging to inspire potential clients to enter into a business relationship with a company. To reduce these problems, leaders should provide cutting-edge inside sales training that teaches staff the interpersonal skills they need to excel.