Having managed telesales teams for many years, the UK BBC3’s recent ‘cult’ fly-on-the-wall documentary series, The Call Centre, struck a chord with me. I recognised some of the characters and the kinds of challenges they faced as a business.
Let’s face it – selling anything by phone is really, really hard work. But, it can also be great fun. When sales are coming in it’s great to hear the bell ringing, have commissions rolling in and the team in competition with each other to see who is most successful.
But what happens when things get quiet and no one has made a sale for a while? How do you retain your team – and motivate them to do their best selling again? Here’s a selection of trusted tips from my armory and a handy ‘top tips’ guide to download, for more ideas.
1 – Millennials want to matter
Millennials – more than any socio-demographic group in history – are pre-programmed to expect feedback. And not just once a year. Continued and motivating feedback is needed to keep these guys on the ball. It will also help you to uncover any conflicts or concerns in the team, and you might even see a few ideas as a result. Win-win.
2 – Detox your team
We’ve all seen it – when sales people fail to perform they can become toxic. Favourite targets will be the products, the training, the management, the systems and marketing. Continued negativity is contagious and will soon erode the success of any team. Take swift action and stop the rot.
3 – Listen to your team
Have a regular forum: a daily scrum or a weekly sales meeting will uncover potential showstoppers and great ideas that can be implemented to help performance. Listening to what the team has to say could be the silver bullet you need to ring that bell. Teams have good – and bad – ideas too!
4 – Remember when you were young
When you’re 22 a week feels like a month, a month feels like a year. Annual targets can have no more effect than promising the moon, they are simply too long. Offer weekly targets, daily incentives, sales blitzes, cold calling mornings (with prizes for the winners) and they’ll be buzzing. Get creative and get them excited.
If you’re looking for more motivational ideas, download my ‘Top Tips’ guide. I would love to hear from you about the most effective way you motivate your team. Or why not share some of your funnier call centre horror stories – I know we’ve all had a few!
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