Telemarketers possess both the pride and pressure of the company they’re representing, that is why they need to be continually developed and coached. This is most notable in outsourced telemarketing and lead generation services companies wherein their agent workforce is the product itself.
These firms usually have a dedicate team leader, quality assurance analyst, and sales coach to make sure the standards of the company – as well as that of the clients – are met.
Most companies would conduct training because it is the best investments that you can make in your telesales team. Training means employee satisfaction and job performance. In order to bring out the best in your telesales team, you must follow up training with coaching. Constant coaching will help improve sales reps not only on the way they handle their calls but on how they will deliver their call as well.
But how does one really coach a telemarketer, knowing that each one is as unique as the other?
Monique Honaman, a partner at ISHR Group, shares in an article about how they created a coaching model called G.U.I.D.E. which stands for:
This step embodies the essence of engagement. It is all about establishing a relationship “beyond just business” between you and the person you are coaching. Understand what motivates your agent in terms of her values, her vision for the future and her goals. When doing this, start from familiar to unfamiliar. Find out what the agent knows and offer explanation of what he or she doesn’t know.
TIP: Let the agent participate. Don’t point out the bad habits first. Instead, help the agent feel relax by empathizing with him. The fact that you asked him to undergo coaching already means there are some areas that need improvement. Have the agent listen to his call. Let him participate and evaluate his own call and ask for his feedback. Barriers on effective coaching include the agent’s fear of appearing incompetent which might get defensive. Agent might not listen to your advice and will not apply it on his calls.
In this step, you and your agent gain mutual clarity on her intentions and vision, either for the short-term or long-term. Here’s where you will clarify those things that drive intentions and often serve to unknowingly confuse the issues and inhibit positive momentum. Create a positive environment. Be patient and give positive reinforcement to the agent.
TIP: Demonstrate the steps on how to do it. Let the agent understand and explain exactly what is being done and what has to be done. Allow agent to ask questions. Let the agent participate. Active participation is essential for instilling long-term learning.
This is where you are encouraged to foster multiple perspectives of the issue and various methods to address the topic being discussed. This is the “meat” of the coaching and the point at which you facilitate an exploration of opportunities and obstacles, while also analyzing various options. You will help your agent to evaluate the pros and cons of each opportunity.
TIP: Let the agent identify his/her mistakes. In coaching, don’t just focus on the bad part. Try acknowledging the good things he did on the call. From the tone of his voice to the way he/she delivers his/her call. Focusing only on the bad side will make the agent feel less enthusiastic about his job. Pointing out the good will help the agent boost his confidence because you don’t only acknowledge his/her mistakes, you also informed him/her that he did something good.
Related: Lessons Learned from a Robot Telemarketer: Samantha West
In this step, you facilitate your agent to make a conscious choice to achieve her vision by clearing the obstacles, confirming buy-in and guiding her toward the necessary next steps. Explain the relationship between what the agent is doing and on how it can affect the company he’s representing in terms of production and quality.
TIP: Conduct a role play with different situations to find out if the agent understands and if he’s ready to apply what he learned. Show the agent on how to handle different situations through role play to prepare him on his next calls.
Encourage and Execute
As a final step, your role is to motivate your agent to move forward on the commitments she has made. Your role is to build confidence, provide encouragement, drive accountability and generally act as a champion to ensure that the positive momentum and the desired outcome are achieved.
TIP: Follow up and evaluate new learning. Check on the agent’s progress to demonstrate your availability to correct and address questions and to discover any new problems.
Coaching helps everyone on the sales team because it gives less experienced reps the confidence they need to do better. It develops employee talent as it teaches agents how they can be most productive. By coaching you are preparing them for their own battle with common phone obstacles. The best way to do this is to create an environment – and motivation – for them to be the best they can be.