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Helping call centre staff achieve higher sales levels

A case study by Gazing Performance Ltd

A fifty per cent increase in sales has been achieved by Avis as a result of adopting the skills learnt from a highly innovative sales training course supplied by training company Gazing Performance Ltd.

The course, Telesales Under Pressure, has been devised by Gazing specifically for the call centre industry. It is based on giving the course delegates a clear understanding of the different thought processes that a customer moves through when a successful ‘telephone interaction' takes place, and how to influence that process.

And importantly for Ian Roberts, who heads up the Avis Sales Direct team, it works! He believes that the course has contributed to a 50 per cent improvement in sales. "The techniques that we learnt from Gazing form the backbone to our department. The team believe in it and use it everyday. It has had a significant impact on the performance of the team, not only in terms of sales, where the numbers have gone up, but the team feels less stressed too".

Ian's team, which is based in Hayes, Middlesex, is tasked with selling Avis Advance, a car rental programme aimed at small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and Avis MaxiRent, which offers customers a flexible alternative to leasing. As both products are predominantly sold over the telephone, the wide range of benefits included in the packages, meant that the sales call could be quite lengthy, which in turn can increase the risk of losing the sale as the call progresses. One of Ian's key management tasks, therefore, when taking up his post in April earlier this year, was to move the department's perception of itself from a telesales department to a sales department.

He said: "I needed a sales training course that the team would really buy into. I obviously wanted to see an increase in sales, but didn't want to impose a brand new ‘regime' that had to be learnt. Many sales training courses impose a fairly rigid structure that you have to follow. This wouldn't be applicable in our business where the sales team talk to a very diverse customer base. The Gazing training course offered us something that was highly flexible and crucially gave the team the confidence to reach higher levels of performance".

The course is also unusual in its use of 'maps' that provide a clear pathway to be followed during a call, and thus provide the telesales team with the mental tools required to cope with the most challenging or resistant of potential customers.

By having access to a map whilst on a call, the sales team are able to stay focused on their objective and yet not appear to be following a script; important when dealing with SMEs who pride themselves on their independence and non-conformist approach to life!

Having a clear understanding of the mental state of the caller and the use of easy-to-follow maps are just two of the characteristics that set Gazing apart from most training companies. The company is unusual too in that its founders have adopted the training techniques used to coach world-class sportsmen and women to achieve higher performances and have applied these to the commercial world. They now run a range of courses designed to help management and teams perform whilst under pressure.

Joint company founder, John Esposito said: "We are delighted that Avis has been able to increase sales, and yet their sales team feels less stressed! 'Pressure' is one of the most over-used words in the business world, yet unlike Avis, few companies equip their staff with the mental tools to help them cope with stressful situations. Our training courses are designed to do just that and focus on the need to achieve 'clear thinking'. We believe this is especially important when dealing with telesales or call centres, where the pressure to succeed is really mounting."

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© 2005 Gazing Performance. Reproduced with permission. Any opinions or views contained in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Training Reference.

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