Lots of folks think of customer service and sales as two opposing fields. At Bandalier, we’ve found the opposite – there are a lot of overlapping skill sets that help our team members succeed.
This one is almost a no-brainer – you have to be able to talk to people. More importantly, you have to be able to steer a conversation. Part of Bandalier’s Sales 101 course is understanding how to break a conversation down into pieces and take it in the right direction. It starts as soon as you connect with someone, and every word, phrase, and pause influences the outcome of the conversation. For folks in customer service, that might mean de-escalating a conversation with a frustrated customer, picking apart their frustration to find the root cause of it. On our sales teams, it means using active listening skills to nail down your prospects’ pain points and communicate the benefits of the client’s product.
Asking better questions is key to success at Bandalier. One pointed question can be enough to shift an entire conversation. For our customer service teams, that might be a close-ended question to diagnose callers’ issues, or to clarify their initial question. On sales programs, a balance of open-ended questions and close-ended questions can help guide a conversation towards a demo.
Regardless of the program’s focus, good questioning skills can go a long way to build rapport during a call. Opening up a sales call with a simple “How have you been?” can disarm wary prospects; “How can I help you?” is a traditional opening for support conversations. With so many folks still working remotely, asking about pets or other background noises can help make the call more personal, and defuse tension. Wrapping up a call or meeting with a question can be helpful, too. “Anything else to cover before we wrap up today?” is a great signal to wrap up a conversation without making folks feel too pressured to end things!
Resilience is a key trait among Bandalier’s team. Sales people are famously resilient – they push through ten denials to get one good call and do it again each hour. For customer service reps, the importance of resilience isn’t always acknowledged, but it plays a key role in their day. They may go from a customer elated with the assistance they received to someone screaming because they had to hold, and the rep has to go with the flow and do their best to provide excellent service to every caller.