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Seb Anthony

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New starter training programme for Telesales Consultants


As a trainer I am currently involved in a project to re-design our new starter training programme so that it is suitable for Telesales Consultants and would love to hear from anyone with experience in this area.

These Telesales Consultants are to be employed by a large Financial Services Company handling inbound calls from customers requesting information about the fund range with a view to converting these contacts to sales. Another part of their duties will be to perform outbound calling to warm leads and existing customers with a view to maximising the relationship and retention of business. They are not authorised to give financial advice. As soon as they join the workplace from their initial training they are expected to contribute to team sales targets and targets for the retention of business.

Our current new starter programme is geared towards Call Centre Consultants who answer customer service enquiries reactively and covers module areas such as products, process and procedures, regulatory knowledge and systems. The programme lasts for 4 weeks and the new employees are in training for this entire period before joining the workplace.

The existing programme can be adapted but I would be really pleased if you were able to share your experience or expertise with me and particularly give me some ideas about how you approach this kind of training (i.e. how long does your programme last, what type of modules do you run, who does the training, do the modules run back to back or do you phase the training and combine it with shadowing etc.).

Thanks in advance for any information or experience you can share.

Estelle Stevens

One Response

  1. Remember how different these roles are
    I previously compiled a programme for telesales agents for a large communications provider for inductees.

    The hardest thing to overcome was persuading the organisation that telesales has little in common with customer care, yes some modules and training will overlap between the two areas but by and large for sales people “soft skills” are not soft skills at all but the absolute core of what they do.

    We ran a two week programme based around – product knowledge, legal obligations, sales skills (from scratch – even the most experience sales people can have a poor understanding of the basics), advanced sales skills, and system usage.

    We ran short (6 hours a day with a 1 hour lunch) session to avoid overloading inductees with information. And concentrated on selling throughout each module so that our advisors would understand how each part of the course would enable them to sell (and hence earn) more product.

    We focused hugely on role-play and everybody presented on prior learning every day and we finished with a final day of examinations both observed role-play and a written test to ensure that product knowledge etc. was understood by everyone. There was a pass mark and those who failed the course were then reviewed in conjunction with HR to ensure their suitability for a sales role before they were able to retake the test.

    The programme ran for the first two weeks and was delivered by two experienced sales people who had moved into sales management within the firm and could therefore accurately simulate sales calls etc. for the group and could relate to their worries etc.

    We didn’t use shadowing at all as poor habits creep into every salesmans’ approach sooner or later and we wanted new recruits to come to the phones without these habits.

    After completing the programme they were put into a “primary” environment were they had constant access to coaching as they began the role. Daily buzz sessions were held with the teams so that they understood how they were progressing and their achievements could be recognised by all. Refresher sessions were supplied as necessary and group coaching sessions were run at least once a week for the next two months. They were released from the primary environment after a month or when they had achieved a level of competence.

    The programme reduced our level of churn of new sales people from approximately 90% in the first three months to less than 5% – so it definitely worked. But the important part is the post-training support for sales people you can give them the knowledge and skills during training but you can’t help them through the hard first few days unless you are present for them – if you can’t be you also need to train their managers/team leaders to effectively support and coach the team as they settle in.

    Hope that helps a bit at least.


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