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Currently our CS advisors are not selling add on products as they see their role as not being one of selling but just customer service.

As part of their role they have to sell the add on products if the customer has not already added it when they took out the policy. They need to offer it on every call, but this is currently not done.

I am looking for an exercise that would change their mindset from selling to actually providing the customer with an essential service when offering them the additional add on products.

Thank you.
Michelle

8 Responses

  1. Good luck
    Changing someone’s mindset would be a great skill to have unfortunately it’s not a trainers skill…

    The objective of training is to enable people to do things – so a trainer could train your people to offer the product more successfully, they could help train your managers to assert themselves when stressing the importance of selling the product, they could train your managers to include the “conversion statistics” as part of your people’s monthly KPI’s and how to “performance manage” failure to do so.

    But changing mindsets is probably down to Paul McKenna and his ilk.

    I think you need to redefine this training need, as a “performance requirement” and then manage it accordingly.

    I have plenty of exercises to help them become better sales people and would be happy to share them but only strong and effective management will persuade them to start selling in the first place.

    You could start with a chat about the benefits to the customer of your extra value products and what the customer might lose if they didn’t have them. And after that you need to start using a bit of carrot (commission, improved promotion prospects etc.) and a bit of stick (KPI’s and Performance Management) to achieve your results.

    Good luck.

  2. “selling” as opposed to “service”
    Michelle
    The fundamental issue with this kind of situation is that the people see “selling” as something bad (stitching up, forcing product on people, raising the cost in a hidden way etc).

    As Nik says you can get them to consider the “benefits” of the add ons to the customer.

    I once did it in reverse…
    we quoted the price for the service with every add on that was available, then we reverse sold the removal of the add ons…eg
    “So if want to save £20 we can take off the service cover, of course if you have a problem it will cost £35 just to get an engineer to visit”

    Depending on the add ons and the industry there may be laws against this presumptive inclusion but if not it is a solid way to help people perceive it differently

    Rus

  3. It’s the thought that counts!
    Michelle, I’m going to be a little cheeky here and disagree with Nik, sorry Nik!

    I think that skills are a series of actions and that every action is goverened by a personal thought or belief system.

    In that respect, changing a mindset has got to fall within the remit of the trainer, who else is going to pave the way for new behaviour if not the guy defining the new skills?

    I make a point of finding ways to change mindset as part of my training – if I didnt, I’d be scared the 99% of my trainees would go right back out and continue with thier old ways until they are reprimanded or worse!

  4. mindets and role change?
    Hi Michelle, what a great post!

    5 years ago I personally went through a simular situation. I was in a role where we gave business advice to clients (free of charge) then the rules changed and we had to sell advice. This was difficult for many of us (mind set change). Some of us adapted and others did not.

    On reflection if I were managing this change I would:

    1) change peoples job titles slightly (this says change IS coming)
    2) introduce regular communication showcasing samll wins from members of the team
    3) introduce additional training – ask job holders what help THEY need to adapt (this gets buy-in
    4) manage it as though it WERE an organisational change and give the staff change management tools

    Mindsets can be influenced by trainers but the final change is an internal one – one of an individuals choice. That is why I would strongly consider changing the job title – out with the old behaviours and in with the new.

    As Nik said consider using performance management – but not at this early stage, there is no point beating people over the head if they do not understand the importance of this change for the organisation – yet. Work on letting people know HOW important this change of focus is.

    If you want to talk through specific activities you can do please contact me.

    All the best
    Mike

  5. Now I’ll be cheeky
    This isn’t so much an answer to the question posted but an issue with part of Nik’s and Mike’s answers.

    In my experience and view Performance Management is not a stick to beat people with…that is Disciplinary Procedure.

    Performance Management is the everyday management activity of
    ~ ensuring people are aware of the expectations they are to fulfill
    ~ ensuring that they have the management support they need to achieve those expectations
    ~ ensuring that they are recognised and rewarded effectively and appropriately for their performance

    If people think of Performance Management as a stick to be used only after other activities fail then the adoption of Performance Management will always be seen as an indicator of a failing organisation rather than as an integral part of the sensible management and development activity

    Rus

  6. Agree and Disagree
    I’ll go with Rus that “performance management” per se is not a disciplinary action.

    But disciplinary action constitutes the final part of performance management.

    Performance management – starts with KPI setting, and regular reviews against the KPI’s – a gentle approach.

    But failure to achieve KPI’s over a period and failing to justify those during reviews – eventually culminates in disciplinary.

    If you expect people to sell then tell them so, and make it part of their performance reviews, and preferably their rewards (a little commission can go a long way…), but after a period of failure it’s time to take them to disciplinary – if you gave them support, offered training and/or coaching, clearly stated your objectives and requirements and they ain’t doing it, then it’s time to clearly show that this will have consequences and eventually it’s time to part company.

  7. What’s in it for them
    Hi Michelle

    This is common problem that businesses suffer from when they realise the benefits of creating a sales channel from their customer service team. Most CS staff will push back at the idea of add-on selling. Think of it from their point of view, they will probably consider their job being more difficult or complex so it could well be necessary to understand what is in it for them… You are often asking people to step out of their comfort zone, and it is likely they won’t do his unless their is something in it for them. If the only benefit for them is that they will avoid the ‘stick’ or disciplinary procedures then you’ll be up against it. Changing the Job Title is a good idea, and you could run a workshop to give them some scope in creating their own Job Titles and Descriptions which could create ownership of the key activities within it! An easy to understand, achieveable commission structure is likely to be paramount

    Secondly, if you are looking at changing the mindset from selling to service provision, everything must be organised from the customers perspective. Exercises to help uncover or recognise the customer’s Unique Percieved Benefit (What the customer believes is important) rather than features and benefits or USP’s may help. By running exercises that puts the CS rep in the shoes of the customer may help them to offer add-on’s with confidence, back this up with true success stories or testimonials from customers and hopefully results will improve!!

    Hope this helps, let me know if you want further explanation

    RP

  8. Add on sales
    Hi
    Great discussion, so thank you to everyone who have contributed.

    I sometimes do a flip chart exercise in syndicate groups that starts off with the basic question: “What is our role?” and let Service Reps brainstorm first. We then put the flips together and review the other syndicate groups’ work. When we get to selling, we debate whether, as customer service people, we are sellers. Delegates tend to baulk at this, but tend to agree that we ‘add value’ and ‘look out for customers’. In the shoes of a customer, we would hate it if we find there was an add on product/service that the company provided that wasn’t pointed out to them when we bought the main product. Most delegates seem to agree that this ‘soft sell’ approach is part of their role.

    The next exercise is to get a breakdown from the Finance department on ‘where the money goes’ based on a typical product (e.g. a book company may break down the cost of a £10 book into printing=£3.50; Marketing=£0.50; Customer Services costs (inc their wages)= £1 etc, etc). This tries to get across the message that to justify their wages, and help the company survive, keep shareholders happy, invest in new technology etc etc, then we do have a very commercial role to justify our existence.

    I have no stats to prove this, but there seems to be a more enlightened view after the workshop fron Customer Service Reps.
    Hope that helps
    Happy Days!
    Bryan

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