It doesn’t matter if you’re great at recruiting agents. Even if you find the best people, you still need to know how to train them effectively. They need to know the ins and outs of your particular business so they can achieve success—for themselves and for you.
Once you’ve built up enough sales and new business to warrant bringing on additional agents and handing off some aspects of your business, you must learn how to train. Your new recruits need to understand your business model, sales funnel, workplace philosophy, and core values. Let’s start with some practical steps.
1. Database Maintenance
You likely have a customer relationship management platform or CRM, and it’s probably a mess. But the truth is that a significant amount of your agents’ or inside sales agents’ business will come from a properly maintained client database. This means you have to get your CRM in order and teach your agents how to use it in the most effective way.
New recruits should be able to easily sort their leads into categories, whether based on an A, B, and C model, warm versus cold leads, or whatever segmentation names you prefer. They should be able to quickly see who their new leads are and who they need to follow up with. Teach them the importance of having all leads in the system on a touch plan and having follow-ups scheduled for all nurturing leads.
A common complaint among agents is that they don’t know how to use CRM software or they don’t have the time to maintain the system. If you train your agents to be proactive and use the CRM as their lead generation platform (as opposed to treating it like a spreadsheet that needs to be updated), they will be much more successful. Your agents should see the CRM as leverage rather than a burden, and understand that it can increase their production rather than rob them of time.
2. Understanding the Sales Funnel
Once a new recruit has a strong command of your CRM and knows how to use it effectively to increase his or her productivity, the next step is to make sure they have a thorough understanding of your sales funnel.
First, instill in agents that leads are leads despite having different timelines and follow-up needs, or the fact that they require varying degrees of effort. Your new inside sales agent needs to view every lead as a potential sale. We all want the hot-and-ready leads, but those are few and far between. The real money is made in the follow-up game.
Teach your agents how to work a database of leads while setting the right expectations for each type of lead. They should have a clear understanding of where each lead fits in the funnel, a key aspect to keeping an agent’s head and energy on the follow-up game.
New recruits also need a solid grasp of the following:
- Whom they’re selling to
- Where the leads come from
- What perspective those leads have when they come in
A misunderstanding on any one of these points can lead to this common complaint from agents: “These leads suck!”
3. Overcoming Call Reluctance
This key area of training has to do with mindset. Your inside sales agents’ perception of themselves, the business, and their role in your group, has a direct affect on how they pursue leads. The story they build in their heads is the most influential factor in whether or not that salesperson will aggressively generate leads, set appointments, ask for contracts, and close deals.
Regrettably, many people have negative connotations in their minds in regard to what it means to pursue leads and about sales in general. You need to put all that to rest. Emphasize the fact that agents’ careers and lives are in their own hands. When they’re making calls and following up on leads, they are building the lives they want to live. In doing so, they are creating value for the client, for the business, and for themselves. Selling and productivity are noble endeavors.
If your salespeople have positive connotations in their head when it comes to activities that lead to productivity, such as lead generation and setting appointments, then they will be unstoppable. But if agents have negative internal dialogue about the requirements of being a successful salesperson, then no matter what you do or say, they won’t generate leads.
4. Handling Objections and Closing Skills
If your agents don’t know how to convert a lead from a “no” to a “yes,” then they will not feel comfortable or confident generating leads on their own. This is the most common impediment holding agents back from crushing their goals. They will make all sorts of excuses for why they can’t or won’t bring in new business, but the real reason is they don’t know how to respond to objections.
Circumvent this with comprehensive training on what to say and when to say it. Take for example the course I teach with Conversion University showing agents how to ask powerful questions that compel leads to set an appointment. Help your agents understand that asking questions will help them get to the bottom of a lead’s objection, and will empower them to offer customers a different solution to reach a better outcome.
By recruiting go-getters and concentrating their training on these four areas, your inside sales agents and associates will become masters of their craft and flourish within your business.