Customer Experience News & Trends

9 skills customer service pros need to sell

Your service professionals – who probably have more contact with existing customers than salespeople – are in the perfect position to help boost revenue. Here’s why, plus how to prepare them to do it. 

Customer service pros interact with customers and hear their issues and concerns every day. They’re the first to recognize an unfulfilled need. They can be quick to fulfill the need with appropriate cross- and/or upselling.

One caveat: Before they steer an interaction toward a sale, customer service pros must take care of the pressing question, need or issue.

From there, RAIN Group researchers say these are the essential skills for customer service pros to be able to sell.

1. Well-versed

Customer service pros need to do more than offer new or different products to customers. They need to offer new ideas that help customers relate the product or service to an improvement they’d like to experience – something better, more complete, more satisfying, etc.

The best service-to-sales reps know everything about their products and/or services and, more importantly, how those can benefit customers and bring more value to their lives or businesses. And they need to be well-spoken in teaching customers those benefits.

2. Collaborative

Customer service reps want to take a collaborative approach to up- and cross-selling.

The key: Let customers be part of identifying a need that’s not met and the solution that is a better fit. Ask probing questions such as, “How does X affect Y? And what would you like to see improve in that situation?”

3. Sharp

Service pros need to help customers visualize what their situation looks like before trying a new or better solution and the improved situation after the solution.

They want to use persuasive, visual, quantitative words – such as “a 15% boost” or “the difference between a molehill and a mountain.”

4. Keen listener

Customers are more likely to buy if they feel they’re being listened to, the RAIN Group research found.

Of course, service pros listen to customers. When they want to sell, they need to demonstrate active listening even more by asking engaging questions and following up with language that customers use and appropriate responses.

5. Understanding

Customer service pros need to be able to show that they “get it” when it comes to customers’ goals, pains and needs before they introduce a new, better or different solution.

One way: Say this, “From what we’ve covered, I understand that your biggest frustration is … I think I have something that can help with that. Can I share a little about it with you?”

6. Proactive

Customer service pros who up- and cross-sell want to be ahead of customers’ issues, too. They need to be keen at identifying potential pitfalls with a purchase, alerting customers to them and explain how they can be avoided.

7. Crafty

New or different solutions often don’t sell themselves on their own merits. Service pros who want to sell need to be able to craft compelling pictures of why customers need them.

That often takes referring back to different outcomes customers indicated they wanted, then explaining exactly how, when and to what degree the solution will provide it.

8. Detail-oriented

Service pros who sell need to be able to accurately describe what and when customers can expect – from product or service results to timelines.

9. Personable

Bottom line: Customers want to buy from people they like. They might already have a relationship with a salesperson, so service pros need to build on those good relationships and establish new ones of their own.

The best way: Demonstrate the credibility, focus on detail, creativity and listening skills mentioned above.

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