Small Business Growth Hacks: 6 Tips To Help Receptionists Close Sales

It’s National Small Business Month, and we’re celebrating by giving our best tips on how to grow your small business. Sure, sales teams are trained in the art of being able to convince prospects why they need your service or product over your competition, but did you ever consider your receptionist could be your secret sales weapon?

Below, we’ve listed 6 different ways your receptionist can compliment your sales team and help grow your small business a million different ways from next Tuesday. Be sure to try some of these tips in your own office!

#1. Arm your receptionist with pre-sales answers

While your receptionist may not be familiar with all of the ins and outs of your company, they should be equipped to answer some basic questions that may come up. If they can’t, your customers will question how knowledgeable your staff really is, which may affect sales. Every receptionist should have a list of FAQs that they can easily access whenever questions come up. Some questions all receptionists should have the answer to include:

  • Business location
  • Company hours
  • Key contacts within the company
  • Services provided
  • Prices
  • Service levels
  • Capabilities

You may also want to include some more specific FAQs depending on the type of business you run. For example, a medical practice should also include information regarding insurance, while a construction company should include information on the types of services provided. The more questions your receptionists are able to answer, the more experienced your company will seem, which will encourage more customers to do business with you.

#2. Never say you don’t know

Whether a customer is contacting a business to purchase a product, schedule an appointment, or to simply ask a question, they’re looking for help. However, if they’re asking questions and your receptionists are left saying “I don’t know” – you’ve got a problem.

If your receptionists truly don’t know the answer to a question, you should implement a transfer protocol to help in those scenarios. For example, if our virtual receptionists at SAS don’t know the answer to a question, they say things like “Let me check on that for you” or “Unfortunately I don’t have the answer to that, but I can get you to someone who does. Let me transfer you over to Joan in our billing department.” So, even if your receptionists can’t answer a question, they can still provide assistance and ensure the customer gets helped as quickly and efficiently as possible.

#3. If you can’t transfer, schedule

If your receptionists are not able to transfer a caller to the appropriate person or department, give them access to schedule the caller themselves. Having your receptionists enter your customers or patients into your scheduling system avoids someone from your staff having to make a return call to schedule.

If you’re outsourcing your receptionist services to a call center, then you can have them schedule appointments for your callers, too. Many call centers are able to go out to your website to schedule, or they can integrate with wed based platforms like Google Calendar.

#4. Receptionists can take payments too

When people hear the word “receptionist”, the first thought is someone answering the phones, greeting customers, and transferring calls. While receptionists can do the aforementioned tasks beautifully, they can certainly do much more.

If someone wants to pay a bill or order a product and your billing department is tied up, no sense letting that customer wait for a call back. Train your receptionist how to process payments to ease any bottlenecks created by your billing department. While more complicated procedures like processing refunds should be left to your billing team, your receptionists should be able to update payment methods and process payments over the phone with ease. Your customers will be grateful for quick assistance, and will appreciate not having to wait on hold or to be transferred just for a simple update.

#5. A friendly voice from the start closes the sale in the future

Your business has only one chance to make a great first impression, which is why it is so important to get things right from the start. Your receptionists are usually the first point of contact for customers when they call your business, and it’s vital that they are greeted with a warm, friendly, and upbeat voice every time.

Even if the product you’re selling is the best in the world, customers who are greeted with a cold, bored, or indifferent voice when they call  will have a poor outlook on your brand, and may feel inclined to look elsewhere. Receptionists who are able to strike up a conversation with customers, get them to smile, and make them feel important are the receptionists that can warm the customer up for you to close sales later down the line.

#6. Customer service is a sales tool too

While sales teams are the ones that are responsible for on-boarding new customers, it’s the customer service teams that are responsible for keeping them from jumping ship when times get tough. Having your receptionists offer basic customer service troubleshooting for your callers can help keep customer complaints to a minimum, and may even increase the amount of customer referrals in your pipeline. Whether they’re in-house or virtual, some ways that receptionists can provide customer service include:

  • Starting support tickets for the customer service team
  • Troubleshooting basic issues like password resets
  • Being the first point of contact for upset customers, and lending a listening ear
  • Answering questions that don’t require a call back or a transfer
  • Showing empathy for callers going through difficult situations

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