Extending Upselling and Cross-Selling Efforts (2,414 words)
Al Langsenkamp, chairman of Sigma Micro Corp., brings up the example of Lands' End. He explains, "When Lands' End was in its acquisition phase, they bought Territory Ahead and Willis and Geiger. At one point in time, they had as many as five operations on our system."
If the databases had been integrated, Lands' End's later sale of several titles would have been a complicated extrication. Langsenkamp advises keeping customer records separate but consistent, then upselling within a single book only. "You can still cross-mail," he says.
Kislik points out another major stumbling block for between-book cross-selling in the call center: the Federal Trade Commission's Telephone Sales Rule. Normally, catalog call center reps are exempted from the rule if they only upsell items within the catalog in front of the customer. When they expand their sales efforts to items that aren't on the page, they qualify as telemarketers and are subject to the restrictions of the rule.
Says Kislik, "If you bring the Telemarketing Sales Rule into play, when you examine all the factors related to compliance, it may not be worth doing."
Inspiring Sales Reps
Some call center managers find that inbound reps are resistant to selling, but Lillian Vernon has avoided that problem through upfront hiring practices. Says Hochberg, "When we hire representatives, we make sure they're more than just order-takers. We want people with selling skills."
In addition to hiring gifted salespeople, Lillian Vernon encourages reps with cash incentives. Berg says that his reps are compensated on a per-upsell basis, rather than on straight commission. Thus, a rep who upsells batteries is rewarded the same way as one who sells a comforter to go with a sheet set.
Other call centers choose different compensation strategies. Which method works best, says Kislik, "depends on the environment and the structure of the program."