7 Signs Your Receptionist Totally Rocks at Sales

Most business owners understand and appreciate the importance of a robust sales force. In fact, sales is often the department that receives the most attention from business owners. However, it is important to remember that selling is the responsibility of everyone in the company, not just those officially designated as salespeople.

One of the most frequently overlooked and undervalued potential salespeople is your receptionist. Your receptionist likely speaks to more customers and potential customers on a daily basis than anyone else in the company. A good receptionist will have a pulse of your company and is uniquely positioned to bolster the sales funnel.

In order to maximize the potential of your company’s receptionist, look for the following seven traits.

1. Possesses Strong Product Knowledge

Strong product knowledge is one of the single most useful attributes of any receptionist. If nothing else, product knowledge will allow them to answer simple questions without escalating the problem to the customer service department. Beyond that, strong product knowledge will give your receptionist the ability to identify sales opportunities and share them if and when the call is escalated to the sales or customer service department.

2. Is Able to Multitask & Take Action

Multitasking is a valuable skill that great receptionists already have. However, being able to remember pertinent information from multiple calls – such as a popular products or common complaints– is absolutely imperative if they are going to provide useful information to your sales department. Keep an eye out for a receptionist who can do this effectively; they might soon become a member of your sales team.

3. Understands the Discovery Process

Every salesperson is familiar with the importance of the discovery process. It is the most effective method for determining a customer’s needs as they relate to your company’s solutions. If your receptionist can conduct a preliminary discovery process while on the phone with a potential customer, he or she will be able to pass on incredibly useful information to your sales team once the call is transferred. This extra tidbit of information, typically offered while the caller’s guard is still not up, can be the difference between closing a deal and failing to do so.

4. Understands Company Promotions and Specials

This skill goes hand in hand with understanding the discovery process. If your receptionist can conduct a discovery process with a caller while having a strong understanding of the current promotions and deals your company is offering, he or she can provide targeted information to both the caller and to the sales team about which promotions best fit the caller’s needs. This can have a dramatically positive impact on the rate at which your sales team closes deals.

5. Can Identify Qualified Leads

The fact of the matter is that most sales teams are constantly busy, yet too much of their time is spent speaking with unqualified leads. This is a natural part of the sales process, as it takes time to determine whether or not a lead is qualified for your business. A receptionist who can identify which leads are worth handing over can make the sales team’s time far more effective.

6. Handles Abrasive Callers with Grace

Unfortunately, not every customer who calls your business will be happy. Being able to take a bit of verbal abuse is something most receptionists can and must learn. However, what really makes them stand out is their ability to take an angry customer and turn them into a happy one. Experienced salespeople know that customers filled with angry emotions, when handled correctly, can become the most passionately loyal customers your company has. The key is to identify, understand, and solve whatever issue is angering the customer. If you have a receptionist who can do this, hold on to them!

7. Is Driven and Wants to Move Up in the Company

This is perhaps the most important trait any receptionist can have. If your receptionist sees his or her position as just another job, he or she will not be motivated to cultivate any of the skills listed above. However, if your receptionist sees a long-term future with the company, he or she will be much more motivated to increase the sales efficiency of your company. It is worthwhile to nurture and encourage your receptionist as you would any other member of the team and provide them with product training, coaching, and support that will help him or her move to the next level.  In addition, let your receptionist know that you value him or her and have taken notice of their efforts, and it will pay off many times over.

If your receptionist has any or all of these, be sure to encourage him or her to use and develop them. If your receptionist lacks these traits, it is worth spending some time trying to foster them; doing so will pay significant dividends down the road.

What other signs have you seen that you have a sales-ready receptionist in your business?


The ReachLocal online marketing blog shares practical tips and advice for those who want to reach local customers online. Learn about online marketing from our in-house experts and thought leaders.

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