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Kickstarting a Sales Conversation

Source: Canva

Nice. You’ve started working as a live chat agent for an online store and you already know:

  • How to properly greet the customers
  • How important it is to mind your language while chatting to them
  • How to make good use of scripts and canned responses, and
  • How to respond and handle unhappy customers

How difficult can it be?

Your job is ONLY to provide customer support, that is to say, to answer questions people ask you when they visit your store’s website. Or is it?

Think twice.

Ultimately you need to make money for your employer’s business so that it stays profitable, don’t you?

But why would you care about your employer’s profit when you’re hired to answer customers’ queries?

Well, actually, it’s what you NEED to do. But why? Because it’ a cycle – if the business keeps running, you can keep your job. Got it?

So, how can you help create your own future?


Make money via sales chat. This doesn’t need to be overt but keep it in mind when engaging in conversations with the store website visitors.

Or not that easily achieved?

That’s why selling over live chat is our focus in this lesson – to teach you how to kick off a sales conversation with your prospects over live chat.

Here’s how Intercom’s gracefully explained what it’s all about…

Imagine walking into an Apple Store on the eve of a major holiday. It’s noisy, it’s chaotic, and it almost makes you turn on your heels and walk out the door.

At that precise moment, a store employee suddenly appears by your side with a warm greeting, engages you with just the right questions and before you realize it, you’re at the checkout counter with the latest iGadget in hand.

Live chat lets us mimic this wonderful sales experience online. It hits the sweet spot between being personal and scalable, and what’s more, it connects you with the people already in your store who are already interested in buying your product.

Live chat should be used proactively, too. The key to having productive conversations with high-quality leads is to trigger your messages on high intent pages. For instance, would you rather chat with visitors on your homepage or your pricing page, where the intent to buy is higher?

The Live Chat for Sales Starter Kit will teach you how to make every conversation count. (Follow the link if you want to download it and learn more.)

In this guide, you can learn how to use live chat proactively to capture the best leads from your website, by targeting the right visitors with the right message at the right time.

Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into the art of selling over live chat, shall we?

How to Sell Over Live Chat?

Did you know that live chat opens the door for upsell opportunities?

This is perhaps the biggest profit-booster of all and an opportunity that is sorely overlooked by most companies. After solving the customer’s inquiry or problem, most live chat sessions end there – but there’s much more to gain.

At this point in the conversation, the savvy sales rep could let the customer know that there’s currently a sale going on, or a discount coupon available for the very thing the prospect wanted to purchase.

This swings the upsell door wide open since the customer won’t have to go offsite looking for coupon codes, or to comparison shop at other sites.

A live chat representative can also let potential customers know about guarantees, warranties or any other helpful policies that could help the buyer feel secure about their purchase, which in turn leads to our next point.

Live chat boosts buyer confidence!

When armed with enough information to make a solid buying decision, live chat can be the difference between pressing that all-important “Place Order” button or abandoning the cart, as noticed in 5 Best Practices for Increasing Sales with Live Chat Software.

Just check out the benefits of proactive chat!

In a traditional sales funnel, live chat sits at the intersection of ‘interest’ and ‘decision.’ Someone who is on your site is interested in what you have to offer, and chances are they have one or two questions they want to be answered before they feel ready to make a purchasing decision. You should be ready to answer any and all pre-sale questions a customer has so you can maximize sales potential.

Now you see clearly where live chat fits in the sales funnel?

Here are also 7 Studies That Prove Live Chat Boosts Your Conversion Rate.

In case you’re still not sure, check out the following presentation to figure out why you should implement a proactive sales chat.

Take a peek at some examples of how to use proactive live chat in sales context.

You see?

If a customer is hesitating on your checkout page, a simple check-in could solve a problem they might have, or a question they might need to be answered.

According to Forrester, reaching out in real-time and offering proactive support can increase sales by up to 29% as pointed out in Zendesk’s article Proactive support: The right way to engage.

However, a customer support interaction, on its own, is not a sales opportunity.

Your first job when a customer contacts you for support is to solve their problem, to make them happy.

If you do that, there could be an opportunity to systematically grow the business through the customer support team while helping your customer succeed.

As advised in a Kissmetric’s article 7 Customer Support Hacks to Increase Sales, Build Better Customer Relationships, and Grow Your Business, for it to be okay to sell in a support situation, two conditions have to be true:

A) The customer has to be happy with you.

Never try to sell a solution to an angry customer. It makes them angrier, and it makes you look bad. The customer must be happy and have positive feelings toward your company and the preceding support interaction.

B) The customer has to have an unmet need that you can help with.

You’ve solved your customer’s problem, but did the interaction reveal that there’s more value you can deliver for them?

Just remember: never try to sell anything to a customer who doesn’t need it (and never try to sell anything to an angry customer).

Always make sure that, first and foremost, you’re delivering awesome support. Once you have that down, it becomes much easier to do more for your customers.

The following resources will also help you learn how to turn live chat support into a real “money maker”, so go ahead – take a deep dive and learn how to become a live chat sales expert. Ready?

How to Improve Sales With Live Chat (Infographic) + webinar (for those who prefer videos)

Or, you may want to learn how to increase sales using live chat by taking a closer look at the following presentation, where the authors also touched on four main aspects of improving sales with live chat:

  1. Personalization
  2. Using greetings to save carts
  3. Discovering customer pain points
  4. Gaining trust with customized chat

As you can see, live chat is a great tool to convert. Online retailers these days don’t only use it for support purpose but for generating leads as well.

Many agree that interacting with a customer in a real-time manner can significantly boost conversion rate and yield higher revenue.

However, online selling with live chat is more than just setting up a live chat software and picking some chat agents to talk to the website visitors.

To make a business successful, you need to know some basic techniques to persuade people to buy and increase sales through live chat.

So, here are 6 Live Chat Sales Techniques You Should Know to help you sell more with live chat.

Also, make sure you read and learn these 5 Strategies To Transform Your Live Chat Service Into A Sales Channel that will help you sell successfully through chat.

Next, in the video below, Dan Martell will teach you how to use live chat on your website to engage more customers for your products.

Similarly, here’s a helpful LiveChat webinar that includes some tips on how to sell efficiently with chat:

Live chat is an amazing tool that will help you close the gap in the journey from being a window shopper to a customer especially if you employ these seven underused live chat strategies that will drive more sales.

There are also plenty of other helpful resources to refer to when learning how to master the art of selling over live chat while actually providing customer support. Go ahead – check them out.

You might also want to check out the following 30-second customer service training tips from Jeff Mowatt, a customer service and sales training specialist:

Or you may want to learn some effective upselling strategies from the same author’s article 30 Seconds to Significant Sales?

You see how to upsell without turning off your customer?

What’s the secret to making your upselling or cross-selling efforts successful? What will make your offer irresistible instead of annoying?

The name of the game is value.

As long as your upselling or cross-selling makes sense in the eyes of a customer, it will work. The extra cost needs to come with extra value added to the original offer.

So, use these two powerful selling techniques with care, as advised in a LiveChat’s blog post What Is Upselling and How It Can Increase Your Revenue.

OK. Now you know how to reach out to the customer and to sell over live chat.

But, what if a customer contacts you to ask for a better deal, for instance?

upselling convo

In the past, such requests would have been quickly transferred to the sales team. But times have changed.

Customer service reps now sit at the front line of a company’s bargaining efforts. And as such, negotiation skills are now critical to the customer service rep’s success — on live chat and elsewhere.

There’s no single right way to approach a customer. All kinds of customers will visit your website. Each of them unique and requiring a different approach.

That’s why you should take a look at the following resources to help you learn how to handle different customers in various situations.

Providing stellar real-time support to hundreds or thousands of a store website visitors simultaneously while encouraging sales sounds like a challenging task, doesn’t it?

Perhaps even a bit daunting if there are just a few CSRs working as live chat agents at one online store?

Luckily, we live in the 21st century and we have automation! Still, humans need to know how to manage and implement the necessary helpful automation processes.

That’s where we come to chatbots. Let’s talk about their role in live chat sales.

Are Chatbots Helpful in a Sales Conversation?

For start, let’s make it straight what chatbots are.

As explained in Chatbot Report 2018: Global Trends and Analysis,

A chatbot (also known as a talkbot, chatterbot, Bot, IM bot, interactive agent, or Artificial Conversational Entity) is a computer program which conducts a conversation in natural language via auditory or textual methods, understands the intent of the user, and sends a response based on business rules and data of the organization.”

Can chatbots help you get a sales conversation going or should you perhaps wait to see what the customer wants?

A chatbot that helps customers make online purchases, answers customer services questions and monitors customer’s satisfaction are just a few examples of chatbot applications out of the infinite possibilities.

Chatbots can be used in many different ways. It is actually possible to come up with a chatbot use case for every single business or industry, in the same way that every business or industry can use a website or app, as noticed in The Whats & Why Of Chatbots.

As they further state, chatbots allow businesses to deliver services in a highly personalized manner where the message, operations and human support can be combined in one experience.

David Cancel presents chatbots as the next wave of sales and marketing. Check out his presentation to get an overview of this new methodology developed to enable real-time selling.

Here’s an example of a chatbot initiating a live chat conversation with website visitors:


So, not only can chatbots help you start sales conversations with customers over live chat but get them going. Let’s check out some more credible sources to get valuable insights into how it all works.

Convert website visitors into repeat buyers: A Smart Campaign for eCommerce will show you how to convert website visitors into leads, and easily encourage them to buy from you, as well as how to create your campaign nurture messages in order to achieve the following:

  • Encourage your new leads with benefits and latest offers
  • If they haven’t purchased, send them a mini-offer
  • If they purchased once, send them complementary products
  • If they still haven’t purchased, highlight your products’ benefits
  • If they haven’t bought twice from your store, thank them for their interest, ask for feedback and offer them a last-chance discount

Make sure you thoroughly read the full article for specific example messages that demonstrate how this process works, and for more ideas to help you:

  • Grow sales
  • Increase your customer retention, an
  • Reduce your cart abandonment rate (by targeting those customers with nurture messages and encourage them to return to complete their order)

You can proactively reach out to visitors on your website based on who they are and what they do. The key is to target each message to send to the right prospects, at the right time.

For example, visitors who check out your pricing page numerous times could be considering making a purchase. Send them a message while they’re on your pricing page, offering to help answer their questions.

To learn how to create visitor auto messages that help you chat to, capture and qualify high-quality leads, you can refer to the article Automatically message visitors on your website.

Also, if a visitor returns to the same product page a number of times, they’re showing interest and signs of making a purchase.

Wondering what to say, who to target and when?

The article Best practices for sending messages to attract and capture leads provides some powerful tips for inspiring your visitors to feel excited and motivated to take action, so don’t hesitate to check it out.

Exploring The Future Of Customer Engagement With Bots discusses how chatbots can provide significant advantages over traditional means of customer engagement.

Feel free to explore some more relevant sources suggested below to get valuable insights into the use of chatbots in an online business.

You see how chatbots can come in handy when you want to kickstart a sales conversation and generate sales?

However, our recommendation is to test out all the available options before you commit to one path – sending automated or manual messages. Don’t stick to one solution if you haven’t checked the other possibilities and decided which one gets you the best results.

Furthermore, check out the latest 2018 report on How Chatbots Are Reshaping Online Experiences to find out more about the state of chatbots.

Also, have you noticed how the right balance between automated/chatbot and human response is critical for avoiding customers’ frustration?

Thus, online businesses can use chatbots to supplement their human live chat agents, but NOT to replace them. The perfect combination is the customer service when both chatbots assistance and real-time human responses are provided where appropriate.

That’s why you should learn how to cooperate with your “new co-workers”, chatbots, if you want to bring your live chat customer service to perfection. It will help your CSR career thrive.

Seems powerful and fun, doesn’t it?

That’s undoubtedly what your new career will be like!

Helping is the new selling is the motto that many of today’s inbound sales reps live by, as stated in The Ultimate Guide to Conversational Sales & Selling. Read the full article to learn more about how the conversation-driven sales work and why that’s the future.

As Drift believes (and we agree), the role of sales and marketing is to serve as a resource and to educate potential customers around best practices.

It’s not about pushing a product on people, it’s about helping people see if your product would be a good fit for solving the problem they have. It’s about being available to answer questions.

Got it now? Great!

Time to summarize your learnings before we check your knowledge and let you plunge to new depths of customer service world.

Ready for the adventure?

In Summary

Live chat is NOT only for providing support to customers and answering their queries but for triggering their purchase while having real-time conversations with visitors.

In other words, it’s your job as a live chat agent to turn your store website visitors into customers by kickstarting sales conversations with the right people, at the right time and place.

Of course, chatbots can help you a lot in this process.

You can send both automated and manual messages to engage your online store visitors and encourage them to buy your products. Hitting the perfect balance is the key.

Also, remember these basic tips if you want to become a star seller over live chat:

  • Be knowledgeable about your store products, prices, special offers etc. to figure out what best fits your visitors’ needs;
  • Understand what drives visitors to particular pages, what motivates them to buy and what prompts them to click the shopping cart button;
  • Learn how to use tracking features to know exactly when to start a chat and with whom;
  • Don’t be pushy;
  • always tend to personalize your interactions with the website visitors.

These are just the basic pointers about selling successfully through chat, but enough to get you started. Good luck!

Shall we check what you’ve learnt in this lesson now?

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