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Calling on phone experts to form elite sales force

Published on Friday, 17 Aug 2012
Lawrence Lam says telesales offers all-round development.
Photo: Citibank

Telesales staff

Citibank is strengthening its telesales and direct-marketing team by hiring more telesales staff to develop an elite sales force.

"Working in the telesales centre is an opportunity for all-round personal development," says Lawrence Lam, director of sales and secured lending, Citibank Global Consumer Group.

Applicants go through a rigorous interview process, including role-playing and situational questions that put the applicants' communication and problem-solving skills to the test.

The interviewers look for positive thinking and passion for the job. Integrity is important, as is a "client first" attitude to ensure service is provided according to clients' needs. Language skills in Cantonese, Putonghua and English are also required.

"Other than being hardworking, you need to have high IQ and EQ if you want to move up the corporate ladder. You need to have high EQ especially to survive in this competitive industry," Lam says.

A major foreign financial institution that employs more than 4,000 people and serves more than one million customers, Citibank offers wide-ranging career opportunities.

Newcomers undergo an orientation programme, a series of workshops on products and sales techniques, on-the-job training, and role-playing exercises. Ongoing training covers product knowledge and interpersonal skills.

"To ensure that sales staff can pursue their full career potential, we often arrange new learning opportunities and challenges for employees based on their personal interests and specialties," Lam says.

Citibank has a diverse range of banking products. These include insurance plans, mortgages, credit cards and other banking services, which all involve telesales staff at different levels.

Telesales allows staff many opportunities to acquire a wealth of product knowledge and to understand banking products, as well as to get an insight into the work of different departments. This increases their chances of joining other departments.

"High-performing staff may seek vertical career development and subsequently assume the role of telesales manager, finally moving up to the position of sales head. For those who enjoy diversity at work, there is ample chance for horizontal moves into other banking functions like credit card loans, mortgages, banking or secured lending," Lam says.

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