By Randy Riemersma | Founder of Span the Chasm
No call coaching = less sales success.
I could feel his embarrassment as he sat down for our first coaching session. He knew the first question I was going to ask, as word had gotten around:
How many calls so far and how many meetings set?
132 calls. 1 meeting.
Yep, I would have been embarrassed too.
But why? What went wrong? Good kid, hardworking, the assessment said he was a ‘fit’ for the job, he had been trained on their solutions.
Where was the train going off the track?
His self-assessment provided little. All the standard things were there:
- He felt like he was engaging.
- Had a good list of suspects
- Done his pre-call research on LinkedIn, etc
- Had his time blocked out for calls.
- His prospects just didn’t seem to care or need his solution set.
No results. Why?
Like any good coach, we went to the ultimate sales game film:
We listened to several calls, annotating them as we went. No surprise to me, we found the call assassins that I find with so many reps:
Death Word (Catch Words, Filler Words)
In one 9 minute call, he had logged 64 ‘Uh’, ‘Um’ and Ah’s in the call. They kill credibility. — Vague words: Kinda, Sorta, Almost….. Using these where a definitive statement could have been made kills excitement. Not sure about you but I have never bought a ‘kinda’ nice car. — Adverbs: Basically, Essentially, Fundamentally: These adverbs are confining and don’t add anything to the call. They immediately limit your solution impact.
Asking questions that can be answered with monosyllabic answers in early discovery is fatiguing and disengaging for your prospects. Get them talking. Good questions are like quarters in the jukebox. Drop them in and hit ‘Play’. Take notes and ask for clarification.
Twice in one call the prospect lit up and mentioned how important a solution function could be. And the softball fell to the ground. No engagement. Opportunity completely missed.
We searched for the pronoun ‘I’ to see how often it was used. 17 times. Yep. 17 times he was talking about himself instead of turning the conversation around to ask about them. Key: No one cares about you, especially in discovery.
As a result, I could ‘feel’ the prospect fading away. A 9 minute trail of boredom could have been 7 minutes of engaged discovery. But it wasn’t. And worse, he won’t have that chance again. If there was an opportunity there, his company will never harvest it. Really is a pity.
For an organization where long-term sales success start on the phone, first and second call execution is a ‘must’. It cannot be a poor showing like these calls were. Your solutions don’t sell themselves.
These must happen on the first calls for success:
- Credibility must be built
- Confidence must be established
- Receptivity must be nurtured
- A Trust foundation must be laid
These are not optional.
Using call coaching, built on librarying the good calls and bad calls across the documented sales process, all of the reps on the team will benefit and the best behaviors will be nurtured across your entire team.
Bonus: There are two unexpected benefits of call coaching:
- Accelerate the onboarding success: The goal of any organization is shrinking the time from one a new rep starts to when they become fully effective. Call coaching is one of the best means to drive that acceleration. It is diagnostic, it is best practices based and, with a platform that provides annotation and score carding, the feedback can be taken in as a self-study process.
- Builds retention: For every sales organization, there is a magical date for new hires. If they get to that date the odds of them making it goes through the roof. Call coaching provides an investment vehicle that improves the probability of that magical date happening.
Without going through the call recordings, your team will never have a chance of getting the call assassins out of their calls and building the ‘must’ behaviors into their calls. Trying to remember what happened on a call cannot be replaced by the diagnostic process of digging into calls and annotating the good and bad elements. It takes intentionality to change behavior. Just like going to the gym to build fitness. Or reading a textbook in college. Active reading with a highlighter in hand makes all the difference.