A main requirement of any sales-related team or organization should be to provide constant and consistent feedback to sales reps regarding their selling interactions (whether sales are in-person or over the phone). With a phone-based sales team, it is critical that management listen in on live phone calls to provide guidance in the moment (if applicable) as well as review recorded calls for training opportunities. From the beginning, teams should expect to receive structured, regular, and constructive feedback to help them achieve a higher level of sales success, without feeling micromanaged or controlled. Like professional athletes, healthy sales team members want feedback so they can constantly improve. Improvement leads to more closed deals and higher levels of consistent income.
I have developed my critical analytical sales/call listening skills that yield feedback to help reps achieve higher levels of closing. Reps can always employ a range of main strategies, as well as small, subtle persuasion skills that most people, including new reps, are not aware of. Often, reps are so focused on what they are going to say or do next that they miss opportunities, signals, hints, and details the prospect gives that could increase their ability to sell to that person.
While ongoing training is important, reps themselves will say the most effective way to learn is on-the-job training. Even though everyone pretty much hates hearing their own voice in a call recording, the most valuable way to get someone to absorb feedback is to have them listen to their own calls with a manager who can point out areas to improve. If you just talk to someone and give them feedback, some level of ego will cause some defensiveness. It’s much harder for someone to dispute what they hear in a recorded call. It’s the same reason professional athletes watch replay footage after their games. They can only process certain feedback from self-analyzing what they think happened, or what their coach or team told them. They can get the bigger, external view of what happened when watching each play from different angles.
With any B2C selling team, when a sale isn’t made, I have developed the ability—from years of studying personalities, behaviors, and ad psychology—to determine exactly why a sale did not close based on notes from the rep or talking to the rep after the selling interaction ends. If a sale isn’t made with a qualified prospect, then the rep did (or did not do) something that caused the sale not to occur. I have been a part of a few sales environments where enrollment can be done in one phone call, and that call could be an hour long. Based on a few details from the rep, I can usually skim through a one-hour call and quickly find some distinct points that caused the rep to lose the deal. Other times, I don’t actually need to listen to the call. Based on the rep’s story, I already know what the rep needs to work on.
Call Feedback Tip
Most new reps have a “crutch word” (the word you use when your mouth is moving faster than your brain) like “um,” “so,” “uh,” or “like.” Most people are not aware they say their crutch word that often, so they won’t believe your feedback. I recommend an exercise where you pull a call recording and sit the rep down to listen to it with a notepad in hand. I tell them I want them to listen, and I tally down each time they say their crutch word during the call. After five minutes, I go back in and pause the recording. Most reps will have a shocked/embarrassed look on their faces, and hopefully, a resolve to avoid using that word.