Common sense states the most integral part to having a great sales team is great recruiting. Money is spent finding the best in your given field. Time is spent vetting recruits and eliminating those that do not fit. Money, time, and energy are all used, preparing your new-hires for success. In spite of how integral all of this may be to the success of any sales organization it is not uncommon for a “rock star” recruit to become a burden on a team.
For many, the problem does not arise until after all of these resources have been spent. Sales start to lag and managers are left asking themselves, “What can I do to improve my situation?”
Many choose to simply move on to the next recruit and write it off as a loss. However, this strategy does not solve the problem. It simply alleviates the symptoms.
Due to the nature of business, most new-hires in sales typically cut their teeth over the phone. Salespeople are hired based on conversational skills, relationship building aptitude, and the ability to close. Salespeople are fired based on lack of follow-through in one of these key areas. During this teeth-cutting phase, the conversational skills are the most important focus and the easiest to correct.
Modern technology can solve this problem through one simple action: recording calls.
The first step in solving the problem of an underperforming salesperson is assessing the situation. How are they reaching their prospects? Is there a list of leads that each person is required to reach out to via the phone? How do they sound on the phone? Much time can be wasted and revenue lost if a salesperson does not have the proper attitude. Dennis and Wendy Mannering are credited with saying, “Attitudes are contagious. Is yours worth catching?”
This could not be more obvious when assessing how a salesperson acts and reacts over the phone. Of course, if they are calling on bad leads, they will always have bad sales. Phone calls to bad prospects feel like speed dating with a zit on your forehead.
The subconscious says, “There is no chance!”
The ego says, “The worst thing they can happen is to be told no.”
Inevitably, the rep goes through the motions and a negative attitude is an unfortunate byproduct.
That being said, an hour on the phone with good prospects and a good attitude is worth infinitely more than 4 hours on the phone with bad prospects and a worse attitude. So what can be done to fix this?
The first step is obvious: give them relevant leads. Secondly, record EVERY SINGLE CALL for 30 days. Be transparent about this. Tell them up front you are going to record their calls. Their goal is to learn how to make more money. Their key to making more money is to be shown the proper way to do so. Objections are inevitable, however here is an example of an effective response:
“George, I am very excited about the potential you show. The first way we are going to tap into that potential is to maximize your skills over the phone. You have selected sales as your profession and I have selected you to be the professional to represent our product. The skills I can give you through constructive criticism will not only increase your sales but will be something that will last a lifetime.”
Of course, the key word in that phrase is potential.
Potential sounds like a compliment. The harsh reality is that potential only means one has the skills necessary to do something. It inherently means that they have not used that ability to do anything. The recording of calls will uncover a multitude of ways to transform potential into results.
There are myriad ways to record calls. One can purchase their own equipment and utilize yesterday’s technology or they can use CallProof’s web portal and mobile lead tracking software which already has this feature built in.
As with anything in sales, there are proven steps that always produce results. The goal of a sales manager is to train, reinforce, and motivate. Recording calls and giving constructive criticism can ensure that this goal is achieved. Here are ten things to look for and consider when executing this technique.
- Tone and excitement. Did the caller convey excitement? Did they employ humor? A light joke and a little excitement are very effective ways at disarming the “gatekeeper.”
- Did they speak with authority and own the call? More often than not people with authority are given authority because they convey it with their words. To be the expert one must always sound like an expert.
- Did they immediately start asking questions to qualify? This is a crucial step in the process. Qualification should be done before the call even occurs. Go for the jugular. Ask for the person who has the power to buy. If the gatekeeper asks why, deliver an elevator pitch with precision. Example: “I am going to be visiting your area next week and I would like an opportunity to show your manager our product and why our customers love it. I only need a small amount of their time to display why our product is what your business needs.”
- Do they sound scared? Animals can smell fear. Humans process it through auditory and visual clues. When conducting business over the phone the fear of rejection will ruin any chance of success. If the sales person sounds scared, a reality check is due. Nobody dies from selling a product. They woke up today to make money. Some people are zombies and some are the shooters. Come out with guns blazing.
- Look for unwanted presumptive selling. Very little business is closed with the initial call. Go for the appointment, not the sale. Patience is a virtue. Be virtuous.
- How hot are the leads? Is the rep able to ascertain this? Are they looking for buying statements? Luck is not real. Preparation for opportunity is. When the buying light goes off for the customer, is the rep responding to that light and using the information to setup the pop-in for success? This works great for reps who seem to always have a full funnel but never close any deals.
- Are the leads provided of any quality? Sales people are notorious for hating bad leads. Recording calls can show sales managers first hand whether or not the leads are even worth calling. This level of transparency and the sales manager’s ability to recognize it will create loyalty with the sales person.
- Build the ultimate training bank. New hires can benefit from hearing good and bad sales calls. It is important to show them a multitude of ways to do it correctly. It is also important to show them specific examples of the wrong way to do it. Football coaches spend hours each week reviewing film of plays from the previous week’s game. They look at what worked and use it to their advantage. They eliminate what does not work so as to keep that advantage.
- Accountability is paramount. Talk is cheap and actions are of value. Looking at a spreadsheet typically amounts to talk. Having an open two-sided conversation about what ensures success can do nothing but create more success.
- Turnover costs money. In today’s business world the cost of hiring a new person is always increasing. People walk away from jobs they do not feel they will be successful at. Using call recording as a standard practice with new hires or as training exercise for underperforming reps can lower costs, lower turnover, and increase sales all at the same time.
Rome was not built in one day. Nothing great ever happens overnight. Baby steps are paramount to building any sort of relationship. The fact of the matter is that a closed sale that is the result of an appointment generated from a cold call is the ultimate feeling of success and accomplishment for any person who has ever sold as a profession. Watch this video to see how easy it is to start recording calls with CallProof and turning potential into results.