Linda Kester explains how valuable it can be to record and review sales calls in order to improve the approach to prospects.
This call may be monitored or recorded for quality purposes.
We’ve heard that statement so many times that it just fades into the background. Did you ever wonder if anyone ever listens to those calls? To quote Adele, “Hello, it’s me.” I’m the one who listens to those incoming and outbound calls.
I work with some companies that have sophisticated methods of recording calls and other companies where I bring in my trusty tape recorder and a device from Radio Shack. It doesn’t matter how the call is recorded, the end result is the same, identifying what works. One precaution, you can’t record outbound calls in every state. Eleven states require all parties involved to consent before recording a call. These states include California, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.
The other states have one party permission, meaning that as long as one party to the conversation gives approval for the recording of the conversation, then it’s perfectly legal to record without getting approval, or even notifying anyone else involved in the conversation.
Sometimes I sit down with the reps in a training room and we listen to the calls together. The sales reps dread doing this. They dislike listening to their own voice. They don’t want to hear themselves stumbling over words or being flat out rejected. However, after they see what’s not working and adjust their techniques, they get better results. They shorten sales cycles. They get vendors and lessees onboard faster. Once the reps get used to listening to their calls, they get excited after having a good call. They’ll come up to me and say, “I just had a great call. I can’t wait for you to hear it.” This is gratifying to both of us because everybody wants to witness performance improvement.
Sometimes I listen to the calls on my own and often they are boring, repetitive calls that go nowhere. Every now and then I listen to a gem. I can hear the prospects resistance lower. I can hear them getting actively engaged in the call. I hear what sentences work. I identify the opening statements that get results. I pass these calls on to the sales managers and other reps so that they can use the same techniques.
Occasionally I’ll uncover a revelation from the prospect. He discloses a piece of information about his business and the sales rep completely missed it. The rep may have been distracted, or his mind was somewhere else, or he was anticipating that the guy was going to blow him off, so he didn’t even catch the line that the prospect was throwing him. In these cases, the rep now has an objective for the next call.
Another benefit of recording of sales calls is to identify and mirror the words that the prospect uses. Mirroring is a way of building rapport. If we can use a similar speed of speaking, or similar voice inflection, or even some of the same words, prospects may begin to think that there is something that they like about the sales rep.
If the rep talks too fast, the prospect may feel pressured or uncomfortable. That is never the start of a successful business-to-business relationship.
One of the best reasons to listen to calls with your reps is to identify potential. Is there potential in this account? Are there any subtle nuances that were missed?
Recording calls is a great training tool. It’s like reviewing videotape the day after a big football game. Sales people vary in skill level and it’s essential to hear both sides of the conversation for improvement.
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