Stephen Curry was told that he wasn’t tall or strong enough to make it to the NBA. He made it by working harder than everyone else. His triumph is legendary and his history is still being written. Curry is a two-time MVP, with his second MVP being the leagues first and only unanimous MVP in league history. Fans stand in line to buy his jerseys, and the difference between success or failure came down to execution.
Sales Leaders make the number one sales call at a time. Yet they typically don’t pay enough attention to each call. They look at each rep’s performance to quota. They review the pipeline. These are difficult to control. Sales leaders can control the quality of sales calls every day. Great execution at the individual sales call level will result in great results. It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. The Revenue Growth Diagnostic interactive tool will help you determine if you are likely or unlikely to make your number.
Your team is wasting opportunities. Every week sales reps attend sales calls unprepared. You have a Sales Process. You have a team of experienced sales people, so what is the problem?
In this post we will explore common sales call mistakes. Then we will review four simple steps sales leaders can implement to prevent them. The sales call coaching tool will help sales leaders ensure their reps are prepared. Download it to improve sales call performance immediately.
10 Mistakes that Kill Sales Calls
- Show up and throw up (Inward-Out Approach) – Stop talking about how great your product or company is. Nobody cares about your company or product. People are selfish. They want to know how it will help them. Speak to their personal wins and business objectives. How will your solution help get them promoted? Make them more money. Get them recognized by their boss. This approach will keep your customer’s attention.
- Poor self-preparation (no call plan) – Entering a call unprepared still shocks me. But 8 out of 10 calls I observe don’t have completed call plans. Sales people don’t think they need them.
- Call is one-sided – Talking head syndrome. Your sales rep talks a lot, but doesn’t engage the audience. The audience loses interest after 5 minutes.
- Overlays/Specialists aren’t on the same page as the sales rep – I have witnessed many sales calls where this is the problem. 3 or 4 people are all trying to get their point across in a 60 minute meeting. This leads to little customer interaction. The customer ends the call because time is up without next steps being discussed.
- Front-line Sales Managers aren’t providing adequate coaching – Sales people need a second opinion. We all miss things. A little coaching and inspection can make a huge impact on a single call.
- Objectives for call aren’t clear – You know you want to move the deal forward. Is that an objective? No. Set clear, measurable objectives for each sales call. Then self-assess post call.
- Topical conversation – The best sales people ask tough questions. They surface fear and risk. Average sales people talk about product and avoid “awkward” discussions.
- Sales rep happy ears – The rep that thinks every call went great. They ignore risks, gaps, and pitfalls. While optimism is a good thing, it has to be balanced with reality.
- The call ends without next steps being defined – The easiest way to reduce your sales cycle length is to establish next steps. Never end a meeting with “I’ll call you next week to catch up”.
- Lack of value – Sales people that talk product and price are a dime a dozen. Great sales people teach the customer something new. They speak at the level of their audience. They challenge the status quo. They bring insight and thought leadership that isn’t the norm.
The best sales teams do something that is very difficult. They execute on a daily basis. As a sales leader you should ensure your reps are ready for major interactions. Major interactions are sales calls that either advance an opportunity or kill it. Major interactions should be identified in your Sales Process and require additional preparation.
How to Prepare your Sales Team for Major Interactions
- Track: you have to know what interactions are coming up. Discuss them in your weekly 1-on-1 meetings. Call them out in your sales process and track in your CRM system.
- CRM – is the deal progressing? Is there information missing? Is it in the correct sales process stage?
- Job Aids – has the rep completed a call plan? Do they know what gaps they need to address? Have they assessed the opportunity? Do they know where the buyer is in their buying process? Are they ready to engage the right people?
- Ask: probing questions to ensure they are prepared. Use the Sales Call Coaching Tool to ensure your sales people are properly prepared.
- Provide: ideas, insights, content, examples, use cases and best practices. Ensure your sales people are bringing value to the conversation. Enable them to take a different approach than the competition. Help test the strength of their story and provide improvement ideas.
Every interaction is treated as a golden opportunity. You either move the deal forward or you don’t. Be sure your reps are prepared. Come see me at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art, executive briefing center. In advance of the meeting we can secret shop your sales force and sit down with emerging best practices and review the gaps together. The Studio is a safe haven for learning and after just a few days clients leave with confidence and clarity on what they need to do to grow revenue and how to do it.
Photo Source: Roman Tiraspolsky, Shutterstock