3 Things Top Sellers Always Do During Sales Calls
Schools probably don’t do this anymore, but when I was in elementary school (GenX-er here), we were taught how to use the telephone.
The telephone company donated a dozen rotary phones, and we paired up to practice how to answer the phone, take a message, call a neighbor, and call 911. It was a room full of 8-year-olds running through call scripts like pint-sized sales reps. Then we had to do the role-playing exercises in front of the entire class (!), and the teacher critiqued and graded us.
That actually isn’t too far off from how some companies train and coach sales reps today. But old-school sales training will only take you so far these days.
Conversation Intelligence Helps Sellers Have Better Sales Calls
There’s a better way to coach sales reps on how to conduct sales calls, though: conversation intelligence. The software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to record, transcribe, and analyze sales conversations and generate recommendations.
Using conversation intelligence software, sales reps can record their practice pitches and real-world sales calls and then analyze the recordings. Sales coaches can also use the tool to analyze the reps’ call recordings and provide feedback. And coaches can pull excerpts from top-performers’ calls to share with the entire sales team.
We wanted to find out what top-performing sellers do during sales conversations, so we partnered with Sales Insights Labs and analyzed nearly 24,000 sales conversations recorded by Allego Conversation Intelligence. We then compared the calls of top-performing sales reps with those of lower performers.
Our goal was to see what top performers do differently in a question-based, consultative approach compared to everyone else. Through our analysis, we identified several things top-performing sales reps do during sales calls that lower performers do not. Here’s a look at three.
Best Practices of Top-Performing Sales Reps
Download the Sales Call Research Report to learn what top-performing sales reps say and do during sales calls.
3 Things Top Sales Reps Do During Sales Calls
1. Have Back-and-Forth Conversations
It’s tempting for a sales rep to monopolize a conversation and talk about all of their product’s features. After all, it’s a great product! But buyers don’t want to hear it. Sellers must give buyers an opportunity to talk. There must be a give and take.
Our analysis found across all calls, top performers have an average of 52.9 conversation switches, while the rest of the team has 34.5 switches. That means top performers have 54% more conversation switches.
When giving presentations, top performers make an average of 81.5 conversation switches, while the rest of the team makes only 45.7—meaning that top performers make 78% more conversation switches during their presentations.
This data shows that top performers have a dramatically more “back-and-forth” during conversations with prospects, avoiding monologues and engaging prospects to speak far more often than everyone else.
2. Speak Slowly
Think about the last great presentation that you saw. The person was probably relaxed, moved forward in a slow but steady cadence, kept attendees’ attention, and invited participation. You likely left it wanting to learn more.
Now think of the worst one you’ve seen. The presenter was probably anxious, talked quickly, and lacked focus—jumping from one topic to the next and back again. And you probably couldn’t wait for it to be over.
Our analysis of sales calls supports those feelings you had. Top performers speak slower than other sales reps. Even more interesting, prospects also speak slower when talking with top performers.
Top performers speak at an average of 171 words per minute, while the rest of the team speaks at an average of 182 words per minute—about 6.5% faster.
Looking at prospects’ speaking cadence, top performers’ prospects speak at only 174 words per minute, while prospects who speak with lower performers speak at 198 words per minute. That’s a difference of 14%.
This data suggests that prospects who talk to lower-performing reps may feel more impatient, or in a rush to just get through the conversation. Top-performing reps, on the other hand, are more likely to put prospects at ease, make them feel comfortable, and slow down the conversation.
3. Focus on Solutions, not Features
When you have a great, feature-packed product, your sales reps are tempted to describe everything the product does. They must resist the urge to take over discovery calls with talk about every bell and whistle. Top-performing sellers understand this.
In discovery calls, top performers discuss product features about 9% of the time, while the rest of the team talks about product features 18% of the time. This means that the rest of the team is talking about product features twice as much during discovery as top performers are.
In presentations, top performers discuss features 19% of the time, while the rest of the team talks about features 31% of the time. This means that the rest of the team talks about product features 63% more than top performers do during presentations.
Instead of talking about features, top performers focus on solutions. They identify the prospect’s high-level challenges and explain how their product solves them.
Empower Your Sales Team
If our analysis of sales calls revealed this much information about sales call practices, imagine what conversation intelligence can uncover about your sales reps. Are they staying on message? Do they engage prospects during the calls? Are they asking the right questions?
Plus, the tool empowers your sales managers to provide more strategic coaching advice, knowing they have data to prove where sellers are struggling and where they are excelling.
For sales reps, the best part may be that they can practice calls and receive coaching wherever they are and in the privacy of their own workspace. They won’t have 24 faces watching and listening to them–and judging them–like we did in elementary school.
Download the Sales Call Research Report to learn what top-performing sales reps say and do differently during sales calls.