Sales quote: “Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.”
Recently, we have seen more and more sales organizations employ a practice formerly used only in training new sales reps. Joint sales calls have become more of an ongoing practice and not just part of training for the rookies.
Sometimes referred to as “call shadowing” making a joint call with another sale rep provides the opportunity for veterans to improve their own messaging and delivery. Furthermore, it allows them to share techniques, learn new strategies, and critique their peers.
We find reps become isolated in their practice. It is even more evident for remote salespeople. The weekly call in, or quarterly sales meeting is often consumed with product enhancement and corporate policy changes and less with effective sales training.
Many salespeople have become so accustomed to their presentation and sales process that they are using outdated information, terminology abandoned ten years ago, or using inappropriate or annoying language. Sales managers often allow joint calls to fall to bottom of their coaching priority list because they are time consuming and sometimes intimidating.
Here’s an idea
Encourage experienced reps to make joint calls. If you have several reps working out of the same office it’s easy to plan a day of joint calls. Split up the day, or week with alternating calls on one another’s customers. It takes a bit more planning with far flung national sales organizations, but nonetheless worth the effort. A byproduct is increased team building and camaraderie.
The shadowing rep is strictly the observer. Physical positioning is important. Move yourself out of direct eye contact with the customer. Take copious notes. Not only listen to your colleague, but watch his body language, look for annoying habits, listen for overused phrases or jargon. After the sales call, don’t leave the customer’s parking lot without the critique. Make it constructive and have some fun with it. Be brutally honest, but remember, your objective is to improve one another’s process.
Remember your phone skills too
Leaving the same voicemail time after time is not only boring it sometimes becomes unintelligible. You leave your call back number so quickly no one will remember it. Pretty soon you sound like a “robo call” and don’t even know it. Ask a team member to listen in, ask for feedback and suggestions for improvement.
A tip for sales managers
Take a step back and acknowledge the beauty of your reps learning from one another! If joint sales calls are not already an existing practice within your organization; give it a try. It makes your job easier too.