Last week, in Top Characteristic Number Two, I introduced the concept of scripting out the very best responses to the selling situations and objections you get into 80 to 90% of the time. I urged you to practice, drill and rehearse these responses until they become automatic.
The point here is that you are practicing the right responses.
You see, the thing about practice is that it doesn’t make perfect, as everyone has heard. Practice only makes permanent. And that’s why underperforming sales reps and sales team remain stuck in unsatisfactory results. They keep doing and saying the wrong things over and over again.
The truth is this: Only practice of perfection makes perfect.
That’s why Characteristic Number Two is so important. Only by practicing the right responses will you achieve perfection in sales. And this leads us to Number Three:
Top Characteristic Number Three: Record and critique your calls every day.
A top telemarketing sales trainer, Stan Billue, first introduced me to this concept. He said that nothing could help you double your income in 90 days faster than recording and critiquing your calls daily.
He also said that most sales reps would not be willing to do this (and he’s right). But, he said, if you are willing to do it, then you will quickly move into the Top 20% of the selling professionals in your company and industry (he was right there, too!).
By the way, all professionals record their performances and then use them to improve. Think about how much time football players spend watching game film, or dancers spend watching film of their practices and performances, or actors and directors watching a previous day’s shoot, etc.
Every professional records, critiques and gets better by analyzing and improving their performance using some kind of recording device. You need to as well.
Once I made a commitment to recording my calls, I was quickly amazed by how much I was missing, and I think you will be, too. Here are some things to be on the look-out for:
1) How well did you listen to your prospect or client? This is huge because once you begin hearing yourself on a sales call, you’ll be amazed by how much and how quickly you start talking. Often talking over your prospect.
2) Did you hear what your prospect or client was saying or did you just hear what you wanted to hear? Clients and prospects are always trying to tell us what’s important to them, but most of the time we never hear it. When you begin listening to your calls, you’ll see the need to begin using your Mute Button so you hear the buying signals – and the potential objections.
3) Did you ask all the right qualifying questions? Most sales don’t close because prospects just aren’t qualified to begin with. By listening to what questions you are missing, you’ll be able to strengthen your calls on the front end, thereby producing more qualified leads to close later on.
4) Did you follow your best practice script, or did you fall back on your old habits of ad-libbing. Following a new script is hard! Our tendency is to fall back on our old scripts and start shooting from the hip. By recording yourself, you’ll begin to hold yourself accountable.
5) When answering an objection, did you end by asking for the order or did you simply talk past the close? This is a big one as well because many sales reps are afraid of asking for the order for fear of getting more objections. But asking for the deal is crucial and must be done over and over again.
6) Did you introduce an objection by talking too much? This will give you shivers the first time you hear yourself doing it.
7) How about tie downs and trial closes? Most sales reps love to talk. It’s a bad habit because in inside sales, you have no idea what your prospect is thinking – unless you stop to ask them. By recording yourself, you’ll get an idea of how much you’re talking, and how much you’re listening.
8) Are you improving? This is big because we all need reinforcement. You need to hear yourself getting better, celebrate your improvement and see the benefits of all the work you’re doing to get better. By recording yourself, you’ll be able to do just that.
9) How is your tone, your pacing and your energy? All of these things are crucial on a call, and if you’re not objectively listening to yourself, you have no way of correcting yourself.
10) You’ll find many other ways to improve as well – ways that would never occur to the other 80%.
As you begin listening to yourself, you’ll find that it’s painful in the beginning. Nobody likes to hear the sound of their own voice, and no one likes to hear how bad they usually are. But soon you’ll be happy you did, because nothing pays off faster than practicing this crucial characteristic.
The easiest way to start is to pick a partner at work and begin listening to each other’s calls during lunch. Get a buddy and make a commitment to tearing each other apart (all in fun!), but be ruthless in your effort to get better. What you’ll find is that when you’re back on the phone, just before you go off script or talk over someone, you’ll see your buddy’s face and you’ll hit Mute to avoid making a mistake that your buddy will point out later…
As soon as you can, find a way to record and download your recordings for playback and critique. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll leapfrog over your competition!
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