Sales Training Article: Signs of a Bad Call and Sales Tips for Call Debriefing

By John Holland, Chief Content Officer, CustomerCentric Selling® – The Sales Training Company

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After being promoted to sales management I got to ask rather than answer the question: “How did your call with ABC go?” From my new perspective I quickly recognized signs that indicated that sellers had not made great calls:

  • Pauses or stammering before answering
  • Limited or no eye contact
  • Sharing irrelevant information
  • A lot of talking

Have you ever notice debriefing good calls takes far less time?

Before forecasting opportunities I’d ask a series of qualifying questions. The same conclusions applied, but I added one. If sellers could sell as well to buyers as they were selling me on how good bad opportunities were, they’d be top performers.

Sellers with thin pipelines want managers to believe the numbers will happen. Their forecasts are roll-ups from their staff, so sales managers want to believe. Looking back it would have been better for everyone if I used the following debriefing questions:

  • What is the highest title within the organization that you’ve called on?
  • What business outcome(s) are important to this buyer?
  • Why can’t the outcome(s) be achieved today without our offering?
  • What capabilities can you provide to allow outcomes to be achieved?
  • What is the value of achieving the outcome(s)?
  • What other titles will be involved in making a buying decision?
  • Can/will this contact be a champion in providing access to other titles?

Taking it a step further, if those questions could be answered it would have been helpful for sellers to imbed them in correspondence to the potential champion. As a manager I could then measure progress by buyer actions (getting access to the titles requested), a far more accurate gauge than asking sellers their biased opinions.


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