Normally, when a manager attends a joint sales call, it is at the time of the capabilities presentation or closing presentation. Though attending these meetings can be helpful, they do little to help sales people close more business that late in the process. That is like coaching a baseball team by showing up in the final inning instead of watching the entire game. As sales manager, you may know the outcome based on the data, but you will not know how the game developed. Knowing how the sale develops is essential to effective coaching. This is why observing sales people in action is so important.
Here are 4 steps to help you and your sales people have more effective joint calls.
1. A Quality Phone Call – Remember, the quality of the phone call will determine the quality of the appointment. Your sales person must follow the 8-Step Phone Process to make sure that the joint call is taking place with a qualified prospect versus a practice call.
2. Conduct a Pre-Call Session. In pre-call sessions,
- sales people make sure they are prepared to execute their sales approach effectively
- The sales manager and sales person role-play the appointment
- Everyone agrees to and identifies who will do what during the sales call
3. Identify the Reason for a Joint Call – If it is for learning purposes, then the sales manager has a very small part in the call. If it is for qualifying or closing a large account, then the role of the sales manager can be more prominent.
4. Do a Post Call Debrief – This is an opportunity to help sales people recognize opportunities that they missed, questions they could have asked better and commitments they failed to gain. First, ask the sales person how he/she thought the call went. Listen and take notes. Compare their comments with your own observations. From there, share your insights about the sales person’s performance. Then schedule a one-on-one meeting to outline specific next steps and to develop an action plan that will address the “choke points” that were demonstrated.
A few tips for the sales coach. First, schedule these calls with your sales people. Do not wait for them to schedule. Be proactive and select the calls to join. Secondly, observe the sales person during the call. Be present during different stages of the process so you know how the sales person opens, nurtures and closes a sale. Always do a pre-call before the meeting so that the sales person is prepared and so that later you can listen and absorb what is happening on the call. Make sure that the sales person is prepared to conduct the perfect sales meeting because you are there to observe. During a joint call, the coach’s role is defined as supportive, not as main character. This means that when you are on a joint call, you must let the sales professional run the meeting and make mistakes so that he/she will learn. If you “rescue”, this will not happen.
That being said, you probably wouldn’t let a sales person blow the sale of a lifetime. However, you should not ask a critical question that the sales person has neglected to ask. If you think you must assist, address the sales person with a question. As an example, if the sales person has forgotten to get clarity on the decision-making process, you should ask him/her about it. This would sound something like – “Mary, I must have missed this in the conversation – what is the decision-making process?”