It’s a fact – the best salespeople in the world, in any industry, don’t remain that way by resting on their laurels. One of the things we credit to our success in the speaking industry – and the success of our clients – is a process for self-review and continuous improvement.
While there are many techniques for doing this in all areas of life, this is a column about speaker sales, so let’s go over exactly what we do to review our sales calls and ensure each one is better than the last.
Why Review Our Sales Calls?
If you know you’re pretty sharp on the phone and your sales numbers look great, why would you still take the time to review your calls? What if you’re brand new to the game and have never picked up the phone and tried to get someone to buy your talk – what’s the value in reviewing a call when you’re brand new?
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The answer is the same for both situations: Without hearing yourself and matching what you hear against a plan, you’ll never know if you could have done better.
We’ve tracked the results of more than 5,000 sales calls on behalf of speakers at Speaker Sales Systems, and have learned there are key things to listen for on every call so we know if we’re moving the conversation toward a sale.
Call Recording Technology
While we’ve upgraded to VOIP call recording software, in the early days I would just record my end of the call on my cell phone. Later, I found apps that would record both sides. Whichever method you use, get your voice on a recording so you can listen to your questions, tone and cadence.
When To Review?
We’ve learned over the years that if we don’t block time to review our calls, it doesn’t happen. If you only have a few calls to review over the entire week, then knock them out in a single sitting. However, if you’re implementing what we’re teaching, you likely have dozens of calls going out each week.
To scale this process, label your best/worst calls each day and tee those up for review. That will cut down your overall call reviews to a manageable number.
Once you have your recording tech set up and time on your calendar, here’s what to run through your post-call checklist:
1. Did I Hit My Call Objective?
If you’re picking up the phone to have a wonderful conversation, call a friend. If you’re picking up the phone to generate revenue for your speaking business, then you better have a plan – and that starts with a call objective. What, at a minimum, will you try and accomplish?
If we look at the ultimate purpose of any sales outreach in our industry – to submit a proposal for a speaking engagement – what is the one thing we need to know before sending it?
The Decision Maker.
Without knowing who that person is, we won’t know what challenges they’re trying to solve, what their budget is, when they’re selecting speakers and what they’ll need to make that selection. All those are secondary objectives that we also try and achieve through the phone, but they’re contingent upon talking to the person who has that information.
So the first thing to listen for when reviewing your calls: Did I ask/discover who’s making the decisions on speakers?
2. Did I Discover The Challenges/Solutions This Event Is Focused On?
If you’re asking someone to turn over thousands of dollars for an hour of your time, you’d better bring a specific, tailored solution to the table. The days of someone calling a decision to offer a ‘motivational speech’ are over. We’ve addressed the value of a value proposition before, but having a list of benefits is useless if your decision maker doesn’t understand how those benefits apply to them/their audience.
That’s why the second thing we listen for on call recordings is whether we discovered the challenges/solutions the event is focused on. Once we know those, we can match one of the dozens of benefits our talk provides to that exact solution or challenge the event is focused on, and can ask for the next step in our sales process (whether that’s a proposal, more conversation, etc.)
3. Did I Keep The Ball Of Communication In My Court?
Finally, we need to ensure we’re taking the initiative on the next form of outreach. Too often speakers hear, “We’ll get back to you if we’re interested,’ and let the conversation end there.
It never has to.
To ensure that we maintain the ball of communication in our courts, we ensure we get a decision-making deadline from the decision maker so we know when to reach out again with a concentrated campaign to get a sales conversation and proposal issued. At the very least, create a follow-up task to check in with the decision maker as the next step in your sales campaign.
Bonus For Podcast Listeners: We covered how to ask about budget and tailoring the next step of the conversation and getting follow-up steps in place in the podcast this article was based on. To listen, click here.
Do This Now:
-Record your calls. This process is the only reliable way to self-review and improve your sales calls.
-Review for your objectives. Did you find the decision maker, discover challenges and confirm your next point of outreach?
-Make a plan for improvement. Update your own call script/question outline and ensure it’s used during your calls.
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