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“Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says,
‘Make me feel important.’ Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.” – Mary Kay Ash

Saleshacker.com conducted some research on sales calls. They analyzed over a million sales calls. They “recorded, transcribed, and analyzed the calls using conversation intelligence technology to tease out both patterns of success, and failure.” Here are a few of the more compelling findings.
When salesmen talk.
Salesmen tend to talk too much. Whether it is from nervousness or enthusiasm, it is almost a proverb that salesmen talk too much. The researchers, however, have proven that they need to talk less and listen more. They found that “Top sales reps talk at most for 46% of a sales call. That means they listen for at least 54% of it. Mid-range performers talk for up to 68% of the time, and the poorest-performing reps aren’t far behind them.”
How salesmen talk
On a related note, poor salesmen do not ask enough questions.
Second, they need to ask more questions. Average salesmen ask 6.3 questions. The best salesmen tended to ask between ten and fourteen questions.
What they Talk About
It is an old saw that salesmen should  talk about value, not features, but it is as if many salesmen either have not heard this or seem to think that it is bad advice. It is great advice. According to the study, the most successful salesmen spend 52% more time talking about value than less successful salesmen.
What They Don’t Talk About
The researchers found a few additional interesting stats:

  • “The word ‘discount’ can decrease your chance of a sale by 17%.”
  • “Saying ‘absolutely’ or ‘perfect’ more than four times on a call drops your chances of a sale by 16%.”
  • “Mentioning your company’s name six or more times on a call drops your chances of success by 19%.”

What about you?
If you are in sales, think about your most recent sales calls. Did you make any of these errors? Did you talk when you should have listened, or try to get into the weeds rather than talk about value? What will you do differently in the future?