Sales Conference Call: How Can You Make It Work?
If you’ve noticed the best salespeople, they are most comfortable having a one-on-one conversation with someone face-to-face. They use body language to establish rapport, they read their clients, listen intently to them and lead the conversation to the results they’d like.
Put them on a sales conference call, things are going to get harder. First off, they’re going to have to listen more and talk less. Moreover, on a conference call there is always a hesitation around providing opinions. They can also get very chaotic especially if there are too many people talking at the same time. Additionally, disturbances over the phone line, poor Internet connectivity or just too much noise at someone’s end only make matters worse.
A good conference call with the sales team requires a good amount of preparation both at everyone’s end. If a sales update is happening, the sales team needs to be prepared with all their numbers. They should have preferably already shared the necessary information with the management so that they can ask the right questions and make plans for the upcoming week(s).
Tips on how to have a great sales conference call
In general, these are some pointers that can help have a productive and hassle-free sales conference call.
Be well prepared and have an agenda
Most sales teams are out of the office travelling. So, a thoughtful thing to do would be to give them an agenda well before time so that they get time to prepare. An agenda can help set the pace of the conference call and keep it within the confines of those topics instead of meandering to irrelevant discussions. It can also help make participants more active.
When setting out the agenda, assign one task to each participant and ensure that they take complete ownership of it. This will ensure that they aren’t just passive listeners but actively participate on the call, listen attentively and contribute with their own ideas.
Don’t wait and start on a high
If you’re having a dial-in conference call and are waiting for some people to dial-into the meeting, don’t. You could have an extension of about five minutes but anything longer does not solicit any waiting. To energize the existing callers, start off by asking them questions that get them thinking. Some examples are
“Who was the toughest nut to crack this week?”
“Whom did you think knew more about sales than you did?”
It could be anything. The idea is to activate the cognitive function of their brain so that they can concentrate during the call. And this could be tried with different teams, not specifically sales.
Start off with some ground rules
A conference call needs an agenda but to ensure that the items and tasks on the agenda are addressed, one needs to set some ground rules. Make sure that everybody introduces themselves before they speak. Another rule you could have is that everybody needs to mute themselves unless they’re speaking. If you use grptalk, you can make use of the ‘mute dial’ feature so that everybody is muted while on call. The host can then decide whom to unmute depending on who is speaking.
Appreciate the ones who bring in the results
Put aside some time for those guys who really brought in the results. As we all know, sales can be highly competitive and pressurizing. So, constantly encouraging your people and acknowledging their hard work, performance and achievements can go a long way in pushing them to do better. Every month, you could also hand out prizes like gift cards.
Don’t let the conversation die or slide into other subject matters
As the host, you must always keep track of what is being discussed. If you don’t take initiative, things can go out of control very easily. Here are some instances where you could pitch in.
- If two or more speakers are going at the same time, politely intervene and let them know that only one speaker can be heard at one time and let them go one after the other.
- If someone is unmuted and has too much noise at their end, identify the source and cut it. Either ask them to mute themselves, or fix the noise or both.
- Don’t let conversations continue for too long. Set a time limit for each topic so that people stay within course.
- Once someone is discussing a problem, thank them for sharing it, and ask the others whether they are experiencing the same issue and assure them it will be looked into either right away or in the near future.
Keep a recording of the call
Sales teams are scattered and getting every one of them on the call can be tough. So, a recording of the call, when shared with the rest of the team, is going to be very helpful to them in keeping abreast of new updates. In grptalk, you, as a host, get to record your whole conference call and download it for later reference. No hassles, no confusions, and more importantly, no lost conversations.
Follow up with a short email
Like any other conference call, it is always good practice to send a follow up email with details of the call around 48 hours later. In the email, also list out the various action items that were laid out and who has been assigned to each of them. State a deadline for each participant to provide an update and keep them informed of a tentative if not a certain time for the next call.
Since most sales teams are scattered, remote conferences are pretty much the only way you can reach out to them. While it may seem very hard, a good sales conference call is in your hands. Being able to lead the course of the call and engage everyone is sufficient for you to have a great call. Get better at it and you will notice how much better the sales guys are doing.