Sales Calls – Focus Your Efforts to Achieve the Right Outcomes

Sales reps with potential

Peter was busy toiling away as a salesperson in a large corporation. He claimed he was working hard, but his sales numbers were below average. Peter’s manager asked me if I would coach him. She explained that she did not get to spend much time training her salespeople, but she thought Peter had a lot of potential.

Tracking sales results

I asked Peter some questions about how he was logging his sales calls. Peter sheepishly admitted that he was not keeping data on his calls at all. He did not know how many calls he made per week, what percentage led to sales, or how long his sales cycle was. This was a big problem! If you do not know how you are doing, how can you measure improvement?

When we started tracking his numbers, I realized that Peter’s sales call volume was way too low. His closure rate on quotes was also significantly below average. Peter was not calling on enough key decision makers, so most of his calls went nowhere.

Develop a customized plan-of-action

Together we set some goals for Peter.

  • He was to increase the number of calls he made per week by 20%.
  • He was also to do online research prior to a call so he made sure he was talking to a decision maker.
  • I provided him with a list of good, open-ended questions that he could use during calls.

As a result, his closure rate soared from 10% to 40%!

When you want to improve your performance (or the performance of your sales team), the first step to take is to track how well you are currently performing.  This means you need to know:

  1. How many calls you make each week
  2. How many of those calls ultimately result in appointments
  3. How many appointments lead to quotes
  4. How many quotes lead to a sale
  5. How long it takes from initial contact to close of contract

Once you have these results and calculations, you can analyze you or your team’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, if you’re only closing 10% of your quotes, this means you are most likely either:

  • Not calling on the right person
  • Not asking the right questions
  • Not qualifying the right opportunities

This now gives you an opportunity to focus on the sales behavior that needs improvement.  Do this and the results will follow. Without this analysis, a salesperson can spend years spinning their wheels, working hard but not getting ahead.

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Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).