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Is the old saying “practice makes perfect” just a tired cliché? Or does practicing something really make it easier and more effective? In most cases, practice is the magic ingredient to success, especially when talking and interacting with others.
Take sales calls, for example. Your salespeople need to come across as knowledgeable about the subject and the solutions they present and do so with an air of authority and confidence. An easy way to do this is through good, old-fashioned practice.
When it comes to any task, the more practice someone gets in, the better they become. This is true for sports, theater, music, and public speaking. The same goes for sales calls. By practicing, your salespeople ensure that they:
And while some people hate practicing as opposed to actually doing the task, there is a method to the madness. By practicing, your salespeople make it easier to complete a call and get across the points they want to make, and, most importantly, make the sale!
When practicing for a sales call, these simple practice exercises will help your salespeople get ready for the “big call.” Have them try each of these:
1. Practice sales with voice memos
Salespeople can use voice memos on their phones to practice a voicemail before leaving it. They should also listen back at the practice voicemail to ensure it sets the right tone and gets their point across.
2. Record a video conference
Record a Zoom/Teams/WebEx/Google Meet…or other popular video conferencing software call with themselves and then watch it back.
3. Record on webcam
Record themselves on their webcam (i.e., locally) and watch it, or send it to their manager for feedback.
4. Visualize the sales call
Visualize the call in their head. Not only does visualization help a salesperson to practice for success, but it can also help them build confidence in their sales pitch.
5. Practice sales training with Second Nature
Salespeople can practice using AI sales training software like Second Nature, which allows sales practice anytime, anywhere, and, unlike the other methods, gives feedback to help your reps improve.
In some cases, your salespeople might need a little motivation to practice their sales calls in between their actual sales calls. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to encourage practicing, including doing internal competitions at your company, such as putting stars on a virtual wall (just like kids in elementary school get for reading a new book).
Make sure to tie the sales practice to something they do every day already, such as when driving to work, they can create a voice memo while at a stop light (be sure to use your hands-free to stay safe!).
If your salespeople are working in the company offices, you can set a camera on a tripod in the kitchenette so they can do a quick recording after their morning coffee. It’s also easy to run wide-scale practice competitions within Second Nature, which your salespeople can do from their desks in any location.
You can also do things like handing out “best practice” awards each month or other public displays of approval.
Another option, as opposed to engaging in practice alone, is to work with other people while practicing. This can include a fellow salesperson, a friend, or even a spouse or child. Your salespeople can swap roleplay sales training sessions with their coworkers to help ensure that everyone gets in the sales practice that they need.
Practicing can also help your salespeople develop good habits. By practicing the same thing over and over again, the structure of their calls becomes “muscle memory.” This can help ensure when they do encounter a certain scenario, they instantly fall back on what they have already learned and practiced to handle the situation.
It is important, though, that your salespeople avoid developing bad habits while practicing. Once learned, these habits can be hard to unlearn and get away from. Specific bad habits include:
Working with another person or with Second Nature’s Jenny, who gives feedback, can help prevent bad habits from forming.
Practicing a sales conversation is about more than just making a perfect call. It also involves your salespeople knowing what to say and when to say it. For example, while your salespeople want to present your company’s solution as more viable than the competition, they want to do so without badmouthing the competition.
For this, a salesperson needs finesse. While some salespeople seem to have finesse naturally, others must learn it like any other skill. And even though this skill can be hard to come by, one way of doing so is through lots of practice.
As you can see, practice does make for a successful salesperson. It allows your salespeople to develop a sales pitch and determine the techniques they want to use before they ever make a call. Most importantly, it allows your sellers to go into calls with poise and expertise.
The importance of being well-informed, listening to the customer’s needs and meeting those needs, and knowing how to explain the differences between your solution and the competition’s during a call can literally mean the difference between making a sale or not. Practicing each of these things is crucial. It’s that simple.
With our AI sales coach — Jenny — your salespeople can easily practice their sales calls. Your sales reps can work with Jenny whenever they want to practice every type of sales call – discovery, presentations, negotiation, and more. Practicing with Jenny helps them develop a sales approach for each of their sales prospects.
With the practice calls recorded and analyzed automatically, your reps can use the call simulations with Jenny to improve on their own, allowing them to shine where it counts, on the actual sales call.
Second Nature can also alert your sales rep’s manager to trouble areas so that they can work one-on-one with their salespeople to help them come up with the perfect sales pitches.
How can I improve my sales skills?
The best way to improve your sales skills is simply by practicing selling. Like any muscle, your selling muscles get stronger the more you work them.
It’s also important to read your sales materials so that you know everything about your company’s solution, and many people find it helpful to watch a video of a top seller conducting an excellent sales call.
How can I practice sales by myself?
If you can’t find a practice partner, you can practice sales by yourself by recording your sales pitch as a voice memo, practicing with a webcam, or simply visualizing the conversation with the prospect.
But the best way to practice by yourself and still get feedback is to use Second Nature’s AI-powered role-play partners, who let you practice listening skills, discovery conversations, and objection handling as well as sales pitches.
Can sales skills be learned?
Yes! Very few salespeople are naturally excellent sellers. Most of them learn how to succeed at selling by rehearsing their listening skills, objection-handling capabilities, and sales pitches until they feel confident and fluent. The more you practice, the better your sales skills will become.
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