Living in the Land of Ahs

Posted by Mike Carroll on Sun, Sep 15, 2019 @ 13:09 PM

One of the things that absolutely destroys sales is when the buyer perceives a lack of confidence in the sales person. If the sales person isn't able to effectively transfer emotion and communicate their ideas in clear, crisp, concise language, if they same hesitant, if they appear to lack confidence, it absolutely undermines that sales person's credibility in the buyer’s mind.

One of the areas where sales people are often lacking in the way they communicate, whether it's in a presentation, on an initial phone call, or in a meeting, is when they use filler terms like ahs and ums. Those are just little comfort things that, wsWeCWNlwhile a salesperson is gathering their thoughts, they may not even realize what they're doing. It really muddies the waters and undermines a buyer's confidence in that sales person. They think, "Does this guy really know what he's talking about? He seems to be unsure." They press their advantage. They'll continue to ask tough questions and put your sales people in a corner. That erodes their confidence even more, and then it just spirals down.

The challenge is sales leaders are not always on the sales call with salespeople. We don't always hear or see them present. One of the tools that we've added to our arsenal at Intelligent Conversations is a very powerful platform from a company called Refract. We're deploying this across all of our clients, because it's giving us the ability to actually listen to live sales calls or to issue a video challenge to everyone on the sales team and say, "How would you handle this price objection?", or "Let's hear how you position your product or service." We get all sorts of great insight into pace of speech. We can listen to tonality. We can hear the quality of their content.

It's amazing how when people who sell every day have to get in front of a video camera, and then say what they say in front of customers all day long, seize up a little bit. You hear a lot of these filler “ahs” and “ums” coming out. You hear the hesitancy in their voice. You hear them get nervous as they talk about something they're just learning. The more you can incorporate tools, whether it's observational coaching where you have managers riding along, or whether it's using tools like Refract, you need to get that feedback loop.

Now, a note about observational coaching. One of the things to keep in mind is, when a sales leader is going along on a ride along call, it's not the normal call. The sales person's behavior changes. Frankly, sometimes the prospect's behavior changes knowing there's a manager in the room. You have to be mindful of that and factor it in. It's the Heisenberg Principle. A physicist, Warner Heisenberg, basically summarized that the mere fact that you're observing something changes the outcome. When sales managers are riding along, they're not seeing sales people in their natural state. They may not see the whole picture.

It's amazing, when sales people get to listen to themselves doing a cold call or when they hear themselves back on a recorded scenario challenge. It's a really powerful to go back, listen, and ask, "Am I using filler words? Am I hesitating when I shouldn't be? Is there anything I can do to improve my tonality, tighten up my messaging, or pause a little bit to allow time for the prospect to think?" All of these things factor into the buyer's perception of your sales people. A buyer's more likely to move forward, or at least move to the next step, if they perceive your sales person as highly confident, highly competent, and speaking with authority. Hesitation, ahs, ums, and pauses that are inappropriate can undermine that sales person's authority and will absolutely cost you sales.

If you're looking for ways to raise your sales team's performance and drive remarkable revenue growth, please reach us at Intelligent Conversations!  Whether it's one-on-one coaching with a certified Intelligent Conversations Coach or a full program leveraging platforms like refract, please take a moment to complete the form below and we will be in contact.  Thank you!

Topics: Coaching, sales mistakes, sales improvement, high performers, sales techniques, Sales Training