A Guide to Mock Calls in Sales
October 12th, 2023
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A mock call in sales can be an extremely valuable tool for sales professionals.
More than just a training strategy, mock calls are simulations which allow professionals to run through complicated parts of the sales cycle in advance. They introduce sales reps to cold calling scripts, strategies for identifying the ideal customer, and even techniques they can use to close a deal.
In an environment as complex and competitive as sales, no rep wants to go into an important call blind. That’s why so many sales managers use mock calls to empower, and educate their teams.
Here’s everything you need to know about using mock calls for sales training.
What is a Mock Call in Sales?
A mock call in sales is essentially a simulation of a sales call, where a manager or another member of the sales teams role plays as a prospect or customer. They play through a call scenario with a sales rep, raising objections, answering questions, and evaluating the sales professional’s responses.
The mock call scenario can be used for a variety of purposes in the sales environment. Some hiring managers use mock calls in the sales interview process, to help define whether candidates have the right skills to operate as part of the existing team. Decision makers in a business environment can also use mock sales calls to evaluate existing employees.
A mock call can give a business leader an opportunity to evaluate each sales or customer service representative’s strengths and weaknesses. This paves the way for more effective training in the future, by showing leaders what skills each team member needs to work on.
Sometimes, mock calls are even used to refine calling scripts, or prepare sales professionals for particularly challenging conversations with high-value prospects.
What are the Benefits of Mock Calls in Sales?
Ultimately, mock calls in sales allow sales professionals to practice cold calling and other sales strategies in an authentic scenario. They can help managers teach sales professionals how to “close the call” with VIP customers, deliver better customer service, or handle objections during phone calls.
They can also provide sales team members with more confidence before they step out into the “real world” and start interacting with prospects directly.
Used effectively, mock calls can:
- Improve team productivity: Mock calls can familiarize sales professionals with scripts and details about your products and services, so they’re more prepared to answer common questions during various call scenarios.
- Build new skills and strategies: With mock calls, sales professionals can teach reps how to take the right approach with a customer when leaving a voicemail, responding to an objection, or simply delivering a sales pitch.
- Enhance calling scripts: During mock calls, team members can experiment with different strategies for building rapport and pitching products which could lead to the development of more effective scripts for future employees.
- Increase confidence: When sales reps have the opportunity to practice a conversation before speaking to a customer, they’re more likely to feel confident during the actual conversation. Mock calls can reduce stress, and empower teams to accomplish more.
- Track progress: Through sales mock calls, business leaders can evaluate how effective their team members are becoming at various parts of the sales process. They can determine the strengths and weaknesses, and implement new training strategies as a result.
How to do a Mock Call: Steps for Setting up a Mock Call
While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for creating a “mock call” scenario, most companies follow similar steps to ensure their teams can get the most out of the experience. Here are some of the key steps involved in designing a mock call training simulation.
Step 1: Choose a specific scenario
The first step in designing an effective mock call, is determining what the call will involve. The “scenario” you choose will likely depend on what you want to achieve with the training simulation. For instance, if you want to examine how well a sales rep adheres to a sales call script, you might test them in a run-of-the-mill cold call conversation.
You could also experiment with other common types of sales calls in the call center, such as calls where customers demand a discount or a refund, raise an objection after a sales pitch, or argue about a deal. Usually, it’s a good idea to start with relatively simple scenarios, before building up to more complex, and emotionally stressful situations.
Step 2: Give each participant a character
There are often two specific characters in a mock call: the customer or prospect, and the salesperson. Each character should have a clear understanding of the role they’re playing. This means the manager or rep acting as a customer should have a clear view of their pain points and goals, the objections they might want to raise during a conversation, and the questions they’ll need to ask.
Additionally, the sales professional should understand what their task is during the sales call, and what they’re expected to accomplish. For instance, if you’re training sales professionals on how to build rapport, they should know they’ll be evaluated on how well they develop a relationship with the customer, rather than whether they actually sell any products or services.
Step 3: Conduct the full call
For a mock call to be as effective as possible, it needs to feel realistic. This means sales leaders shouldn’t stop their reps from time to time during the conversation to offer them pointers. They also shouldn’t finish the call mid-way, before the prospect has had time to close the call, and set up a strategy for following up with the prospect.
If you’re leading a mock call experiment, make sure every call runs its course entirely, before you allow other team members to offer suggestions, or step in to provide your own feedback. It may also be helpful to ask your sales professional to evaluate how they think they did in the call scenario before you share your own insights.
Step 4: Record the call
Every mock call can provide useful insights for both business leaders and sales reps alike. However, it’s difficult to remember every nuance of a call after it happens. That’s why it’s so important to record the conversation, so sales teams and professionals can go back over each stage, and look for potential insights. A recording will make it easier to detect areas that need improvement, as well as areas where your sales rep performed really well.
Recording mock calls also means sales professionals will be able to go back through previous recordings, and monitor their progress over time. It can be motivating for team members to see how they’ve improved at handling rejections or building rapport after multiple calls.
Step 5: Introduce new mock call scenarios regularly
Don’t just conduct one mock call and assume your employees are prepared for anything. Remember that conversations in the sales landscape can come in a variety of forms and flavors.
Creating new mock call simulations for a range of different scenarios will help you to continue upskilling your teams. Use the insights you gain from every mock call, as well as your knowledge of your employees’ current strengths and weaknesses to help formulate new scenarios.
Remember, it’s worth making sure you focus on teaching one sales strategy or skill at a time, to avoid overwhelming your employees with too many different ideas at once.
Mock Call Guide: Tips for Effective Mock Calls
Mock calls are a fantastic tool for enhancing employee professional development, and improving the outcomes of your sales processes. However, you’ll need to ensure that you’re implementing these training tools strategically to unlock the best results.
Here are some quick tips to take your mock calls to the next level:
- Match the scenario to your employee’s role: Make sure the scenario covered in the mock call is relevant to the sales professional you’re training, onboarding, or evaluating. The right mock call should help your team member hone specific skills they’ll be able to use in their day-to-day sales processes, from cold calling, to pitching or prospecting.
- Make it authentic: Encourage everyone involved in the mock call scenario to act professionally, and authentically. Ask them to get into character, and stay in character throughout the entirety of the call, to make the experience as realistic as possible. This will lead to a better training experience for everyone involved.
- Remove visual cues: During most sales calls, a rep won’t be able to see the other person or respond to their body language. It can be helpful to remove visual cues from a mock call scenario too, so employees don’t become too reliant on facial expressions and body language to determine what a customer is thinking or feeling.
- Ask the salesperson to critique themselves: Before diving in with your own feedback, ask your sales professional to share what they think went well in a call, and what they struggled with. This will encourage them to assess their own abilities authentically.
- Start simple and work up to complex calls: Don’t immediately throw your new sales rep in at the deep end with a VIP call scenario. Start with something simple, like a basic cold outreach call or prospecting conversation. As their skills increase, you can start to introduce them to simulations which cover more complex topics.
Making the Most of Mock Calls
A mock call in sales can be a fantastic tool for a variety of purposes. It can help business leaders to evaluate the performance of their sales reps, and teach professionals new skills. It can also increase the confidence of your teams, and prepare them for difficult scenarios.
To learn more about how you can more effectively train your team members, or prepare for mock call evaluations yourself, join the Hard Skill Exchange today. The HSE is the ultimate resource for anyone looking to learn and grow with the help of other industry-leading sales professionals.
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