ForceManager has analysed more than 50,000 calls made or received by companies specialising in B2B sales, and with sales teams of between 10 and 50 people. The conclusion? The most effective sales calls last no more than three and a half minutes. After this point, sales drop rapidly.
Sales reps whose calls average three and a half minutes are invariably in the top 40% of sales people in their company. They are clear as to the objectives of each communication, and organise their phone time accordingly. On the flipside are sales people whose calls are longer than four minutes. Beyond this point sales capacity is limited and sales objectives are secondary.
ForceManager’s analysis also revealed that sales reps whose average sales calls last more than five minutes, sell 80% less than the most successful sales person in the company.
As Oscar Macia, ForceManager’s CEO explained, “Bad management of calls is a symptom of bad time management.” In Macia’s experience, “many sales people either make excessively short and overly direct calls, or they speak for so long they forget why they called in the first place.”
Two arguments explain poor sales call management:
1. Getting through to people who are “toxic”, or “charlatan”, who tend to have a senior profile and a conflictual attitude. According to a study on sales opportunities published by the Harvard Business Review, this type of person usually occupies an intermediary position with apparent decision-making capability. This makes them all the more “dangerous”, as they lead the sales person to falsely believe there’s a chance of a sale.
2. A huge number of sales people excessively prolong their calls. Their conversation tends to be vague, and they easily lose sight of the actual objective of the call.
3 Tips for effective sales calls
According to Macia, an expert in Spanish sales networks, there are 3 simple techniques for making calls more effective and increasing sales:
1. Be clear about the points to cover with the other person, and the ultimate objective of the call.
2. If the call becomes too long and is no longer productive, bring the conversation to a natural conclusion.
3. Identify and avoid “toxic” people who will cause your sales opportunities to plummet.
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