The Conversation Patterns of Winning Sales Calls

It seems like you put endless amounts of time and energy into generating leads. But to what effect? Too many of them turn into dead ends.

It’s not surprising that you’re frustrated. Your leads should be converting at higher rates. And while you’re upset that your company’s salespeople aren’t squeezing the most out of each lead, they’re complaining about quality.

Perhaps your reps are working hard, but they simply don’t know enough about the science of sales conversations. What works? What fails?

Thankfully, because of Big Data, the answers to these questions are becoming clearer. It’s revealing the secrets of top performing sales reps. In fact, the self-learning conversation analytics engine Gong has analyzed hundreds of thousands of sales calls to determine how calls that convert differ from average calls.

Here are some of the fun facts they discovered:

  1. Talk Less

    “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said Epictetus, a Greek philosopher. While the best ratio of talking to listening isn’t quite two to one, Epictetus wasn’t far wrong. Today, artificial intelligence reveals that the ratio that leads to the highest conversion rates is 43% talking to 57% listening.

    So much for the garrulous salesperson — the average rep who speaks 65 to 75% of the time. Sales professionals who use their ears more than their mouth leave these reps by the wayside. Using the perfect 43 to 57% mix increases conversion rates by 11%.
    Imagine the revenue boost you’d receive if your business closed 11% more sales opportunities.

  2. Deliver an Elevator Pitch

    While salespeople are comfortable talking about their companies, there can be too much of a good thing. When company overviews go beyond two minutes, there is a rapid decline in the probability that the sales process will move to the next step. So salespeople need to practice distilling background on your company into two minutes or less.

  3. Competitor Mentions Are Good

    It might seem like it would be better if there were no competition for your offering. Reps probably don’t want buyers to bring up competitors. But here’s a little surprise. They are more likely to close the sale if a prospect talks about your competition early in the sales cycle.

    Perhaps when a prospect mentions a competitor, it shows a better understanding of the market and alternative solutions. That means the individual has a high level of interest and enables reps to demonstrate why the buyer would be better off choosing your product.

  4. Language Matters

    There are some linguistic cues of which you may not be aware. For instance, if you ask about the buyer’s timeline, they might use the word “probably” in their response. For example, they could say, “We probably need to implement a solution in the next three months.”

    While “probably” is a word that could easily slip by you, Gong’s research shows prospects who use it have an increased forecast accuracy of 73% over those who don’t.

    On the other hand, if prospects say that they need to “figure out (fill in the blank) first,” the likeliness of them provide a forecast that’s correct is below average.

  5. Risk Reduction

    Reducing risk or the perception of it can substantially increase conversion rates. Reps who talk about the lack of contracts or the ability to cancel at any time are 32% more likely to make the sale.

  6. Talking Price

    When reps talk about price and how often they do so, affects results. The best reps wait until they’ve been involved in a discussion for 40 minutes to start chatting about costs. On the other hand, average reps normally start this discussion less than 20 minutes into the call.
    Perhaps if reps bring up pricing before they’ve fully established the value of the solution or product, the cost/benefit equation fails to balance in the buyer’s mind.

    It’s less surprising that high-converting calls include 3 to 4 questions or mentions of price. After all, salespeople have long recognized buyers’ questions about price as a buying signal.

The Science of Winning Sales Conversations
The Science of Winning Sales Conversations” by

Now that you know some proven secrets for sales success, it’s time to put them to use. Make sure your reps listen more than they talk, keep their sales overview to two minutes or less, listen to mentions of competitors and the magic word “probably,” use phrases that reduce the perception of risk and wait 40 minutes before bringing up pricing issues.