Part of my daily duties as Director of Client Operations involves coaching my team on their outbound activities. As much as they enjoy the experience (wink-wink) I find it gives me the ability to learn a few things as well as teach and train my reps.Sales Coaching, Inside Sales, 8 16 Craig

During a call training session a few weeks ago it occurred to me that, while I want to believe there is a perfect road map to follow while navigating organizations, we rarely end up following the same exact path in getting there. Every call generally tends to be a unique experience. As a result, I have always been a big proponent of allowing our BDRs to put their own unique spin that is more conducive with their style… as long as they produce of course. Since every experience is different with each dial, we need to encourage our reps to adapt an approach that works best for them.

One of the challenges I face when managing my team is my expectation that reps should doing things exactly how I would prefer it to be done. Though I love the idea of providing my team the freedom to attack a cold calling suspect their own way, there are times when I can’t help but feel they need to fall in-line with my suggestions in order to be successful. I’ll bite my tongue during a training session to not disrupt the flow of my reps calls and what I’ll soon discover is their approach gets them the answer they’re looking for. I may not have done it their way, but they got the same result with a different approach.  That being said, I like when I’m proven wrong.

I came across a great example of this yesterday when call training with one of my reps. The rep was provided a contact on her list to ask for within a company, but rather than ask for the person, she asked to speak to the person who would oversee her target department. My knee jerk reaction was that it doesn’t hurt to ask for the most appropriate person to speak with regarding the solution, but do you automatically put yourself at a disadvantage because you’re clearly waiving the ” this is a cold call” flag?

The general response we hear from the receptionist is “we’re not allowed to give out a name” or ” is this a sales call?”  Obviously that’s not the answer we may have been hoping for, but my rep turned it around by saying “I have Mr. Contact here as the person that would oversee that group. Is this accurate?” Normally you would hear yes, no or I don’t know as a response. In this particular case we were told no, you would need to speak to Mr. Other Contact.

Well, I suppose I learned something in this case. I was fearful that if we didn’t lead in with a person to speak with, we would be shut down with this approach. The way she handled it was amazing; she saved herself the time of reaching out to a person who has no involvement in making decisions around what she was calling about. Not only that, by leading in with that initial question she was met with no resistance and we were given a name to speak with right away, one that wasn’t on our list to call.

I guess the point is you can teach old dogs new tricks. I was convinced asking a question like that would get her shut down immediately; little did I know there was another approach that worked for her.