You may not be a golfer, but you know an awkward swing when you see one. You’ve probably never acted in a movie, but you can easily spot bad acting.
If you think recording yourself in sales character is weird, or narcissistic, get over it. It’s the best way to prepare to excel in the moment during customer conversations. And, it can even serve as the foundation of a training approach that, through a system of expert coaching and feedback, turns observable practice into demonstrated proficiency.
You Sound Different Than You Think
When it comes to customer conversations, and nimbly navigating the twists and turns that can unexpectedly arise, it’s all about repetition. Most people inherently know this. Few sellers actually live it.
Musicians have long known you sound different than you think. Playing an instrument, like selling, is so difficult in itself that listening objectively to the chords you’re playing or the melody you’re singing often takes a back seat.
When you record yourself, you can experience the conversation from the perspective that matters most—your customer’s. Do you periodically pause to allow your customer to participate? Does your narrative speak to them, or about you? How expressive is your body language or vocal tonality? Are you correctly articulating and emphasizing the most critical junctures in your story?
Most importantly, ‘Would you buy from you?’
How Fluency Coaching Works
Consistent with an evidence-driven approach to skills development, Fluency Coaching in the form of recorded practice is directly integrated into your learning plans. Here’s how it works:
Reps receive structured challenges, linked to the skill areas they’re discovering. For example, winning access to a customer executive. They simply record, then submit their response to receive individualized coaching and feedback. Within target completion dates the entire process can be completed at each rep’s convenience so as not to be disruptive to core responsibilities. That flexibility is critical today. A Corporate Visions survey found that the number one reason companies struggle to train as many reps as they want is a reluctance among sales managers to take reps out of the field for training.
When using recordings, sellers often record multiple takes before finally submitting one they’re happy with, accomplishing the oft-elusive goal of getting reps to practice.
Video recordings offer the richest experience, but audio-only recordings are also effective for developing skills like leaving compelling voicemails. Expert consultants can then review submissions and provide a depth of seller-specific feedback that’s difficult to replicate in group training—whether in-person or virtual.
Metrics produced through Fluency Coaching can also be aligned with manager evaluations of their teams, CRM-sourced performance data, and additional assessments to build a rich view of individual and team capabilities from which to match custom learning paths and close skill gaps.
Using Recordings to Increase Sales
You can begin to incorporate the use of basic practice recordings to encourage behavior change and build skill adoption using tools as basic as mobile phones. Best practices to ensure you achieve desired outcomes include:
- Providing a good example(s) for reps to draw from and enrich their learning experience
- Creating a rubric to produce consistent scoring – and exposing it to your reps too
- Crafting challenges around actual accounts and opportunities, not case study scenarios
Rinse and Repeat
When you incorporate recorded fluency coaching into your development plans, the ancient Latin saying, Repetitio mater studiorum est, repetition is the mother of all learning, finds brand new relevance in the twenty-first century. I’m sorry, could you say that one more time?