For the last 10 months, every Friday for 90 minutes I’ve been coached, and, in this post, I’ll share with you the impact it’s had on me with real data.
Every Friday starts the same, I get up a little earlier than normal and head to my local coffee house where I meet with our CEO, Kevin who’s already been there for the past 30 minutes reviewing and coaching a recent recording of a discovery call or demo of mine.
First things first, we get the coffees in and we take 10 minutes or so to catch up. This is my time to share a quick pipeline review, ask for advice on a deal that may have stalled and so forth. We then dive into Refract and go through a recent recording Kevin has coached.
Whilst listening back to the call or demo Kevin shares with me thoughts and its normally a mix of praise and constructive criticism. I’m also ‘challenged’ to consider other actions I could have taken with the prospect such as an alternative question I could have asked, a better answer to an objection or how a change of phrase would have had a bigger impact etc this is a mix of discussion and role play.
I personally find the sessions really helpful and try to put into practice what I’ve learnt in future engagements. I’m now going to show you my Insights (generated automatically by Refract) pre and post coaching.
Since my first coaching session, you can see the following across my discovery calls…
- Talk vs listening: On average I used to speak for 50.6% of the conversation, 10 months later my listening % has increased on average by 9.6%
- Switches: (a switch is when the conversation flips back and forth with my prospect. Using AI and Machine Learning Refract analyses the words and phrases, the patterns and inclination at the end of a sentence, from this we can see the levels of engagement) Originally there was an average 41.8 switches per Discovery Call, it’s now 51.5 – 10 switches more, on average – an increase of 23%
- Talking segments: – my longest period of talking without interruption was, on average 1 minute 52 seconds and now 1 minute 27 seconds. This decrease of 25 seconds less, which may not sound like much but count to 25 seconds now…
- Speed and Pace: this is one of the stats I’m trying to work on, statistically I am the fastest talker at Refract and pre-coaching I spoke, on average at 178 per minute and now 168.8, not a great improvement but it’s down 5.5% on average.
- Questions asked: I now ask an additional question per discovery call, this isn’t a massive change but when you look how I spread them out across the engagement it looks much better
Splitting calls into 4 quarters you can see I now spread my questions across the call with q2 and q3 of the call seeing the biggest impact.
Q1 4.8 | 5.3
Q2 4.9 | 6.0
Q3 4.9 | 5.3
Q4 6.2 | 5.4
Filler terms – every rep has them, it’s good to be aware of them. My filler terms haven’t changed a great deal but I have eradicated some bad ones such as ‘In truth’, ‘honestly’ and ‘maybe’
Across my sales demo’s my talk vs listening % is down from 74.5% to 51.7% - that means when demoing our conversation intelligence platform I’m talking 30% less – that’s loads!
Switches was 117 now 221.4 – the level of engagement is up by 89%
Speed and Pace: On average it was 194.3 words per minute and now 189.8 – down just over 2% - note to self, more work to be done here!
Questions asked: Was on average 22 per demo and now I ask 29 questions on average – this is an increase of 32%. Below shows how I spread those 7 questions across my demo
Q1: 6.0 – 7.1
Q2: 4.0 – 6.5 over 60% more questions in q2
Q3: 3.0 – 7.8 over double
Q4. 9.0 – 7.5
I use more key terms in my demo too
"Suggest", "Proposal", and "Contract" all appearing on average once per demo – now I’m asking who signs the order form and asking for that next step. I’ve also removed honest from my sales demo game!
Conclusion – Does Sales Coaching Work?
When looking at the data, automatically generated by Refract it’s clear to see the following.
- I’m now listening to my prospects more than I speak
- My discovery calls and demo’s are more engaging for my prospects with more switches and questions being asked
- My questions are spread across the call/ demo rather than at the start and end.
- Speed and pace – work to be done.
- I’ve removed filler terms that potentially harm the deal from my vocabulary
- I ask for the sale more consistently, mentioning key words as suggest, proposal, contract, sign and order form too.
My sales demos have definitely improved the most and my pipeline and deals won have seen the rewards.
In my experience coaching has had a massive impact on how I engage with my prospects and present Refract’s coaching technology as a solution to help them in turn coach and develop their reps to have better conversations.