Cold calls are almost universally hated—in fact, 63% of salespeople call them the worst part of the job. Of course, sales reps have to do more than cold calling. There are follow-up calls, sales demos, calls for retaining relationships, and (especially for key accounts) calls for customer support.
Calls remain one of the most important types of touchpoints for salespeople across virtually every industry, and reckoning with the negative feelings surrounding sales calls is one of the most important hurdles that sales organizations need to make. Mock sales call exercises are a popular tool for doing precisely that.
Through continuous exposure to the act of making cold calls, follow-up calls, and other common types of communications, sales organizations can train their reps to be more successful and less nervous. They’ll have the right wording and information ready to convert prospects as efficiently as possible.
However, just as sales professionals may dislike the calls themselves, they’re often resistant to mock sales calls as a form of training. In this guide, take a closer look at why they’re still one of the most powerful training tools—and the steps you can take to make them even better with today’s technology.
Mock Sales Call Training: The Key to Better Sales Performance
Mock sales calls are a practice exercise. They can be fully scripted exercises, common situations that reps will encounter, or repeat exercises that are practiced to increase recall and familiarity with messaging. Some calls are assessments that managers can use as a baseline to recommend specific training programs, or they can be the substance of the training program itself.
How They Work
In traditional training scenarios, sales reps practice sales calls by taking on the role of salesperson while the trainer pretends to be the customer or prospect on the other end of the line. Through this dynamic, sales reps can practice:
- Initial sales pitches
- Responses to commonly asked questions
- Providing calm and helpful responses to irate customers
- The messaging and specific word choice required in style guides or organizational messaging documents
- Critical thinking and impromptu problem solving
After the call is complete, trainers can then provide feedback, identifying the strengths and weaknesses exhibited in the call and making recommendations for the future. Depending on the time available, trainers can then lead the rep through the exercise again or conduct a mock sales call with a different scenario or training objective.
While conventional training typically has the trainer or sales manager engage one-on-one with a sales rep, alternative forms are possible. Some exercises may be public, allowing junior reps to learn from the sales rep’s example. Other times, sales reps may take turns playing the role of customer or salesperson (especially when the exercise focuses on delivering the right messaging).
5 Benefits of Mock Sales Calls
Mock sales call exercises deliver substantial benefits to any rep engaging in the exercise—and, as a result, any organization that makes them part of their training processes. Some of the key benefits of these calls include the following wins:
1. Practice Consistent Messaging—Down to Each Word Choice
Whether your organization focuses on hyper-specific word choice to differentiate your brand or you provide incredibly technical products, your sales reps’ communication needs to be on point and extremely practiced. A mock sales call allows them to practice the delivery of core messages over and over again. The messages become rote so reps can focus more on gauging prospects’ reactions and refining their strategy in real time.
2. Good Objection Handling and Problem-Solving Become a Matter of Habit
As the exercises become more complex, sales reps can practice their strategies for responding to objections. Some of this is simply memory; common objection points will have semi-standardized responses. But an even deeper benefit is that salespeople gain more confidence and an ability to authentically respond to objections in the moment with solid, knowledgeable answers.
3. Remove Stage Fright From the Process
Your team may have a lot of good reasons to be apprehensive about sales calls. They may hate the constant ‘no’s. Maybe they dislike confrontation. Perhaps they’re simply nervous about being on the phone with someone they’ve never interacted with.
Regardless of the reason, exposure to these scenarios can help make them much less frightening or disconcerting. Mock sales calls are an even softer transition, as reps can practice the actual conversation and mindset multiple times before engaging with a real prospect.
4. Build Confidence and Reduce Performance Anxiety
Confidence is key. Even for reps who aren’t afraid of making calls, they may be less aggressive than they should be and not provide counterpoints to customer objections, simply out of a lack of confidence. Mock sales calls allow them to practice skills and start the conversation knowing that they have the information and tactics they need to successfully convert clients.
5. You Control All the Components, From Topic to Goal to Evaluation Metrics
Mock sale calls aren’t just helpful because they give reps multiple opportunities to practice; they’re useful because sales managers and training teams can control the entire conversation. You can make different scenarios for different objectives, design the scripts so new salespeople learn the right messaging as efficiently as possible, and ensure the practice exercises hit the core skills you want to assess.
How to Fit Mock Sales Calls Into Your Sales Training Program
Whether you’ve tried to implement mock sales call training before and met too much resistance or your training team can’t provide enough one-on-one training hours, optimizing your training program to incorporate more of these calls should be a priority. But you don’t have to try and make do with mass training seminars or sacrificing one type of training for another. Instead, implementing the right technological solutions can make all the difference. Follow these five steps to see your team’s performance and experience skyrocket.
1. Use AI to Create Dozens of Like-Kind Scenarios Focused on Critical Messaging and Skills
Creating more training scenarios can help your team grow. If you only have a handful of scripted sales scenarios, reps may memorize the conversations and get far less benefit from the interaction. Instead, use AI-powered training programs to iterate dozens or hundreds of exercises that still focus on each core objective. You can develop a robust library of scenarios so reps encounter a new conversation every time and can hone their critical thinking skills, not just their memories.
2. Give Your Sales Reps a Digital Platform for Practicing Their Skills
One of the biggest hangups with mock sales calls is that sales reps don’t feel comfortable doing the exercise. Few people like performing in front of an audience, even an audience of one. So build out your training tech stack with a digital platform that lets reps engage in mock calls on their own.
AI avatars can be trained to follow a script or respond to salespeople’s responses in different ways, taking on the role of the prospect or customer. This allows reps to practice in private and makes mock sales call training far more accessible. Instead of having to wait for a trainer to be available, salespeople can practice at any time.
3. Use an AI Coach for More Effective Real-Time Feedback and Advice
Mock training exercises are more than practice; they’re a great opportunity for feedback. AI tools can instantly assess trainees’ performance and provide objective feedback either during the call or once the exercise is complete. Reps can review the advice or feedback and then try the exercise again, incorporating the new pointers and continually refining their skills.
4. Use Recorded Calls and AI-Based Feedback to Gauge Employee Performance
Just as individual salespeople can benefit from feedback after each session, your organization can benefit from having the data. You can build in-depth learning profiles for each salesperson, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, and willingness to learn. This is a powerful trove of information when you’re considering employees for different roles or giving employee reviews.
5. Continually Refine Your Sales Training Program
As you collect more data about how your team is learning and what exercises are providing the most value, you can continually improve your training programs. You might decide to expand the focus on some objectives, split training programs into different courses, or build out completely personalized learning paths for each rep. Using digital and AI platforms to run your training gives you far more data to work with and make more effective decisions.
Get More Benefits From Mock Sales Calls By Using the Right Tool for Your Sales Training Program
While mock sales calls are a time-tested tool, traditional training exercises are often inefficient. However, with the right AI tools and digital mock sales call platform, you can dramatically increase participation and results. The Quantified platform is built to provide those tools for your sales organization. We power sales rep training with AI-driven sales call scenarios, provide AI coaches for individualized learning, and give salespeople 24/7 access to mock sales calls so they can practice, learn, and refine their approach. Reach out today to see how modern mock sales calls can be more effective than ever.