Sales Training Data: Persistence Makes the Sale 12.6x More Likely
3.5 min read
About a year ago we partnered with some professors from a local university to conduct a very intensive study about the specific elements of an inbound phone call that actually make a difference.
In other words, what components of a phone conversation actually matter? What things can an employee say that make a difference? And for sales trainers, which aspects of your training are most important?
Convirza recorded and scored 4,400 phone calls in industries where an inbound call is considered a GREAT lead. In this case, the calls were in the hotel industry. But our data shows, clearly, that similar data is accurate of any ‘local’ type business. The results hold true for tire dealers, auto dealerships, auto shops, home services businesses, dentists, lawyers, and more phone-reliant businesses.
Convirza recorded the calls and then scored the recordings based on a pre-determined set of criteria. We measured, for example, whether or not the employee persisted after an initial rejection AND whether or not each call ended in the desired outcome. Of course, depending on the industry, the desired result might be a booked appointment, a reserved room, or an over-the-phone purchase.
Then the data was crunched and analyzed by statisticians from a local university.
In 610 of the 4,400 calls analyzed, the potential customer exhibited some resistance to the end goal. In the case of this study, the hesitancy was in booking a room. This resistance ranged from the price is too high to the property not being centrally located, to the potential guest just calling for ‘information.’ Regardless of the reason for resistance, our findings show that…
Persistence pays off more than any other single thing an employee could do.
This, again, is true of other industries as well. Persistence simply works!
Persisting in the face of resistance to booking a room in the case of a hotel, or booking an appointment in the case of a dentist’s office, or buying a product in the case of an e-commerce retail, is the single action that has the most impact on the caller’s decision.
When the employee is persistent in the face of initial rejection and refuses to give up, the caller is 12.6 times more likely to buy.
Stated another way, a caller who is initially hesitant to purchase is 12.6 times more likely to end up purchasing (or book an appointment, or room) when the employee persists, rather than giving up. This persistence could be demonstrated through asking open-ended questions to a caller or merely asking for the business again.
The statistical and practical significance of this finding is obvious.
Statistical analysis in previous studies, however, indicates that most employees just do not attempt to overcome resistance. They give up. They quote a rate, give a price, and then give up when the potential customer doesn’t immediately agree to buy. They don’t persist. At the first sign of resistance, most employees simply wish the caller a good day and hang up the phone.
Retail front desk employees only attempt to overcome resistance to 10% of the time. That means 90% of the time employees simply give up at the first sign of resistance. So, at a dentist’s office, if a caller is hesitant to book an appointment, most receptionists just don’t ask again. At a tire shop, if the caller says he is going to call around for better prices, most employees simply say okay and hang up the phone. At a hotel, if the caller raises any objection at all, the front desk employee totally gives up.
And call centers, according to the data, are even worse.
They only attempt to overcome resistance 2% of the time. Said another way: if the potential customer refuses an initial invitation to buy, book an appointment, book a room, etc., the call center simply gives up 98% of the time.
Do you know how often your employees persist when they face initial rejection? If you don’t record and score calls, you simply don’t know. You couldn’t know.
And remember simply persisting and asking for the business again makes a sale 12.6x more likely.
Most sales training companies, to be frank, spend too much time on things that don’t make any statistical difference in whether or not the sale was completed. They spend too much time training on elements that don’t improve close rates.
Call recording and call scoring can fix this problem.
If there is anything encouraging about the data, it is that the data can improve. It is relatively simple to mandate that employees persist after one initial wave of rejection. This can be done with a bit of call recording, a bit of call scoring and a bit of sales training.
Originally published on May 22, 2013. Most recent update on Oct. 23, 2018.