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10 steps to designing and conducting effective mock calling sessions

10 steps to designing and conducting effective mock calling sessions

The average sales rep makes 46 calls every day.

So when your sales reps pick up the phone, make sure they’re ready to go for the close.

The best way to prepare them? The mock call.

So what is a mock call, exactly?

A mock call is one of the greatest tools available to train sales reps. It puts sales reps into conversation with their sales team trainers, speaking as if they were really on a sales call. Mock calls have been a staple in coaching and sales training for decades, and are proven to improve sales rep candor.

Unfortunately, salespeople often perform poorly because sales trainers don’t hold adequately-designed mock call sessions. Let’s end that trend today.

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Below, we’ve explained everything you need to know to design and conduct an effective mock calling session with your salespeople. Depending on your role, you may want to jump down to the topic that suits you most:

If you’re ready to jump in, let’s get started with the best ways to design useful mock call sessions with your sales team.

10 steps to conducting effective mock calls

If you’re responsible for designing sales mock calls for your team, these tips will make sure every session helps your sales team learn, and develop as salespeople.

1. No shortcuts: Play it out in full

mock-sales-calling-session

When you do a mock call, the details matter. Play out the call as realistically as possible. By doing this, you’ll also get the best insights out of the call.

Start from the very beginning, ringtones and all.

*Ring, ring, ring*

“Hello, this is John.”

Go into the mock call as if it was real. This means:

  • Include the ringing
  • Include the greeting
  • Include the introduction

Remember: the beginning of the call is crucial. This is when the person on the other end will decide whether you’re a friend or an enemy. When someone answers the phone, the energy has to be right - because you’ve only got a few seconds to get on friendly terms with them.

2. Remove visual cues: Face away from each other

When you’re on a call, you can’t see the person you’re talking to. There are no visual cues to help you interpret what your prospect is thinking or feeling. These cues will alter the way you talk and the way you respond to what the other person is saying. Watching you as they talk might change the conversation dramatically.

All these visual cues and influences won’t be there when your reps are on an actual call, so when you conduct a mock call session: face away from each other. To get to the next level, it’s even better if you can be in separate rooms altogether.

If possible, hold the coaching sessions at the salesperson’s desk. This will be a more effective form of training, as he or she will be in the right environment for putting this knowledge into practice in the future.

3. Keep it real: Get into character

mock-sales-calling-session-character

When you’re making a mock cold call, you need to get into character. Create a scenario for yourself where you know exactly who you’re portraying during the call. This means asking yourself:

  • Who am I?
  • Where do I work?
  • What’s my position?
  • What does my day look like?
  • What do I care about?
  • What are my problems?

When you get asked questions, it’ll be much easier to answer them, and this poses more realistic challenges for your sales rep.

Don’t focus on the sales rep that’s calling you. Instead, focus on getting and staying in character during the call, even when the person makes mistakes.

Take it a step further by choosing your mood. Are you happy? Tired? Annoyed? Stressed? Don’t act like a sales coach, act like a human being. Be the person your salespeople are most likely to encounter when they pick up the phone and dial.

4. Get the details: Record everything

Recording your sessions will help take the training to the next level. CRMs like Close allow you to easily record and listen back to calls. You can even sign up for a free 14-day trial to test out this great feature!

The more you can record, the better. These recordings will show the journey and progress the sales rep is making after every mock call. Recording audio is great, but if you can record video, that’s even better.

This allows you to see how the body language of the sales rep changes when the conversation becomes more challenging. When a person is on a mock call, they’re going to feel self-conscious. They’re aware of other salespeople around them, observing and judging, so they’ll be in a different mental state than when they make an actual sales call.

This means they’re not going to be as aware of their actions as they would be in an environment where they feel comfortable. When the sales rep listens to these mock calls, they need to be given the time and space to focus and really listen to themselves during a call.

On a day-by-day basis, improvements can be hard to spot. But when they compare the first mock call to their tenth, they’ll notice the improvement. Listening to and watching these recordings will lead to faster growth, so record everything and make sure that your sales rep listens to it and analyzes it afterwards.

5. Increase self awareness: Self-critique comes first

mock-sales-calling-session-self critique

This is a common mistake that happens in sales training. You do a mock call with somebody and then you critique them immediately afterwards.

Wrong.

Once the call is over, take a second and ask them to analyze the call first. Ask them:

  • How do you think this call went?
  • What did you like?
  • What did you not like?
  • What was good?
  • What was bad?
  • When did you have me?
  • When did you lose me?
  • Why did the call go the way it went?

This will help to raise their self-awareness. Can this person spot their own mistakes? Can they analyze themselves? Can they analyze a sales situation? How well can they interpret the emotions, frustrations and pain points of the buyer? Was their interpretation of what happened completely different to yours?

Get your sales reps into the habit of analyzing conversations. Ask them to come up with conclusions and action items on their own to learn from every call - even when the sales manager (you) isn’t around.

Coach your sales team into getting better at analyzing sales calls on a daily basis. They should reach conclusions on their own, without relying on you to give them all the answers. Train your salespeople to train themselves, and remove the need for a manager to step in and tell them what went wrong and what they need to do differently.

6. No rushing: Start easy

The first few mock calls should always be easy. In the beginning, especially if someone is new or inexperienced, these can be nerve-racking. That’s why it’s important to make the sales rep comfortable with the situation before presenting them with challenging scenarios.

Don’t make a mock call difficult until the person has more seniority, is comfortable, and is ready to have their skillset challenged. Start off easy and increase the level of difficulty over time as your sales rep become more seasoned in their role.

7. Do the work: Call, analyze, repeat

mock-sales-calling-session-call and repeat

If you want to become really good at something, you have to put in the work. That’s why repetition is important. Schedule mock call sessions to take place frequently and consistently. They should be part of onboarding, training, and continuous development.

8. Don’t overdo it: One thing at a time

Focus on one area of improvement at a time. Don’t give someone too much feedback or pick out every single detail or thing they did wrong and tell them all at once. Too much critique will overwhelm your sales rep, and they won’t know what to focus on. Instead, they’ll be left with a feeling of failure.

That’s not how you want to leave someone feeling after a mock call. You want to leave them feeling prepared, improved, and ready to go at it again - even better than before.

Pick one thing you want to work on with your sales rep and stick to that one thing to empower them to get better at it. Do a few more mock calls and tell them what they didn’t do well - but also tell them how they’re improving in that area. Build their sales confidence, their knowledge, and their skill level little by little around that one topic. During a week of sessions, focus on just one area of improvement. Once they’ve made progress, you can move on to the next area of development.

9. Preparation is everything: Hard training, easy fight

mock-sales-calling-session-difficult mock call

Once your sales reps are a little more experienced, it’s time to up the ante. This is when you make the mock calls so difficult that not a single call they get will ever match the difficulty of this one.

The formula is simple: be the worst person in the world.

If your sales rep can handle that type of worst-case scenario, then doing real calls with real people is going to be easy for your reps to deal with. When challenges arise, they’ll know how to handle it because they’ve been prepared for the worst.

Go easy on the junior sales reps and ramp up the challenges as they grow, but give your senior salespeople a tough time. Make these calls challenging as hell. This will make the rest of the day seem like a walk in the park.

10. Study yourself: Transcribe the calls

If you really want your salespeople to get to the next level, ask them to transcribe their own calls. When a call was really great, really challenging, or there was just a lot to learn from it, give them the time and the task to transcribe it.

Outsource the transcription, but have the rep work through it, analyze it and format it. This is a healthy exercise to do once a month or at least every quarter. Seeing the words on paper will add that extra dimension to understanding what’s happening in a conversation.

While this is something most people never do, it’s an incredibly valuable exercise. If you empower your salespeople to do this, you’re going to see results, growth, and ultimately have a sales team that’s happy, healthy, and hungry for more.

8 mock call sample scenarios to practice

Now that you know how to make your sales mock call sessions productive and constructive, you need some inspiration for running mock call scenarios. Exactly which scenario will have your sales reps feeling challenged? Which will help train brand new reps? What is going too far?

These sample mock calls will help you in a variety of training situations, and get your sales team prepped for the real world.

1. A simple cold call for new sales reps

Use this for: An example of an average sales call to teach general structures or basic scripts.

When you’re training new sales reps, a simple call without firm objections from the customer is a good place to start to help them get familiar with the general structure of calls, and the standards your company has for sales calls.

Points to touch on:

  • Introductions and greetings
  • Getting to the point quickly
  • Dealing with minor objections

2. Overcoming the gatekeeper

Use this for: People who don’t make the sales decisions, but can pass you on to a higher-level person.

Though you may overlook this type of person as they can’t directly give you a sale, they hold the key to those who can, and you need to win the gatekeeper over to gain access. Our article on common sales objections can teach you more about this, and other similar issues and how to handle them.

Points to touch on:

  • Make them feel valuable (because they are)
  • Explain what/who you’re looking for
  • Make yourself sound important (so they don’t brush you off)
locked-gate

3. The customer who is on their way off the phone

Use this for: Someone who seems to be angry or impatient, where you get the sense they’ll end the call soon.

People don’t always treat salespeople nicely. If you happen to get on the phone with one of these people who seems like all they want to do is hang up, make sure you’re kind and patient with them, but try to get your key points across as soon as possible in case they abruptly end your call.

Points to touch on:

  • Get important info out as quickly as possible
  • Try to get contact info so you can follow up later
  • Knowing when to close

4. The beggar

Use this for: Someone who is insisting on lower prices/a discount.

You may find some people asking for a discount right off the bat. These are the kind of people that will require you to be more persuasive. Prepare yourself with a few points on what value your product will provide to the customer, or in other words, why should they pay the price for your product or service? You need to make them believe it’s worth the price you’re asking for.

Points to touch on:

  • Focus on your product/service
  • Explain why the product is worth the cost (what value it brings to the customer)
  • Consider offering a sample/trial

5. The “I don’t have time right now” or “Send me the info in an email”

Use this for: People who insist that they’re too busy to stay on the phone.

We all get busy sometimes, so it’s important to be understanding when dealing with one of these people who’s just trying to end the call as soon as possible. Make sure you’re being respectful of their time while also stressing the importance of the call. If you can create a sense of urgency (if you’re offering a limited-time-only deal, for example) you may be able to entice them to stay on the line.

Points to touch on:

  • Open-ended questions (things you’ll be able to bring up in your follow-up conversation)
  • Focusing on the most important information
  • Creating a sense of urgency
dont-have-time-right-now-mock-sales-call

6. An insistence that the product isn’t right for them

Use this for: People who think your product won’t meet their needs, or who are hesitant to switch from the industry standard.

“Not good enough,” “Other competitors are better,” “It would be too hard to implement.” These are some examples of excuses you might hear from people who are too comfortable with their current situation. They may already be using a similar product/service from one of your competitors. Prepare yourself with a few reasons why your product is the better option - a better price, more features, better customer service, etc.

Points to touch on:

  • Why your product/service is better than your competitors
  • Ask why they like their current supplier (this will give you insight as to what your customers like/are looking for, but you may also be able to use this as an opportunity to point out an advantage of your own product)
  • Finding their pain points and explaining how you could help

7. Dealing with C-level executives

Use this for: More experienced sales reps who deal with higher-level leads.

When dealing with people at the top of a company who have all the say/all the power, you may find yourself feeling intimidated. Have confidence in your company, your product/service, and in yourself as a salesperson. Make powerful statements, and don’t second-guess yourself. Pay close attention to your body language and tone of voice, as they’ll be able to sense any indication of fear or inexperience.

Points to touch on:

  • Be confident
  • Make powerful statements (don’t undermine your own authority)
  • Convince them that you’re worth their time

8. The worst person in the world

person-yelling-mock-sales-call

Use this for: Your top sales people who need a little refresher in the realities of the world.

Believe it or not, there are people who will yell, curse, and be incredibly rude to strangers on the phone. It’s difficult to truly prepare yourself to deal with people like this, but as long as you can keep your cool and not snap back at them, you should be just fine. Try to get a few points in about your product, or get alternate contact information so you can follow up later.

Points to touch on:

  • How to keep composure
  • Get key points out if possible
  • Obtain alternate contact information

Mock call script examples for sales and cold calling

mock-sales-call-script

Use these script examples for sales calls to train your staff, or use them to inspire you to craft your own sample mock call scenarios! Here are some of the best mock call scripts you can work with to get you started:

How to Create a Sales Call Script [Free Template]

With these instructions on creating a sales script, you can train your sales reps on how to close more sales using less effort for a standard sales call. You can also use this successful sales call blueprint to find ways to turn the mock call on your rep, giving them an extra challenge.

3 Outbound Sales Call Script Examples to Get Past Gatekeepers

Practice with these scripts to help you get past the people answering the phone that don’t have the buying authority themselves, but hold the key to the higher-ups.

A Really Bad Cold Call Example

Learn from this call how to add a challenge to your sales staff with really difficult problems, including poor connectivity, bad sales presence, and other issues.

Creating a Mock Call Script

From the introduction to probing questions to your closing attempt, this article outlines the process you should follow to properly create your own mock call scripts.

8 reasons why regular mock calls are a must for any sales team

sales-team-mock-call-session

Mock calls are important because they give you a chance to practice your strategies and prepare yourself for every possible situation - so you don’t draw a blank when you’re on a real call. You can use mock calls to identify your own strengths and weaknesses, and to work on whatever needs improvement.

No matter how skilled your sales team is, regular and realistic mock calls are a must. Here are 8 things you have to gain from practice sales calls:

  1. Prepare your team for the real world - Realistic mock calls let your salespeople experience challenging situations in a more comfortable environment.
  2. No risk of losing the sale - These situations let your reps deal with people who are unlikely to say “yes” so easily, so they have a shot at closing sales like that in the future.
  3. Practice countering objections - Objections are the main problem sales reps deal with on a daily basis. The best way to get good at countering them is by putting your reps on the spot.
  4. No sales rep is ever done learning - It doesn’t matter how many years they’ve been in sales - there are still things they can learn.
  5. Develop sales self-awareness - Going over areas for improvement with your team will help them better measure how well calls are going when they’re dealing with real leads.
  6. Self-analysis - Recording and listening to your own mock calls can help you pinpoint things you need to practice more
  7. Track your progress - It’s always great to see improvement in yourself, so looking back on old mock call recordings to see where you came from can be a huge confidence booster.
  8. Reduce stress - The more you practice various sales call scenarios, you’ll feel more secure and confident in your tactics. When you master your sales call strategy, you won’t have that jittery nervousness you had in the beginning.

7 tips for salespeople to nail the mock call

So you crushed the interview, got the job, and now you have to do mock calls as part of your sales training. This may seem daunting, but don’t worry - we’ve got you covered. Here are our top seven tips to prepare for mock sales calls:

1. Put everything into acting like this is a real opportunity

In a way - it is. It’s an opportunity both to learn something that helps your sales process, and an opportunity to impress your sales manager with your skills and improvement. Don’t feel silly selling your imaginary product to your trainer - the more you act like this is a real sales call, the better you will perform.

Sign it’s going well: Your sales trainer stays in character as well, and doesn’t interrupt you.

Sign it’s going poorly: You’re laughing, using humour, or acting in ways you wouldn’t normally during sales calls.

2. Prepare yourself for likely objections

It’s normal for your prospects to be hesitant to commit to a sale, have questions about your product, or be too busy for a lengthy phone call. Practicing what you’ll say when someone gives you an excuse will help you feel more confident when dealing with them on a real call.

Sign it’s going well: You manage to avoid typical objections (I don’t have time, your product is too expensive, etc.)

Sign it’s going poorly: You can’t seem to move past the other person’s excuses for why they can’t/won’t buy your product.

3. Be aware of your voice, tone, and body language

Even though your mock calls are just practice runs, you should take them seriously. Be mindful of your tone of voice, and ensure that you’re speaking in an appropriate manner for the type of call you’re having. It’s not always just what you say, it’s how you say it.

Sign it’s going well: You’re speaking and acting in the same way you would as if a real customer was sitting in front of you having the conversation.

Sign it’s going poorly: You aren’t taking it seriously, you’re slouching in your chair, making faces, etc.

mock-sales-call-body-language

4. Qualify the call to determine the best way to proceed

Figure out who you’re selling to, so you can develop a strategy for dealing with the “character” your sales manager is portraying. Develop clear objectives for where you want the call to go, and actively work towards them.

Sign it’s going well: Your “lead” has revealed information about their needs and what they are looking for.

Sign it’s going poorly: You don’t seem to have a sense of any kind of strategy you could use to eventually close the sale.

5. Work on timing

Knowing when to speak and when to let them talk is key to a good sales call. Practice when to ask questions, when to push further, and most importantly - when to close.

Sign it’s going well: There are no interruptions, no awkward silences, and neither of you is speaking over the other.

Sign it’s going poorly: You keep interrupting each other, or there long pauses on either end.

mock-sales-call-plan-ahead

6. Don’t forget to close or prepare a follow-up

This is the goal of all sales calls - it’s likely the goal of the mock call as well. Remember to try to close the sale at the end of the call, or plan to follow up with your prospect at a later time if they aren’t ready to close yet.

Sign it’s going well: You’re able to close a sale or leave the call on a good note with a plan to follow up.

Sign it’s going poorly: The call ends before you have a chance to close, or it ends on a bad note.

7. Practice at home

You’ll likely have to do more of these, so practice what you’ve learned through your mock calls on your own to perfect your skills.

Sign it’s going well: You’re feeling more confident in your sales strategies.

Sign it’s going poorly: You still feel nervous, or aren’t able to keep conversation going.

When you take these mock call tips into consideration, you’ll be acing your sales call evaluations in no time! Practice makes perfect, and mock calls are a great way to boost confidence and reduce a sales team’s stress level. The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be at closing deals when you’re on real calls, and the better you’ll perform at your job.

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