Steve Ferrante's High Performance Blog for Sales/Customer Service/Leadership Champs and Progressive Professionals!

Posts tagged ‘Phone Skills Training’

Are Your Salespeople ‘Winging It’ on the Phone?

Winging It

Each and every interaction your salespeople have with potential customers on the phone is an opportunity to enhance customer relations, the image of your business and increase sales.

So, be honest, are your salespeople properly equipped to optimize each and every phone interaction they have with potential customers? If you’re like most businesses, then the answer is a resounding “no”.

‘Winging it’ on sales calls negatively impacts every business but here I’ll reference my area of business specialization, the tire/auto service industry.

For tire/auto service businesses that have the same employees selling both face-to-face (in the store) and on the phone, by far the more important area to improve is phone performance. For the reason why that is, see my previously published piece here > Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills Training Is Most Important In Sales.

In case any of this sounds like speculation, it’s well worth noting that it’s highly unlikely anyone has evaluated more sales calls between tire dealer employees and actual potential customers (not mystery shoppers) then my team and I at Sale Away have. The best way to measure training effectiveness, we have evaluated over 50,000 sales interactions since 2011 and that number is increasing daily!

Evaluating all those tire and service sales calls, most for market-leading tire/auto service businesses, has enabled us to teach clients specifically what works best to create customer engagement and sales on the phone. It has also confirmed that, before training, the vast majority of salespeople are indeed ‘winging it’. They have no real process and simply let the caller guide the conversation, responding with facts and figures and hoping for the order.

If You’re Not In Control, You’re Out Of Control!

If You're Not In Control You're Out Of Control

Salespeople that ‘wing it’ are not managing a call – the caller is – routinely breaking one of my top “Rules of Engagement”; If you’re not in control, you’re out of control!

Typically before training, as an example, a salesperson will respond to a phone tire inquiry with “what’s the size?” or “what’s the vehicle?” or both. This creates an indifferent first impression with the caller that often worsens when, not knowing what to say after those initial functional questions, the salesperson then asks “is there something particular you’re looking for?” or similar.

Imagine going to see your doctor for an ailment and he says, “do you have a particular medicine in mind?” Odds of that happening are about 0% yet odds are remarkably high that the equivalent of this is happening on your employee/customer calls right now. 

Without an effective sales process, sales reps default to mere order takers with recommendations based on size/inventory and most sales are made by being in the right place at the right time.

Professionals follow a sales process, amateurs ‘wing it’.

To improve customers’ buying experience and, ultimately, results for the business, all world-class companies train their employees a proven sales process.

To optimize performance on the phone, a clear sales methodology needs to be established and adhered to by your sales team. When we evaluate and literally score calls against our exclusive “Pinnacle Performance” sales process, each sales rep knows exactly how they performed on a given call and we can then pinpoint precisely what weak and/or missing areas of the process they need to improve upon moving forward.

Of course, mastering a sales process takes time and change, especially for those veterans that have been ‘winging it’ for years, is not easy. But, once institutionalized, the performance gains are well worth it.

If you are a tire business owner or manager, then you are leader of your team. It’s your job to make sure your team wins. Being properly prepared to most effectively manage every phone interaction and outperform the competition is a vital part of winning. ‘Winging it’ just won’t cut it.

Steve Ferrante is the Grand PooBah & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC. As producer and host of Pinnacle Performance, “The Best Reviewed Sales/Customer Service Training Program in the Tire/Auto Service Industry”, Steve has received national acclaim for teaching independent tire and auto service businesses how to improve customer relations, produce greater sales results and build a ‘winning team’ corporate culture. Steve is also contributing “Selling Smart” editor for Tire Review Magazine

Pinnacle Performance Training Logo

To learn more about the program, visit Pinnacle Performance Training. Steve can be reached directly at 866-721-6086 ext. 701 or via email at

Pinnacle Training 1 Page Overview

Training & Performance: If You Can’t Measure It, You Can’t Manage It!

If You Don't Measure

How do we measure training? It’s a question I hear frequently from my prospective Pinnacle Performance clients. By that they mean, “we’ve budgeted X amount of dollars for sales and/or customer service training, how do we measure our results and ensure we receive a worthwhile return on our investment?”

That is a great question, one I would no doubt ask if it were I in their position.

An obvious answer is to track and record sales results, close rates, customer appointments and other key performance metrics prior to training and then compare them to the results after training. While that is certainly recommended and should be charted throughout the course of any training implementation, this method does little to let you know how you stand in real time.

The best way to measure the effectiveness of training and employee’s sales performance is to monitor activity at the point-of-sale.

There are two point-of-sale areas that business owners should be monitoring on a day-to-day basis; face-to-face and telephone interactions.

For an objective look at employee performance in face-to-face interactions, I highly recommend contracting the services of a professional mystery shopping company.  A high-caliber mystery shop company will use well-trained “secret shoppers” to provide you with an accurate picture of the customers perspective while conducting business with your company. Over my 10 years in the training industry, I have had experience with both very good and a few not-so-good mystery shop companies. If you’re looking for a recommendation, email me with your company website and contact info at and I’ll provide my best choice for your consideration.

Then there’s the phone. As detailed in my Top 3 Reasons Why Phone Skills Training Is Most Important In Sales article, for business’s that sell both face-to-face and on-the-phone, phone skills is the most important area of employee development.

The best way to manage employee performance on the phone is to record and evaluate actual customer calls. While call-in mystery shops can be useful to establish a baseline and determine if employees are performing their selling fundamentals, these scripted interactions simply don’t have the spontaneity and challenge employees the way genuine customer calls do.

I am quite familiar with the companies that provide call recording services and have found none better than my resource partners at Convirza (formerly LogMyCalls). For ease of operation, recording and tracking capabilities, scorecard administration and reporting analytics their program is simply top notch and my recommendation for all my Pinnacle Performance clients.


It’s important to note that many companies are already recording their customer calls. If so, you’re only halfway there. The other half – the more important half – is monitoring and evaluating those calls on how well employees are meeting, or not meeting, the established selling system.

In the case of my clients,  industry-specific scorecards are created to evaluate and measure every element of the Pinnacle Performance sales/customer service model as tailored for the business. Armed with the evaluation data, we can then pinpoint precisely where an employee is weak or missing key elements and provide the coaching to improve sales/customer service performance in real time!

As renowned management consultant Peter Drucker once said: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” That is certainly true of sales/customer service training and there’s no better way than evaluating employees real-time performance at the point-of-sale.


Make a Great Day!

Steve 🙂

Steve Ferrante is the CEO & Trainer of Champions of Sale Away LLC., providing Pinnacle Performance Sales, Customer Service and Leadership training, speaking and professional development services to success-driven businesses throughout North America. For more information on Steve and Pinnacle Performance services for your team visit

Link In With Steve!

Tag Cloud