‘Don’t Talk With Your Mouth Full!’ and Other Sales Call Tips from Mom

Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full! and Other Sales Call Tips from Mom

Genetically speaking, you’re more like your dad than your mom. But just because you inherit more of your dad’s DNA doesn’t mean your mom plays a lesser role in shaping who you are. In fact, a Gallup poll finds that more than half (53%) of adult Americans believe their mothers have a stronger influence in their lives.

So, in celebration of Mother’s Day, today’s post revisits some of the timeless pieces of advice mom gave us when we were growing up. We might not have realized it back then, but these nuggets of wisdom kept us healthy, got us out of trouble, and prepared us to become responsible adults.

And now, these same old “momisms” can help us engage in better sales conversations with our leads and prospects. Here’s how:

1. Always say “please” and “thank you”.

As a young person, you probably lost count of how many times your mom told you to mind your manners and be polite. As your mom explained, saying “please” meant you acknowledge someone had to go out of their way to do something, while “thank you” meant you were grateful for the effort.

Clearly, your mom was on to something. Saying “please” and “thank you” during sales calls isn’t just good manners, it’s good sales practice, too. According to stats cited by Converza, calls that convert are twice more frequently handled by agents with good phone etiquette.

Related: 4 Sales Call Rapport-Building Techniques That AI Can’t Yet Do [VIDEO]

2. Do your homework

Even the most laid-back mom in the world frequently tells her kids to turn off the television and go do their homework. That’s because mothers understand the value of completing assignments and know the best use of their children’s time.

It’s easy to see why this age-old piece of motherly advice is relevant to doing sales calls. Around 42% of sales reps feel they don’t have enough information before calling a prospect, which is surprising given that being unprepared ranks as one of the top turn-offs for B2B buyers.

3. Don’t talk with your mouth full.

When your mom kept barking at you not to talk with your mouth full, she wasn’t just trying to make you conform to some arbitrary dinner table convention. She wanted you to avoid forming socially awkward, potentially wasteful, and possibly unhealthy (think choking) habits.

But beyond practicing good table manners, keeping your mouth shut while chewing helps you appreciate the importance of doing one thing at a time. Just as there’s a time for engaging in conversations over dinner and a time for finishing your plate, the various activities that make up a sales call also need to follow time management best practices to be effective.

4. Don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.

Whenever we got a little carried away with self-congratulations, mom was always there to serve us a slice of humble pie. She just seemed to know how to help us strike a balance between modesty and confidence.

It turns out we could also use a healthy dose of humility in our sales calls. An analysis of more than 25,000 sales calls discovered that the most effective calls all tend to avoid self-promotional language, sidestep criticizing competitors, use collaborative terms, and focus on prospects’ pain points/objectives.

5. What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?

Remember that time you saw a really cool toy commercial and begged your parents to buy it for Christmas? Or when your best friend got a pet snake and you wanted to get one too? Each time you asked, it was always mom who voiced out her disapproval using this classic line, which by now should be permanently drilled into our heads: “What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?”

As reps, we’re trained and equipped to handle prospects’ objections, but sometimes a “no” really means “no”—no matter how we try to get around it. In certain situations, it’s better to leave uninterested prospects alone and move on, instead of pushing for a meeting or a sale.

Keep in mind that only 17% of sales people believe they’re pushy while half of the prospects think they actually are.

Related: How to Handle Early Sales Objections, According to Science [VIDEO]

6. “I don’t know” is not an answer.

Nothing annoyed mom more than hearing an “I don’t know” from her kids. When mothers asked us about something, they always expected definite answers. But more often than not, due to any number of reasons, we’d rather not answer her directly.

Every time we come across an undecided prospect (or a prospect pretending to be one), it saps the momentum out of the sales call. That’s how your mom probably felt, too. So, never take “I don’t know for an answer” to your sales questions.

To get clearer responses, keep your questions simple, ask about one thing at a time, make sure your questions follow a logical sequence, and sell prospects on the next step (not the deal).

The Takeaway:  Mom’s wise words still ring true in our adult lives. As sales professionals, these timeless lessons also give us practical guidance to approach how we do what we do. With that, we say:

To all mothers out there, happy Mother’s Day from the Callbox team! Thanks for making us what we are today.

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