As a salesperson, you never want to go into a call blindly, especially if you‘re newer to the game. That’s why mock calls — practice calls conducted by sales managers — become so crucial.
A mock call is an invaluable tool for sales reps aiming to perfect their approach. They provide a forum to understand what's to come and how to appropriately handle common issues as they arise.
In this article, let's explore how to conduct a mock call and some of the scenarios that they can cover.
Table of Contents
What is a Mock Call?
In sales, a mock call is a dry-run for a sales call where a manager or interviewer — in character as a prospect or customer — plays through a sales call scenario with a rep to gauge their skills, give them situational practice, and identify areas for improvement.
A well-executed mock call is an excellent opportunity for you to get a better feel for your reps‘ strengths and weaknesses. You can see first-hand what they’re doing well and where they have room to grow when interacting with prospects and customers.
Salespeople operating at any level, in virtually any position, stand to gain a lot from carrying out mock calls. As I mentioned, they‘re dry runs — low-stakes activities that can build out reps’ skill sets while allowing them to pinpoint the aspects of their efforts that need work and attention.
Still, mock calls being “low stakes” doesn‘t mean they shouldn’t be taken seriously. If you want to get the most out of these exercises, you have to commit.
Best Practices for Mock Calls
A sales rep taking mock calls is similar to an athlete practicing before the big game. These calls are a playground for refining your techniques, adapting to new challenges, and getting ready to close your next sales call.
Here are some best practices that will enable you to make the most of every mock call session.
Prepare as if it’s real.
Even though it’s just practice, prepare for your mock call as you would for a genuine sales pitch. Research the product, expect possible objections, and structure your pitch. This ensures you’re practicing in conditions that mirror real-life scenarios.
Consider leveraging advanced tools like HubSpot's Conversation Intelligence. This AI-driven tool pulls insights from actual customer calls, providing invaluable data that can be mirrored in mock call scenarios.
Seek diverse scenarios.
Don’t shy away from challenging situations in mock calls. Request your mentors to mimic a range of sales calls. This can include cold calls, follow-ups, dealing with difficult customers, or upselling. Diverse experiences will make you a more adaptable salesperson.
Actively seek feedback.
Once the call concludes, actively seek feedback from your mentor or peer. Ask specific questions about areas you felt uncertain about, and be open to constructive criticism.
Use call recording tools and playback features. This allows both you and your mentor to revisit the mock call and analyze responses. Consider voice modulations, conversation structure, and other critical elements. This can amplify the learning experience and make it more interactive.
Experiment with your techniques.
Use mock calls as a safe space to try out new sales techniques or strategies you've learned. Whether it’s a new closing technique or a different way of presenting a product feature, test it and gauge its effectiveness.
Encourage peer participation.
Involve your peers in your mock calls. They can play the role of diverse clients ranging from hard-to-please customers to over-enthusiastic ones. They can also offer a fresh perspective on your approach, as they understand the complexities of sales.
How to Conduct a Mock Call
- Determine a character and commit to it.
- Conduct the full call without interruption.
- Record the call.
- Make sure the degree of call difficulty is in keeping with your reps' experience.
1. Determine a character and commit to it.
Your mock calls have to be done with intention and direction. You have to have a clear goal in mind when conducting these exercises — that means choosing a character that‘s appropriate for the specific type of call you’re conducting and committing to it.
Who are you supposed to be? What's your position? What specific challenges come with your industry and role within it? What does your day-to-day look like? Answer these questions — and any others that would shape how you approach a sales call — and act accordingly.
Once you have those factors ironed out and start your call, commit to your character. Don't break, no matter how uncomfortable or strange it might seem.
Ultimately, these exercises are for your reps and their professional development. If you don‘t take them seriously and completely engage in them, you’re undermining their growth as salespeople.
2. Conduct the full call without interruption.
These calls have to be as realistic as possible if you want to get the most out of them, so you can't stop every now and then to offer pointers, compliments, or critiques. Let every call run its course. See how your reps react to getting flustered or being put on their heels.
Again, these calls are for them to gain experience and develop professionally. They won‘t have you looking over their shoulder, offering real-time insight every time they conduct a real sales call. Give them space to naturally excel or make mistakes. You’ll have time to give pointed advice after the exercise is over.
3. Record the call.
Both you and your reps stand to gain a lot from recording the call. When you offer your praise and criticism, it helps to have the actual content of the call in front of you. You don't have to base your assessment on memory or take extensive notes throughout that might interfere with the flow of the exercise.
It can also help reps to have a definitive reference for where they have the most room for improvement. It‘s constructive for them to explicitly see the most effective language they used, questions and topics that made them stumble, and what they shouldn’t say when talking to actual prospects.
4. Make sure the degree of call difficulty is in keeping with your reps' experience.
I know I keep saying it, but these exercises are for your reps‘ professional development — and that process is incremental. Make sure these calls are relevant to the rep’s responsibilities and in keeping with their experience.
You don‘t want to throw a new SDR into the deep end by conducting a mock call as a combative C-Level executive, and you don’t want to go over a mild-mannered cold call with a seasoned AE.
Your mock calls should become more challenging and high-stakes as your reps continue to refine their skills and take on new responsibilities. Keep that trend in mind because over- or under-selling a rep‘s abilities with a mock call doesn’t do much to help them grow.
As I mentioned earlier, reps at any level can get a lot out of a mock call, so they can be used to simulate almost any scenario. Here are some of the most common ones they can be applied to.
Mock Call Scenarios
- Run-of-the-Mill Cold Call
- Prospect Demanding a Discount
- Interacting with C-Suite Executives
- Dealing with an Irate Prospect
1. Run-of-the-Mill Cold Call
As you can assume, this kind of mock call works best for SDRs and other newer reps just getting their feet wet in sales. This scenario helps them get acquainted with call aspects like introductions, objection handling, and the specific messaging your company uses.
2. Prospect Demanding a Discount
This mock call scenario can be used to challenge reps at any level. It's an opportunity to put them in a position where they have to clearly articulate your value proposition.
They need to show that they truly understand why your offering is worth its price. It also provides a chance for your reps to demonstrate their ability to remain composed when dealing with agitated, difficult prospects.
3. Interacting with C-Suite Executives
This kind of call is reserved for seasoned reps who are going to be touching base and negotiating with executives and other legitimate decision-makers. Make sure they're thoroughly prepared for the call, and press them to speak with confidence, authority, and decisiveness.
4. Dealing With an Irate Prospect
This particular mock call scenario can work for sales reps at any level. Dealing with not-so-nice prospects is a reality of sales life — for everyone from SDRs to AEs to field sales reps. Like the discount-demanding mock call I described earlier, this exercise is meant to test a rep's ability to remain composed in a tricky situation.
See if they can still effectively convey the key points of your value proposition and whether they ask the right questions to get contact information from someone else within your “mock corporation.”
When done right, a mock call can be an incredibly effective exercise that yields meaningful results and improves your reps' sales skills and composure. No matter the nature of your business or the scale of your team, you stand to gain a lot by walking your reps through these kinds of conversations.
If your reps make calls to prospects, they need to practice — mock calls are one of the best forums for that.