Good Vibes on the Phone

February 24, 2010

I had a phone interview with a sales candidate last week that really got me thinking about how one’s attitude can affect his/her work product, particularly in an inside sales role.  Keeping in line with my typical interview protocol, I kicked off the call by asking the individual to walk me through his background and then tell me a little bit about his personality. The candidate, let’s call him “Bob,” proceeded to tell me about his previous inside sales roles, and he attributed the successes of his sales career to his healthy lifestyle.  Bob explained that a healthy diet, daily exercise, appropriate amount of sleep, and listening to classical music were all factors that affected his mood thereby improving his daily calling performance.  On the days that Bob slept poorly the night before, he would see a dramatic dip in his call statistics. 

Perhaps this seems a bit obvious – if you are tired, you are probably going to make less calls, and/or be less enthusiastic on the calls that you actually do make. And classical music – ehh, I’ve seen the studies, but quite honestly, it puts me to sleep. In Bob’s defense, I do believe there is something to be said about your attitude affecting your success rate on the phone, and if you aren’t treating your body well, your attitude/tone will reflect it. We all have our off days, but the more conscious one is of his/her tone and attitude on the phone, the better the conversion rates will be.

According the site,, it is helpful to ask yourself 6 important questions after a call:

1. Did I smile when I opened up my sales call?
2. Did my prospect laugh during the first 30 seconds of a call?
3. Did my prospect ask how I was doing today?
4. Was I sitting or standing for the duration of my call or was it both?
5. Was I moving my hands and arms during the sales call?
6. Was my tone mellow or could my neighbor in the next cubical hear me?

As a test, I would advise junior sales reps to keep track of the answers to these questions after every call and compare them to the results of the call. This practice will help you understand what is working, and what is not working in regards to your call approach. If you are consistently answering no to these questions, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your lifestyle choices. Bob would probably ask, are you eating right? Sleeping enough? Getting to the gym at all?

OpenView Venture Partners invests in expansion stage companies, many of which are in the early stages of building best practices processes around inside sales and business development services. OpenView Labs, the strategic consulting services arm of the VC, helps portfolio companies get their feet on the ground in terms of hiring, training, and ongoing management of Lead Qualifications Specialists, or junior inside sales reps. One best practice for any LQS to keep in mind when picking up the phone and making a cold call to a prospect goes back to the old saying, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.”