The Science of Effective Sales Conversations: What We Learned from 250,000 Calls [Infographic]

April 17, 2017

Did you know top performing salespeople talk about price during a specific “window” in their sales calls (the 40 to 49 minute mark)? They also use language patterns low performers fail to use (risk-reversal language).

And oddly enough, if a buyer asks about your competitor early in the sales cycle, you have a better chance of closing the deal than if the competitor was not mentioned at all.

All of these data points – and more – were surfaced after we analyzed over 250,000 sales calls using Gong’s self-learning conversation analytics engine.

We surfaced six distinct “patterns” of winning sales conversations, and put them into the below infographic. Check it out to see how your sales team’s conversations stack up:

Click to enlarge here.

To sum up the key takeaways:

  • Talk to Listen Ratio: The highest converting B2B sales conversations have a 43:57 talk-to-listen ratio. Plus, the longer you can get your customer talking for an uninterrupted period of time, the better.
  • Company Overviews (“About Us”): Keep the “About Us” part of your sales deck short. Two minutes or less in this section is okay. After that, there is a sharp dropoff in progressing your deal.
  • Competitor Mentions: When your competitors are mentioned early in the sales cycle, you have a greater chance of winning the deal than if they were not mentioned at all. However, if they were mentioned late in the game, your win rates will drop. The takeaway? Competitive deals are good – but win the competitive battle early on in the sales cycle.
  • Listen for Linguistic Cues that Indicate Timing: It turns out, there are specific phrases and words buyers will utter during sales conversations that predict their likelihood of buying.
  • Risk Reversal Language: When sales professionals use risk reversal language with their buyers, such as talking about opt-outs, guarantees, and SLAs, they increase their sales win rates by 32% on average. Easy win, if your company is willing to implement those policies.
  • Discussing Price: Top B2B sales reps deliver pricing in the 40-49 minute on their sales calls ( average and low performers tend to spread out their pricing discussions evenly throughout the call). We also found out that 3-4 pricing questions or mentions by the buyer correlate with the highest win rates. Less than three or more than four, and win-rates begin to shrink.

Of course, the quantitative side of sales conversation effectiveness only tells half of the story (really, it just points us in the right direction). Fleshing out the rest of the story involves understanding sales conversations qualitatively.

The best way I know how to do that is reviewing sales call recordings.

Senior Director of Product Marketing

Chris Orlob is Senior Director of Product Marketing at - the #1 B2B sales conversation AI platform. Gong automatically records your sales team's conference calls and uses AI and NLP technology to help you understand what's happening in the sales conversations across your team. Learn more at