When I ask sales managers or owners if they have shopped their sales people most will say yes…but I am not talking about a physical shop at a model home, what I am referring to is an online shop.  When I clarify many say, “Well no, we have never done that, should we?” In which case I kindly respond, “Heck Yes!!!”

Surveys show us that around half of sales executives don’t follow up with an online lead and roughly 3/4 will never pick up a phone to call. So it is crucial that you periodically shop your sales executives to get an idea of what is happening online and over the phone. This, of course, is a service that we provide here, but if you want to conduct it on your own – here is a quick tutorial on how to set up a virtual shop.

  • Set up a secret shopper Gmail account
  • Get a Google Voice number and attach it to your new Gmail account
  • Go to your web form during business hours and submit your secret shopper’s information along with a question
  • Sit back and tally the results

Once you’ve set up a secret shopper account through Gmail test it by sending an email and making a phone call before you submit your online shop. Make sure you’ve gone into settings so that Google Voice is set on do not disturb, messages will be recorded, transcribed and sent to your inbox.  All call attempts will be sent there as well.

After testing your email and phone number you are ready to submit your shop during business hours to give your sales agents a fair shot at answering quickly and efficiently.

During the shop look for key qualifiers that will allow you to gauge the effectiveness of the follow up program:

  • Speed of Response – A personal response should come with in the first hour of receiving the inquiry, however a response in 5 minutes or less is 100 times more likely to turn the inquiry into a responsive lead.
  • Quality of Communication – Are the emails and phone calls engaging, friendly, and helpful?
  • Frequency of Response – The 1st week is critical, overall in the 1st month you should track 7 points of contact. 80% of sales are made between the 5th and the 12th contact yet less than 10% of sales executives will ever make more than 3 contacts to a prospect before they give up.

The Phone Shop:
After a month of follow up via email and phone, you should then phone shop your agents to see how they go about trying to set an appointment over the phone. You can do this through a number of methods but the easiest way to record a phone call is with a Skype account. There are lots of Skype recording options out there including the MX SkypeRecorder which is free, PowerGramo, or Ecamm

In evaluating the shop, things you really want to look for are prompt first emails and phone calls, after that you want persistent and consistent follow up. If this is not what you are seeing, then some online and phone sales training may be in order to get the results you want.

Ask yourself this question when reviewing the shop results “How is my company represented?” If you aren’t satisfied – make a change!

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