Coaching Sales Calls with Richard Smith [Episode 745]

Richard Smith, Co-Founder and Head of Sales at Refract, joins me on this episode.


  • Andy and Richard discuss performing for outcomes as an underdog. In a competitive field, your biggest differentiator as a salesperson is how you speak, how you sell to customers, and how you help them buy.
  • Andy used to sell Burroughs computers and was an underdog against IBM in every sale. Andy found ways to sell, regardless of IBM. He had a similar situation working for Apple when IBM released the PC. Selling is influencing.
  • Andy talks about the two decisions a customer makes before a purchase. Richard says if you shine a light on a problem the prospect has before they know they have it, you will be in place to help them to the solution.
  • If you enter the fray when the competition is known, you can crush the competition with superior discovery and personal service. Success comes through hard work, human connection, and immediate responses with value.
  • Time is the biggest killer of deals. Get the customer through the pipeline as soon as possible. Don’t be a slow seller. Give the customer the information they need to move to the next stage of the decision-making process.
  • Richard explores Mark Roberge’s comparison of the doctor-patient relationship to the salesperson-customer relationship. Lead the process.
  • Richard founded Refract based on his experiences as an uncoached SDR. Refracts tools help the manager listen to sales conversations and coach effectively for better outcomes. Dashboards don’t measure quality.
  • Refract is in the competitive category of Conversational Intelligence. Their strength with this emerging technology, is in post-sales customer success, helping customers understand trends in their sales conversations.
  • Refract addresses two areas of coaching: reviewing the “game tape” of a conversation and “pre-game practice” before a conversation. Richard shares process details.
  • Can conversational intelligence tools help salespeople learn to listen better? The context is more important than the keywords that are used. Bias prevents understanding. Refract alerts salespeople on things they missed in calls.
  • There is no optimum talk time ratio in a conversation. It depends on the situation and the companies. Data gives insights; the context of a conversational is key. Listen carefully to improve performance for your personality.
  • Education, training, and coaching are separate matters. Andy and Richard compare their views on these areas.