Mysterious No More: Research Shows Mystery Shops Work!

Jeff Shore

“Undoubtedly the debate will live on, but compelling evidence now clearly suggests that mystery shopping is good for sales performance, good for training, good for managing the sales staff, and most importantly, good for the bottom line.”   Jeff Shore, Shore Consulting

WOW! I couldn’t have said it better myself.  My friend and colleague Jeff Shore, in partnership with O’Neil Interactive and the research firm Impact Performance Solutions, conducted an aggressive sales leadership survey in early 2012. 275 sales executives from around North America took part in the survey, which would become known as ‘The Pulse 2012’. Their research proved once and for all that mystery shops represent one of the better investments a company can make.

Click Here to see a copy of the major findings that the report provided. Basically, the research showed that those who conducted regular mystery shops among their sales teams had differing results when it came to four key areas. (Shocking!)

  1. Training: Mystery shop leaders more accurately determine training needs.
  2. Skill Development: Mystery shop leaders promote skill development more consistently
  3. Turnover rates: Mystery shop leaders have healthier turnover rates.
  4. Meeting Business Goals: Mystery shop leaders exceed their business plan at a higher rate

After doing this for over 25 years, I can honestly say that none of this surprises me.  I commend Jeff and his team for researching and providing this data to our industry.

A homebuilding company that believes in and invests in mystery shopping is much more likely to believe in and invest in their employees in all areas of development.  This leads me to Jeff’s comment about Skill Development.  Those companies which utilize mystery shopping as part of their overall sales and training strategy tend to promote skill development more consistently. I found it interesting in Jeff’s report those who regularly mystery shop their sales associates spend most of the time in their sales meetings on ‘Training and Coaching’.  Among that same group, the topic receiving the LEAST amount of time is ‘Administrative Issues’. Think for a moment about your sales meetings. What tends to be the primary focus? Certainly there will always be administrative issues that must be reviewed; however, telling your sales people about a new way to write up change orders is not helping them to develop their full sales potential.

The reason that the mystery shop leaders focus on training and coaching in their sales meetings is because the mystery shops provide them with the syllabus for their sales meetings! I have personally watched thousands of mystery shops and I can tell you that these shops will tell you exactly what areas of training and coaching you need to be working on with your team. Jeff states that ‘the data presents a compelling contrast in how leaders prioritize time and effort with their sales team: mystery shop leaders focus on execution, while non-shoppers focus on ‘planning’ with very little follow-up tied to results.’

So, think about it. How can you possibly know what skills and training your sales people need in order to be successful if you don’t know what is going on in your sales offices? Salespeople who are not shopped remain ‘under the radar’ of their managers.  Can you as a sales manager really provide a solution when you are not fully aware of the problem? Mystery shopping takes the mystery out of the equation and allows you to focus on what is REALLY going on in your sales offices. Thank you for confirming the facts Jeff Shore….Mystery Shopping works.

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