A national builder wanted to make sure that its models' sales reps took prospective buyers in the community to show sites and homes in inventory. Some reps prefer to remain in the air-conditioned model office and offer prospective buyers maps or point them in the direction they should be without having the opportunity to convert potential buyers into buyers.

The sales manager was given a list of shops for sale in Islamabad steps the reps needed to follow so the reps knew what they were expected to do. The builder had informed the reps they would get "mystery shopped" periodically, and every rep had agreed to shop as a part of their job. The first mystery shop this builder tried included a written report from the shoppers which was handed over for the manager of sales. The report contained the shoppers opinion of how well the rep was able to complete all the steps in the sales procedure (including going out to show the homes in inventory and lot sites). Managers of sales would meet with the rep and discuss the shoppers' comments. This process resulted in an improvement in the rep's behavior, however, the reps would often deny their actions from the mystery shopper's reports. After several instances of "it's the reps word against the mystery shoppers word" The sales manager decided to take a different approach. He contracted an Tampa, Florida based performance improvement company (Professional Development Services, Inc.) to use video/audio to shop his 25 sales reps. All of the reps were shopped using video/audio and the sales manager noticed that 52% of his reps weren't adhering to the sales procedure. The sales manager coached all reps by showing the recorded DVD store to them and then asking each rep to provide their own critique using the video.

A variety of things occurred during the video mystery shopping process:
1.) If the representatives were informed that they'd be video shopped the performance of their reps improved immediately. This is known as"the "Halo effect" in the mystery shopping performance improvement business.
2) The meetings of the manager for sales were more precise and revealed new sales opportunities that had been missed previously.
3.) Following the initial round of mystery shop video reps performed the full sales process 96% of their duration (compared with 48% before).
4) Sales reps acknowledged that the process of evaluating them was fair as it was able to demonstrate their actual performance in comparison to shoppers, customers, or manager's "opinion" of their performance.
5) The builder reported a 10% increase in sales completed within three months of launching the mystery shopping video program.

Things to consider if are considering trying this technique to increase sales performance:
1.) You must ensure that your sales (and/or customer service representatives) have a clearly defined process that they are required to follow when dealing with potential customers and customers. A "checklist" will become an essential part of your performance assessment session.
2) Don't make use of feedback videos to create a"negative reinforcement "club" to penalize reps.
3.) Make sure all reps in your organization have signed an arrangement (usually part of the employment contract) which permits them be used as a mystery shopper if you are in one of 33 "dual consent" states.
4) Don't try to create an illusion of "Halo effect". That is don't inform reps that they're going to be shopped , when they're not.
5) Check that the company you contract to manage your shops is an expert in the field of recording and monitoring audio/video performance.