Ok, so how do you Coach? And how can I find the time to do it?
The 3 absolutes of Coaching by Sales Managers to Sales Professionals:
- Situational Coaching: This is not a Peanut Butter Sandwich! Do you coach everyone the same? Like spreading Peanut Butter on Bread? Don’t do it. Coach everyone DIFFERENTLY depending on their maturity in the job and company. Crafting the coaching method to the individual can improve productivity by 3X. For example: A new sales rep in the company needs to be TAUGHT first. Put on the teaching cap and school them. Whereas someone who has been in the company longer and is performing all the correct activities yet is not making their quota needs CHEERLEADING. Ken Blanchard calls these guys “Reluctant Contributors”. (http://www.kenblanchard.com/) Trying to teach them will back fire leading to lost productivity and longer time missing quotas. Skip the Peanut Butter and just have the jelly (and coach to the person).
- Coaching vs. Feedback: Was your High School sports coach a SCREAMER when you screwed up? We call that Feedback. (At the time, you probably called it something different if it happened to you). That is NOT COACHING. Don’t confuse the two. Sales managers need to use both to be effective. Think like this: BEFORE a sales call, you coach your sales professional. “Ask this question?”, “Don’t forget to use your sales process?” etc, etc. AFTER the sales call, Provide feedback: “You really did great asking that question.” “You totally missed it when the prospect asked about payment terms and you kept talking about the product” (Sound familiar?). You need both in your leadership and sales management. Know the difference, and increase effectiveness TOMORROW. Check out Keith Rosen for more information (http://www.profitbuilders.com/). He is an expert at it.
- Identify the Resistance: What? Resistance is futile? I hope not. You want resistance from your sales reps when coaching. The more resistance, the more impactful your coaching is. Know the signs of resistance. The most common are listed below. Know when they are saying “Talk to the hand”. Embrace it, Enjoy it ….and OVERCOME IT. Your ability to overcome the resistance will enable them to buy into the coaching and feedback. This is called “Vision Transfer”. It is critical to sustained productivity improvement.
3.75 Write it down. Although this one doesn’t qualify for a ‘Full Point’, documenting your coaching and feedback from the sales manager to the sales rep is critical. Do you remember your coaching conversation you had with your sales rep last week? Last month? Last year? Exactly! By documenting your feedback, a couple things happen. The written word is more powerful than the verbal. And it gets remembered. Your sales reps will remember it. They will also take this seriously. Documentation raises the accountability meter. Use it for improved effectiveness.
Don’t screw around with coaching. Master these basic fundamentals. Use them consistently with every sales rep for one month. Productivity will improve, sales will go up and your bank account will be healthier.
Oh, for all the Directors and VP of Sales. Coaching your Sales Managers is just as important. Check out this site for more information: http://partnersinexcellenceblog.com/if-our-people-fail-we-have-failed-as-managers/