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Great coaches give suggestions that improve daily selling behaviors.  Poor coaches ask high level questions about accounts and deals.  These questions don’t provide the rep with any guidance around what to do next. 


Great coaches are masters of behavior change.  They diagnose the problem, hone in on it, and change it.  The problem is that most sales leaders aren’t doing this.  They are managing at the forecasting and pipeline level.  Forecasting is an output of day-to-day performance.  You need to focus on the activities and behaviors that determine the performance.


Sign up for SBI’s 7th annual research tour:  “How to Make Your Number in 2014:  A Sales Strategy You Can Execute.”   It is an onsite session with you and your leaders.  By participating, you will get the Coaching to Improve Behaviors ToolIn the guide you will learn:


  • Get better results by coaching to the right behaviors
  • Add more value during coaching discussions
  • How to use coaching to drive incremental improvement



Let’s dig a little deeper.  The tendency is for sales leaders to inject themselves into large late stage deals.  This is a mistake.  You don’t get a good understanding of your sales team’s skills this way.  Great sales leaders are involved in large opportunities earlier on.   


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Here are 5 best practice coaching techniques you should consider:


  1. Get involved in deals early – buyers are more informed and therefore feel more independent in the early stages.  Differentiating in the early stages is important.  Bring insights and value early on or you will be a product (or service) and a price.
  2. Teach selflessness – nothing changes the tone and differentiates your rep more than this.  What do I mean?  Bring the buyer value that isn’t related to your solution.  I am not kidding.  Introduce them to a potential dream customer.  Connect them with a peer they
    can learn from.  Go out of your way to give before you ask for something.
  3. Be involved in call preparation – ask tough questions to ensure your people are truly prepared for important sales calls.
    Typically they are not.
  4. Reduce the internal noise – sales organizations create a lot of work.  As a leader you need to filter how much of this reaches your team.  Keep them focused on selling and improving their skills. All activities and behaviors should be focused on the buyer.
  5. Have your team surface risks early – why do this early? Change the conversation by understanding what will stop the customer from buying. Average sales people avoid risk and difficult conversations. Top performing sales people start these conversations.  They challenge buyers and differentiate themselves.  Are your sales people brave
    enough to proactively surface buyer risk? (i.e.- Mr. Buyer you have so many conflicting priorities.  If I were you I wouldn’t do this now.  Why do it now?)


As a Sales Leader, are you focused on improving behavior in these areas?  Or are you so focused on the number you don’t have time?  Make time.  You can’t move the number without effective execution of daily activities and behaviors. Consider participating in the research tour to get the Coaching to Improve Behaviors Tool.



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Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

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