Change doesn’t often happen as a result of seismic shifts in your sales strategy or hiring an army of consultants. It takes coaching, dedication and practice, and it’s best administered in eye-dropper doses over time.
Today we’re providing you with four tips to help you rethink effective coaching and leverage resources already at your disposal.
4 Tips for More Effective Sales Coaching
1. Save your BUT.
We talk a lot about motivating with carrots, not sticks, because positive psychology works. Most people, especially salespeople, desire recognition. It’s a powerful motivator. So celebrate the hell out of your people and their wins, small and large.
So many managers feel compelled to balance their congrats with criticism. We’ve all heard it: “Great job with (insert positive event), BUT what about (insert criticism.)” There’s a time for this. Now is not that time. At best, the critique diminishes the recognition; at worst, it negates it.
2. Think peer-to-peer.
Leverage the team you already have in place. We’ve been running, “Power Hour,” competitions in our office on a pretty regular basis for the past year. For an hour, the sales team focuses on outbound dials to follow up on open opportunities and/or prospect for new opportunities. Other than a small figurine that ended up on the winner’s desk, little attention was paid to the results.
Then, a couple months ago, a customer showed us how to take that a step further. They shared with us how they ran a similar competition, then rounded up everyone in a conference room, bought them lunch and had them discuss the competition, especially in terms of objections they faced and how they responded. The team then ran the competition again in the afternoon and saw a significant increase in meaningful customer interactions.
Consider similar practices so you’re motivating peers to not only compete against one another, but learn from each other.
3. Understand your customers.
You must have done at least a couple of things right to sign your existing customers. Call them up and ask why they bought from you and not your competition. Their answers will likely surprise you. We’ve done this recently and received valuable feedback on all aspects of our business. It’s helped us re-focus on what’s really important to our clients, and at the end of the day it’s really all about them anyway.
4. Coach the practice, not the end result.
Blocking and tackling are the fundamentals of football. Plays become more complex and the athletes get faster, smarter, and stronger, but at the core of every play are the fundamentals. Every sale has similar fundamentals. Sales can become increasingly complex and involve a number of added steps, but it’s still about coming to an agreement with your customer for your goods or service. You have to establish a need, communicate the value, agree on terms, etc.
Coach the identifiable steps in your process, like the calls, meetings and proposals. If you help your salespeople win more of these small battles along the way you’ll be surprised how often you make it to the end zone.
There’s a reason compound interest is attractive to investors. The same is true in coaching your team. Identify the small steps they can take to improve, and try to strive for 1% improvement every day. It won’t be a major disruption, yet over the course of the month, quarter or year their professional growth will be significant.