It’s been my experience that most salespeople don’t like being coached. It’s not because they don’t want to improve and generate more sales. On the contrary, most salespeople are driven to succeed. The real culprit is that most sales managers don’t know how to coach.
From a salesperson’s point of view, the coaching process is intrusive, humiliating, and a waste of time.
How can we improve the coaching process so that both salespeople and employers win?
Before we get started, let’s first define coaching.
Everyone has their definition of coaching. Here’s mine –
It’s enforcing best practices created by your employer or experts on how to sell effectively to generate more revenue for your company. At the same time, you are also eliminating bad practices or behaviors that could hurt the salesperson’s ability to reach or exceed his sales goals.
Some people mistake coaching with training. Coaching is an ongoing process, while training is a one-time activity. There is nothing wrong with using a trainer. However, even most trainers admit that their presentations will go out one ear and out the next unless you provide ongoing coaching to provide positive reinforcement.
Here are five tips to help you –
Determine specific problem areas.
Not all salespeople are alike. Each one has their strengths and weaknesses. For example, some do well in cold calling, and others do not. Some do well in time management, and others do not. Some do well in prospecting for new business, and, well, you get the drift.
The key is to evaluate each salesperson and then focus on their strengths and weaknesses and where they can improve.
Focus on one problem at a time.
Some managers want to overwhelm salespeople with too much training all at once. That’s a mistake. First, everyone is busy trying to meet or exceed their quota. They have only so much time or availability throughout the week for training. And second, with the pressure and stress of work, attention spans wane, and then information is soon forgotten.
Rather than overwhelm salespeople with too much training at once, take a bite-size approach. It helps with retention.
Set the example.
If you want salespeople to do their jobs, set the example. For instance, if you are working for an inside sales team, sit front and center and make sales calls. If you are working in outside sales, go on appointments and bring a salesperson along and show him how it’s done.
Use different methods of training.
Everyone learns differently. Some prefer watching training videos. Others prefer to read. And still, others prefer lectures. So, use training methods that you feel will resonate better with each salesperson.
No matter how bad a sales call or appointment went, start with positive comments first. Then, begin by describing what went well. For example, you might say the salesperson did well with discovery questions or undercover the needs and pain points. Then outline areas where you feel there needs to be an improvement.
Key Takeaway: There is no one method fit all approach to coaching. Each salesperson is different. The goal is to remove bad habits and create new ones slowly.
If you like my post, please read my book — Jumpstart your Sales Career, Help for New Salespeople.