The coaching and development of sales staff always sounds like the right thing to do, but very rarely is it done consistently and, more importantly, properly. Many times, we assume the best person for the job is the one with a manager’s title. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Take a recent conversation I had with a sales manager. He remarked to me that one of his salespeople was on thin ice because he wasn’t closing his customers. I asked about his store’s training program. “We don’t have a formal training program,” he responded, adding that he personally shadows his salespeople and that his experience in the real-estate business served as the only reference his team needed.
Apparently, poorly performing salespeople are supposed to miraculously get better at their jobs. I asked the manager if he could coach his salespeople. “I don’t have time,” he said, which I took to mean he didn’t know how.
See, according to Dr. John C. Hall and John Steuermol — innovators in the field of selection testing — there are seven critical components to becoming a great coach. Let’s examine each one and see if we can turn you into the coach your company and your team needs.
1. Be your own ally: The primary focus here is to instill in your sales team a positive and optimistic outlook. You want to keep them from playing mental games against each other and fostering negativity that impedes performance. So, rather than starting another sales meeting by telling your staff how much they suck, think of a positive way to motivate them to victory.
2. Maximize your return on energy: Coach your sales team to avoid common distractions and unproductive activities, such as coffee klatches, during high ROI times of the day. It is so easy to misuse your time, so be sure to provide your team with a game plan for winning the day.
3. Prospect: This is a great opportunity to share and exchange strategies on how to prospect both inside and outside the business.
4. Develop a compelling story: Help your team develop sales approaches that speak to the needs of your business most common type of clients. All customers are not the same, so why should the sales approach be?
5. Become a master of communication: The core focus here is to help your sales team communicate the brand and message effectively. Identify and reinforce particular components of your companies sales message that add the most value.
6. Sharpen the saw: Although it’s sad to say, the idea of continuous learning among sales professionals is very rarely taken seriously. I’ve been in businesses all over the country, and can only recall one that had a recommended reading list for ongoing improvement. That business also provided spiffs to encourage team members to read and advance their skills. It’s no wonder they boasted the highest grosses in its area.
7. Keeping Score: Show me a salesperson who doesn’t want to win, and I’ll show you one who isn’t making money or hitting their sales objectives. Top performers who really care about what they do want to know that they are crushing it, so track and monitor your salespeople regularly and encourage them along the way.
We have more technology and widgets at our disposal than ever before, but so does the competition. That’s why your employees remain a critical factor in differentiating your business from your competitors, so be sure to utilize and develop that talent. Change your approach and see what happens. I promise you won’t be disappointed.