Are you looking to improve your sales performance?
Sales can be dramatically affected by transforming sales managers from competent coaches to great ones. Sales coaching is actually the number one management activity that drives sales performance. Sales coaching is the No. 1 managerial activity that drives sales performance. Managers haven’t been trained to coach effectively. It takes time to master coaching, and managers can make huge mistakes if they aren’t adequately coached.
If you are able to develop great coaches, you can improve the performance of your sales team as the head of sales and/or the frontline sales manager.
Coaching Blunder #1 – “Telling vs. Asking Coaching
Your sales experience was likely as a top rep. You are more likely to explain the problem to the salesperson. Telling is not a way to make salespeople self-managing. There are many downsides to the tell first approach.
You are not giving sales reps the tools they need. They may see you as micro-managing them. You are creating a dependency on them to solve their problems. You are creating a dependency on yourself to solve their problems. Self-management is a critical area for your development.
Keep an eye out for when you’re in “tell” mode. Remind yourself when this happens.
Coaching Blunder #2: “I’ll Get-to-It Coaching.”
We all face time management challenges. What can a sales manager do with emails, meetings, and administrative work? The easiest way to achieve sales results is to focus on the activities that generate the most revenue. Because it is most accessible, we tend to do the “busywork” first. It is good to be up-to-date with our email. Stress is lessened when all reports are in on time, and all messages have been responded to.
All of these activities do not contribute to the bottom line. Why isn’t coaching the number one priority when great sales coaching can increase sales by up to 19%?
Don’t make excuses; get out of the office! Coaching should be your top priority. Get out there and coach others. Your boss will be grateful, and your reps can make a lot of money.
Coaching Blunder #3: “Laundry List Coach”
Each of us faces challenges in personal growth and changing our lives. Each of us has our strengths and areas that need improvement. Managers who have a long list of areas to improve will not succeed. It is difficult for sales representatives to make significant changes in their selling methods. The goal of development is to improve one or two aspects. Once the skills or behavior have been demonstrated, you can move on to the next area.
Imagine a field report containing all the mistakes you made as a sales rep. Many reps wouldn’t even bother to read the report. Many people will read the report and wonder where to begin. Some may be overwhelmed by it.
Focus, focus, and focus are the keys to great coaching. A significant factor in sales reps’ performance is their ability to improve in one area.
Coaching Blunder #4: “One-Size Fits All Coaching”
Sales managers often fall prey to the “one-size-fits-all” approach.
How many times have you seen a sales rep work in autopilot mode? Each rep presents the same sales pitch to every customer in the exact same manner. We coach fail to recognize when we enter autopilot and adopt the same approach with every rep.
Did you ever feel the need to coach all your reps in the same way? You give the same feedback to all your reps. You are stuck in a rut of one-size-fits-all coaching. Training is different from coaching. Training is where everyone learns the same information and skills. Coaching, on the other side, is about identifying each rep’s specific areas for improvement. Coaching is all about tailoring your coaching style to each individual and creating individualized development plans.
Coaching is a one-to-1 sport. Coaching is about helping individuals reach their full potential.
Coaching Blunder #5: “Ways to Go Coaching”
Failing to get buy-in for change is one of the most prominent mistakes managers make. Although they have done an excellent job of coaching, asking the right questions, and agreeing on areas for growth, they fail to get buy-in on how to fix the problem. It is crucial that the rep and manager agree on a development area. They must also agree on the steps to take to achieve it.
A simple plan of three or four points is required. It should include what the sales rep will do in between coaching sessions. Your role is to hold reps accountable. This is essential to ensure that reps are able to develop their next steps and have a positive coaching experience.
Great coaching leads to excellent performance. Sales companies that adopt a coaching culture and invest their time in the ability of their frontline managers to coach will be able to outsell their competition.