Effective sales coaching employs a process of inquiry to allow your team members to access their own inner strengths and assists them toward reaching their full potential. Our role as sales leaders is to help them discover unused, or underused, strengths and talents.
Here are the five keys required to be an effective sales coach:
1. Focus Beyond the Outcome
Do you find yourself talking too much about “the numbers” with your team? If your team is in a frenzy trying to make their numbers, this could be the fault of a misguided management process. Instead, you should spend your time thoughtfully diagnosing your team’s behaviors so they can focus on sharpening their sales skills. Then, making their numbers will happen as the result of good behaviors and habits. In effect, their sales results will come naturally and more consistently.
2. Process is the Answer
No one can actually do the result, but they can do the process. Results will happen when a process is well-executed. By continually improving your processes, you can always improve your results. When management overly focuses on results, this suggests they don’t have a good process. Using a solution-oriented approach to help your team improve their process is a central component to becoming a great sales coach.
3. Learn to Dialogue
Leaders have the power to open up dialogue or shut it down. Statements such as, “here’s how I want it done” can backfire. It removes the opportunity for others to contribute their ideas. An open-ended opinion or idea from the coach can stimulate conversation, as opposed to imposing expectations which can shut it down.
4. Coach the Gap
The “gap” is the space between where your salespeople are today and where they want to be. Put another way, it is the space between what people know and what they don’t realize is possible. We can’t assume our salespeople know where they are or where they need to be. This can only be determined through clear communication and dialogue.
Instead of sharing what you perceive to be the solution, first diagnose any gaps that may exist in their behavior. Then you can discuss a process to get them on a path to full development.
5. Develop Solution Oriented Questions
The central theme of coaching sessions is your ability to ask well-placed questions. Great questions raise awareness and challenge perceptions. They can empower your salespeople to take ownership and solve their own problems. Of course, this must be done in an environment that allows personal growth. An open, welcoming environment allows you to get to the heart of significant issues and helps avoid superficial conversations.
Instead of “managing” your team, consider coaching them using these principles instead. For more dialogue on becoming a great sales coach, please feel free to reach out.