What is Sales Coaching?
Today most businesses’ (large and small) first exposure to ‘bottom-line’ coaching (other than executive coaching for senior management), is the introduction of sales coaching. Performance sales coaching is relatively easy to introduce, control and monitor, and generates immediate measurable results
Coaching in sales is working on an individual basis to make step-by-step, measurable improvements to performance and motivation. Coaching can reach the parts other training methods can’t. In sales coaching the coach can also share the sales manager’s burden, freeing his time to achieve company targets and objectives. Meanwhile, the coach works with the team to unlock their potential, provide support and guidance to resolve issues and facilitate inter-team communication.
Sales Skills Coaching
Sales is a high skill, high demand job. Being on top in sales means having success in a balanced life without stress. Sales Skills coaching provides focused sales strategies for you and your team. It can also reveal if low sales are the result of current sales strategies and company goals that are inconsistent with one another, or if you require sales management training.
An effective sales strategy comes not just from sales activities, but also from how you approach potential clients. If you want to sell consistently and increase your revenues, you may have to refine the way you engage clients throughout the entire sales process. That’s where Sales Coaching also comes in.
To achieve success, a sales person needs: – Advanced Selling Skills and Inner Resources. Knowing how to sell is not enough. Success comes from within. The salesperson needs to: build the internal resources to succeed; eliminate the roadblocks to success; eliminate procrastination, fear, guilt, stress and replace them with confidence and resourcefulness.
Sales Training combined with Coaching can provide ways to enhance performance and maintain a balanced life.
True success always includes matters of the heart and matters of the spirit. Customized coaching power sessions as you need them, either over the phone or face to face can enhance success in all parts of life. They are short, highly focused sessions ranging from fifteen minutes to one hour. Whether the problem is building a strategy or building the inner resources to be more effective, these sessions can make changes fast.
Coaching sessions should be custom designed to fit your organization — high end sales or the basics, be it:
- personal development to build personal resources or to eliminate roadblocks
- advanced goal-setting or balanced life
Professional sales is a high performance job. You have to be in top form to win. These group sessions get you there and help keep you there ie: at least ten – half day or one day workshops over twelve months allowing the participants to practice what they have learnt in the training and personal coaching sessions.
Some results with Sales Skills Coaching can include:
- Clarify sales objectives into manageable, realistic goals.
- Refine existing strategies and/or create new strategies.
- Develop new sales skills.
- Discuss specific challenges for individuals or an entire sales team.
- Eliminate unrealistic barriers that may be preventing you from success.
- Prioritize activities into revenue-generating activities.
- Remove the roadblocks to success
- Clarify goals that are achievable
- Build the confidence to win
- Eliminate procrastination
- Practice advanced selling techniques that improve your productivity
- Learn advanced rapport building secrets
- Learn the power of language
The 3 Steps to establishing a successful Sales Coaching Program:
First, the organization should examine the personnel available to complete the coaching project. Coaching is much more than a series of learning sessions and requires a specific skills set as well as an experienced, credentialed team. Some of the “people” questions your organization should ask are:
- Does your staff have the required technical and coaching project management knowledge/skills and time to complete the project?
- Do you have a committed, trained and well-briefed development team with defined roles?
- Do you have full support from all corporate stakeholders?
Successful coaching development requires a proven, efficient process for “resourcing” the appropriate practices and protocols. This process must include time for analysis, design, user testing, review, and revision. Without carefully designing a process that includes these and other necessary steps, you significantly decrease your chances of coaching success. Some of the “process” questions your organization should ask are:
- Do you have a realistic project schedule?
- Do you have a detailed project blueprint?
- Do you have a clear list of project requirements?
- Do you have a proven, written training development process for the key players?
Finally, do you have all the technical parts and pieces to make your coaching effort actually work? Successful coaching requires a complex mix of proven validated assessment instruments, coaching tools and techniques, and support back-up. Without these, the best-designed coaching program can become dead on arrival. Some of the “parts” questions that your organization should ask are:
- Do you have the coaching technical infrastructure to meet your coaching requirements?
- Do your end users/coaches have access to the necessary technical information and hardware?
- Does your coaching program manager and team have the necessary coaching project management and measurement tools?
- Is ‘technical coaching support’ available to the program manager and coaches?
– How to be a successful Sales Coach
- Put yourself in the position of each individual team member. Be prepared to see and understand the world from their perspective
2. Listen actively. Understand what is ‘true for them’, what motivates and interests them, what bores or demotivates them
3. Be prepared to make changes to your own style and approach as a result of what you learn.
4. Remember these three words: – respect, empathy and objectivity. Bring these to your coaching sessions – every time
5. Book diary time and a special meeting room for each coaching session. Ensure there are no interruptions.
6. Let the coachee do 80% of the talking, prompted by your carefully considered questions
7. Use open questions to understand, probe, challenge and develop ideas. Use closed questions to pin down agreement and next actions
8. Identify specific areas for change and agree how the salesperson will modify their behaviour.
9. Create a clear and definitive development plan to build on strengths and address developmental needs
10. Establish agreed upon metrics to measure the 3 P’s: personal, professional and performance growth.
Note: One of the first published case studies (1958) on the effect of coaching was on individual sales performance enhancement. The case study involved the coach working with the Sales Training Director and included the sales staff receiving regular group coaching sessions focusing on team building. The program objectives of higher sales, greater team motivation and reduced staff turnover were all met