How To Fix Broken Sales Coaching

Whether you're a sales manager, director or VP, you know the importance of sales coaching. When you're responsible for getting bigger numbers from your sales team, you must motivate your team to perform at their best.

David J.P. Fisher says most sales leaders aren't great at coaching. That's because in the past, sales managers only needed to focus on managing a simple sales system. They were more like mechanics than coaches, looking for places where a salesperson wasn't following the process and then applying a fix.

As selling has become more complex and technology has replaced routine tasks, the skills necessary for success have evolved. Salespeople now need soft skills, such as collaboration, problem-solving and communication in order to succeed. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we take a look at Fisher's coaching questions that can help fix a broken sales coaching process.

If you had to guess, what do you think would be a good step forward? People often know the right answer. They know what they should do or what to say. However, Fisher says they often avoid it because it might require work or discomfort. Or maybe they think it's a crazy idea and they don't have the confidence to act. A sales leader's job is to get them out of their own way by removing the fear of getting it wrong.

I have an idea for that situation, but what would you do? This is another way of taking the pressure off. You will have ideas for your employee. You're the coach because of your skills, experience and capabilities. Fisher admits it's easy to swoop in and solve problems but avoid doing this. When you let your team member know that you have an answer, do it in a way that lets them know there's a safety net if they get stuck. Encourage them to take the first steps.

How is that working out for you? Fisher reminds sales leaders to be cognizant of their tone when asking this question. You don't want to belittle the salesperson's previous actions. It's a great question to make them dispassionately evaluate the effects of their previous actions and behaviors. That's how you get them looking at what's working, and what's not.

Why is that? Keep the conversation going with this question. It's especially valuable when a salesperson hasn't quite hit the core of their challenge or opportunity. By asking this (sometimes a few times) you can help them take that final leap. As a coach, you can often see the connection that they can't because you are one step removed. But if you just offer them the answer, they don't get to take ownership. And then you haven't really created a change that will take root.

Sales coaching is more important than ever. When you remember that your goal is to create a conversation that facilitates growth, you'll grow in your ability to coach well.

Source: David J.P. Fisher is an author and speaker who focuses on the latest innovations in social selling, personal branding and professional networking.


filed under May 2019
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