During a sales management training follow-up discussion, one of the sales managers asked an interesting question. He said he was frustrated with one of his salespeople who tells some “very long stories” when explaining a sales situation.
His question was, “How do I get him to stop?” He said, “I want to help him with his sale, but it takes me three times as long to coach him as it does some of the others on my team!”
The truth is, this is only one of several very prevalent sales coaching challenges negatively affecting the productivity of sales managers today.
According to sales managers in our sales management training programs there are 6 prevalent coaching issues.
Sales coaching and salesperson development is certainly one of the core responsibilities performed by those responsible for sales management.
Unfortunately many sales managers struggle with producing the coaching outcomes they hope in what they consider to be an appropriate time frame.
And yet in reality, with one important coaching behavior change most sales managers could completely illuminate all of the coaching issues mentioned.
What is this important sales coaching behavior?
Always use a consistent coaching process and questions!
Consistent coaching and questions create very productive outcomes. By creating a consistent coaching session environment managers produce a much more consistent developmental outcome.
The benefits are numerous but certainly include:
Employees who believe the manager can help but don’t know how much information the manager will need tend to tell long stories. By using consistent coaching procedures and questions, employees quickly learn exactly what information their manager needs in order to help them and they proactively prepare to provide it. This dramatically speeds up the session.
Repeated coaching behavior creates proactive preparation by the salesperson. They learn to anticipate what the coach will ask and prepare to effectively answer those questions.
Better communication promotes employee confidence in the developed plan. So the employee is more likely to implement the whole strategy or plan.
As employees improve, fewer issues and challenges occur. As salespeople develop they solve more of their own problems and proactively eliminate some issues from ever occurring.
As employees gain confidence in their sales manager’s coaching ability to aid them in better handling challenging situations and selling more, then developmental momentum is created and they can frequently improve on an exponential scale.
The best way to get employees to accept more responsibility for their job is by teaching them to make decisions and then allowing them to make them.
Using a consistent coaching approach that requires salespeople to participate in developing solutions and plans is a great way to teach them to think for themselves and make decisions. As a result, they will be much more productive with their time and selling outcomes.
At Learning Outsource Group we recommend a simple and easy to repeat four step sales coaching process which will optimize the coaching environment and session.
The four coaching steps are: Evaluate, Discover, Plan, Implement
Evaluate – Identify Situation and Need: What is the situation and what needs to be addressed, improved and/or repaired?
Discover – Uncover Causes & Objectives: Why does the situation exist and what specific objectives should be served in this coaching session?
Plan – Determine Alternatives & Actions: What specific tasks should be performed and when should those things occur?
Implement – Employ Resources & Tasks: Implement the developed solution and then close the loop by revisiting the situation with the employee.
We know that you’ll find the benefits of using consistent coaching procedures and questions far outweigh any reservations you may have about changing.
Great salespeople need great sales coaches! Decide to be one!