Early in my sales career, I did not have any sales training to speak of. You went out with your sales manager – that was training. My first sales manager was old-school, and I was truly appalled by what he considered to be best sales practices. But, later in my career, I was fortunate enough to get formal sales training. And it ultimately confirmed that many of the things my sales manager had taught me to do, very early in my career, were not best sales practices – by anyone’s definition.
Luckily, those getting sales training today learn the right way to build relationships with clients. It’s all about figuring out how to best align your products and services to the priority business outcomes they’re trying to achieve, in a timeframe that suits them and with minimal to no risk.
And as a sales manager, you’ve likely spent lots of time and money on-boarding and training new sales people. But what happens next? Do you just leave them to their own devices? Or do you continue to coach them to ensure best sales practices stick? Your coaching style and techniques are crucial to consistently get the best performance from your reps.
What’s Your Coaching Style?
Think about your coaching style. Are you coaching on a regular basis with each rep? Are you coaching on an ad-hoc basis, in the moment? If so, are you telling the rep what to do, or are you providing the guidance they need to act on their own? Are you coaching your sales team to share best sales practices with each other? Are you coaching at all? And, what are you coaching?
Don’t Become the Bottleneck
Most of us know that if you dictate and tell reps what to do, then you – not they – will eventually become the bottleneck. Are you doing this just to feel important in your own mind? The best coaches know that in order for the right change to occur, you need to let each person come to their own conclusions. By asking them open-ended coaching questions, you’ll encourage critical thinking and help them change their behaviors for maximum gain.
You’ll know you’re coaching best sales practices successfully when your newly on-boarded sales reps begin to mimic the actions of your top performers, help their customers achieve goals, and meet or exceed their quotas.
Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter