10 Strategies to Coach Your Sales Team to Success
“Congratulations!” said my mentor over 20 years ago.
I was excited. After ten years of performing as the top seller, my boss rewarded me – I would make less money and work longer hours; he made me a sales manager!
As a new manager, I figured THE most important part of my job was motivating and training my sellers. While that’s partially true, this strategy falls short. When we train, we educate in a group setting; when we coach, we customize to the needs of the individuals. As a manager and coach, you must take the time to know and grow each seller on your team.
5 Signs Your Sales Training and Coaching IS Effective
When your training event or sales kick-off is over, you have:
- Safeguards to ensure that the frameworks and methodologies learned during the training are sustainable.
- A plan to help reps retain, assimilate and apply the learning to win more deals consistently.
- Agreed upon accountability for applying what they learned.
- Processes for discovering unique areas of each rep’s struggle.
- An understanding of different skills and aptitudes and how you will help each rep maximize their potential.
Recent research shows that sales reps who receive effective coaching are twice as likely to meet quota.
The Need for Systemized Sales Training and Coaching
- 70% of salespeople say they received no coaching.
- Only 8% percent say that the coaching they DO receive is actually effective.
- YET……78% of the leaders of the same salespeople claim they are quote high-performing coaches.
Whether one-on-one coaching is essential for a team’s success is no longer debated. Corporate Executive Board (CEB) states, “Effective coaching must be formal, highly structured, deliberate, and regularly scheduled.”
10 Rules for Effectively Coaching Your Team to Greater Success
Here are 10 rules great sales leaders follow to create a systematized training and coaching process that delivers consistent results.
1. Create a checklist: Pilots run through preflight checklists. Free-throw shooters develop rituals to help them repeatedly hit the same shot. Bakers adhere to time-tested recipes. So why should it be different in sales? Highly successful coaches leverage process, frameworks, and templates to coach their sellers. After all, how can we offer good coaching if sellers don’t know what they’re being coached on?
2. Be consistent: Your coaching efforts are doomed to fail unless you prioritize your schedule, commit to consistent meeting times, and actually show up. When you don’t, you’re showing your reps they’re not a priority.
3. Set an agenda: Your reps need to know that you’ve prepared for the session so they’ll follow suit. Too many managers confuse a conversation with a coaching session. A conversation is a casual ad-hok, give and take. “How did the call go?” “Need anything?” A coaching session has pre-determined goals, agreed-upon assignments, and specific deliverables.
4. Lead with empathy: According to Harvard Business Review, the two most important traits of a leader are warmth, empathy, and competence. But the order matters. Great coaches lead with empathy. Before offering advice, take time to find out what’s important to them personally. Ask questions like:
- Why is succeeding important to you?”
- “How will your life change if you hit your goal?”
- “What are some of your personal challenges with our new comp plan or working from home?”
Here’s a quick video about the elements of trust: Watch Now –> https://youtube.com/shorts/kTPdZjLDcEU
5. Encourage self-evaluation: When reps learn to analyze their own performance and build self-improvement goals, they become self-sufficient and can self-correct. You know you’ve mastered the art of coaching when your rep comes to you and says, “Check out my plan to increase my deal size!”
Ask questions: My mentor once told me, “Anything that can be told can be asked.” Prompt your reps with open-ended questions to help guide their self-evaluation. Consider questions like:
- “What did you do well on that call?”
- “Where could you improve?”
- “What did you learn from your mistake?”
Self-assessment is the gateway to self-confidence.
7. Emphasize their strengths: When it comes to feedback, first tell your reps what they did right. By telling them what they did well first, you’ll open their minds and hearts to show them where they might improve.
8. Record and reward sales calls: Jeff, a successful owner of nine home improvement franchises, admits, “I was stuck doing all the selling. I couldn’t get my reps to close a deal. It wasn’t until I went with them, and showed them how I do it, then let them show me how they do it, that I could help develop their confidence and skills.” If you’re selling virtually, record the calls. You can buy fancy software or simply use your smartphone.
9. Focus on a maximum of three things at a time. The brain can’t possibly remember 36 new strategies to incorporate into a sales presentation. In golf, there’s an expression called the “swing thought.” The idea is that when you’re about to make an important shot, you don’t have time to remember 12 different things. So a good swing coach will offer just one thing to recall, and that one key piece of guidance triggers all the other things you know to do. Do the same thing in sales.
10. Get commitment: “You can’t want it for them more than they want it for themselves” is the best coaching advice I have ever received. Once you’ve diagnosed areas of improvement, prescribe a book, a video, or a LinkedIn Learning course and assign a due date. If they fail to complete their assignment, don’t give them your time and advice until they do. Coaching is about engineering moments of commitment; it takes two to make it work.
The goal of coaching is to help individuals improve their performance and reach their true potential, but it’s just one of the four pillars needed. That’s why we created a new sales management training class, It’s Showtime in Real-Time: The 4 Pillars of an Effective Sales Coaching and Training Program, an exclusive invitation-only certification program to ensure that your team achieves consistent results. Check it out!