In sports and other types of performance coaching, team members are shown—repeatedly—how to DO things, and eventually how to do them well. Too often, that’s what’s missing in sales coaching.
Imagine for a moment you wanted to learn a new sport like tennis or golf. Or perhaps you wanted to learn to play guitar or piano. So you look for a teacher or coach to help you. If that person is a good teacher-coach, then he’s going to spend a lot of time demonstrating what to do. He’ll demonstrate how to swing the tennis racquet or golf club—or hold the guitar. He’ll show you how to toss the ball for a tennis serve, or play sections of a song on the piano to show you how it’s done. Then he’ll hand you the racquet (or the guitar) and watch you play.
This is often EXACTLY WHAT’S MISSING in sales coaching. Too often, the sales coach spends most of his coaching time talking about numbers, going over pipeline reports (often endlessly), or going over goals and commitments and dashboards. Sure, that stuff’s important, but how about helping a struggling salesperson with any of the following:
- Knowing exactly what to say to transition from preliminary pleasantries into a sales conversation
- Listening to how each salesperson explains competitive advantages—then practicing with them until they improve
- Practicing better responses to typical objections
- Going over the 60-second elevator speech of each team member
- Chiseling down a three-part value proposition so it can be delivered with confidence in less than 90-seconds
This is the kind of coaching practice that builds skills and confidence. It needs as much time and attention as pipeline analysis and reporting. (In fact, it needs more.) This kind of interactive training generates faster improvement than applying more and more pressure on the metrics.
Keep in mind, we all learn faster when we hear good demonstrations. A sales coach that can give great demonstrations of all the elements of selling is going to be better at training sales team members to improve.
Remember the way an Olympic team captain creates remarkable gymnasts—athletes that perform well under pressure. They don’t focus on the numbers. They employ well-designed practice sessions with coaching, encouragement, and reinforcement. If timing and logistics present challenges, online sales coaching and online sales training courses are two ways to actively learn and improve without moving around too many other elements in your day-to-day.
Underperforming sales team members usually don’t need help reading their sagging numbers. They need more practice and coaching on how to DO their jobs well. Dedicate yourself to this kind of coaching and you’ll see your team improve.