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Nevertheless, many sales leaders still do not adequately coach their staff, while others attempt to, but fail to get the results they are looking for. Here, we take a look at seven of the best sales coaching tips that you should put into action today, in order to get the most from your team.
1. Clearly Define Your Coaching Goals
Before actually beginning the coaching process, you need to clearly define what you expect that process to look like and be specific about what coaches will need to do. Perhaps more importantly, you also need to outline exactly what you are hoping to achieve, preferably with some measurable aims or targets to work towards.
Once you have established your coaching goals and have a shared definition of what coaching actually entails, your sales leaders will immediately be better equipped to carry out their role.
2. Treat Sales Staff As Individuals
One of the best pieces of advice a sales coach can follow is to treat every staff member as a unique individual, and to understand that a one size fits all approach will not work. Each sales rep will have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own personality, their own motivations and their own aspirations.
“To be a highly effective coach, you need to understand the natural abilities of each person,” says Matt Sunshine from the Center for Sales Strategy. “This means creating strategies to maximize their innate strengths.”
3. Make Sure Coaching Is Continuous
Research from the Sales Management Association found that the single biggest obstacle to coaching is sales leaders not having enough time. This highlights a common problem, because too many managers view coaching as something that can be allocated a certain timeslot. In reality, however, coaching needs to be constant.
In particular, coaching needs to continuously reinforce the information learned during sales training. A study carried out by Neil Rackham found that, without post-training coaching, 87 percent of all new information is lost.
4. Watch Staff Performing Their Job
Quality coaching requires sales staff to be given feedback on their performance, and there are certain performance metrics that can help with this. However, leaders should also sit in on sales calls, or watch as reps interact with customers on the floor, so they can get a first-hand look at staff in action.
Observing staff actually performing their roles can reveal weaknesses that metrics do not necessarily show, and allow instant feedback to be given, rather than waiting for more formal feedback sessions.
5. Encourage Staff to Self Assess
In many cases, it is easier to correct employee behaviour if the employee in question comes to the realisation they need to change by themselves. For this reason, sales leaders should try to create an atmosphere where self assessment is encouraged and where self discovery becomes a key aim.
Coaches should ask staff to come to formal evaluations prepared, with suggestions for how they can improve. In addition, during one on one meetings, coaches should spend more time listening than talking.
6. Work With Sales Reps to Set Goals
In order to encourage staff improvements, you need to set targets for them to work towards. Ideally, these goals should be mutually agreed, so that sales reps actually feel motivated to work towards them.
“Defining the right goals and strategies is crucial for seller success,” says Mike Schultz, President of RAIN Group and a renowned sales expert. “When a sales coach is able to pinpoint a seller’s motivation, the coachee becomes dedicated to action plans [and] perseveres in the face of obstacles.”
7. Coaches Should Lead By Example
Finally, all members of staff who are given coaching responsibilities must accept and embrace the fact that they are role models to the rest of their team. As a result, they must recognise that their actions have direct consequences and the people they are coaching will look at them for guidance.
Coaches should try to be the kind of person a sales rep can look up to. Before every action, a sensible tip would be to briefly consider whether you would want a member of your team to do what you are about to do.
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