The Five Sales Coaching Approaches
When it comes to coaching salespeople and sales teams, there are 5 distinctly different approaches.
Hi, I’m Michael St Lawrence with the SalesGym. We’ve been observing and studying how sales managers and sales executives coach their sales teams for decades. And it really boils down to 5 distinctly different ways we can sales coach.
The first one is what we call Motivational. That’s setting goals and creating an environment that attracts the right motivated kind of salespeople, it also repels the wrong types of people. The second kind of coaching is more strategic. And this is where we tap into all those wonderful CRM tools. Territory management, pipeline management, planning, putting together a game plan that the sales can execute. The third kind of coaching is more observational. That’s where we watch them in action and give them feedback. We observe them on sales calls or in meetings and show them better ways to perform. It’s usually driven around feedback based on what they did via sales interaction. The fourth sales coaching approach is deal-specific coaching. This is where we work with the salesperson in individual sales deals that they are working on. That can be creating a good proposal, giving them advice on a particular step of the sales cycle, it can even be about removing internal barriers and putting teams together internally to make the sale more likely to happen.
Here’s the bad news though. These 4 coaching approaches have a minimal impact on 70% of all salespeople in terms of the most common selling mistakes they make on sales calls. Those mistakes are talking too much, not asking the right questions, inability to communicate clear and compelling differentiating factors and they can’t start the call with a purposeful agenda, control the conversation that leads to a nice natural closing step. These 4 mistakes cause poor-selling results on most sales calls. These are the mistakes that over 70% of all salespeople are making on sales calls they’re going on every day.
But there is one approach that works. It’s called practice coaching and most sales managers are not aware of what it is. Practice coaching is based on the method that the most skillful coaches in the world use. We’re talking about coaches that train elite athletes. Because athletes train differently. There are major differences in the way that sports coaches train elite athletes. The first is they use a lot more repetition than most sales coaches do. They realize that athletes improve slowly and gradually 1-2% at a time. So they use repetition to their advantage. The second is they practice a lot more frequently. As in every week. They don’t send their athletes off to a 2 or 3-day seminar thinking that that will take care of all of their training needs. They realize training needs to be frequent, every week and competitive. The third thing they do is structure their practice around rigorous drills that build skills and talent. This is really key and this is something that’s almost always missing in the way that sales managers and coaches work with their salespeople.
At the SalesGym, we’ve been studying how to take this same athlete-centered coaching approach to sales teams around the country. We have tested and refined a method that is very effective at training salespeople the same way athletes are built. So it boils down to 3 things to share with you if you would like to build more practice into the way your sales managers and coaches interact with your salespeople. The first is you’ve got to build a practice culture. You’ve got to train both sales managers and salespeople how to practice together. This can feel awkward to sales managers and salespeople as first. So it needs real persistence to get that practice culture to root and take hold. The second step is you’ve got to train your sales managers how to become true practice coaches and not just relying solely on the motivational, strategic observational specific types of coaching. But to actually spend significant time each week in practice coaching mode. And finally, call us for help.
We’ve worked with some of the biggest companies in the world and learned from top performers and sales executives all over the world. And we’ll show your sales managers how to fish. What I mean is how to practice coach in a way that will break those mistakes that sales teams make and create a sustainable practice environment that builds stronger and stronger sales teams and results. SalesGym is the place to go to train and build better sales teams.
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