Have you ever achieved more than you thought possible? Did someone help you realize your potential?
While growing my career, an incredible leader appeared – a true mentor and coach. He was intelligent, passionate, and caring. He had exceptionally high expectations for me and believed we could achieve them together. He made me think it was possible, too. He knew my strengths, and he knew areas that needed development. Rarely did he dictate how to get the job done; instead, he asked me well crafted questions helping me realize the best path forward. His questions were never judgmental; rather they were focused on understanding. Whenever we met, he would challenge me with his questions, so preparation was critical. It was magical, and he caused me to perform and achieve more than we thought possible. He did this with others too. He made us all far better.
What he did was not rocket science, but it was skillfully planned. He knew his direct reports better than we knew ourselves. He was keenly aware of our strengths, he knew how to help us realize where we needed to grow, and he guided us as a partner in our development. It was truly masterful.
Imagine if you could up the game like this with your sales reps? What would it mean to them? And what would it mean to their revenue production?
First, you must start with a coaching plan that considers everyone’s strengths and areas for development. To do this, you must:
- Answer the question, “What does quality look like?” Quite surprisingly, most sales leaders have not clearly defined this with their sales team. Our book, Level Five Selling, describes five levels of a quality sales call, making it easy to assess and coach.
- Be proactive. Most sales coaching is reactive, which isn’t as effective at improving an individual’s activities and behaviors as having a specific plan for their development.
- Stay the course, working smarter, not harder. I get it. We get sidetracked with things like projects, open territories, and administrative tasks. Working smarter, not harder, is the key, and having a coaching plan can turn your reactive efforts into coaching efforts that move the needle.
- Ask great questions. Coaches who drive over-performance ask great questions causing their sales reps to self-discover, rather than telling them what to do. It’s a true art that requires practice.
- Prioritize and practice. Imagine taking a golf lesson, and the pro gives you 10 things to work on at once. That’s ridiculous, and you don’t do any of them well. Imagine they give you one or two things to work on – you can then practice it repeatedly and improve. It’s no different with sales reps, yet many leaders give too much coaching at once.
If you want to drive record growth, you must get sales coaching right, period. The average salesperson spends 5-8 hours per week with customers selling. So, there is nothing more important than ensuring they are delivering a quality sales call. I promise you; it is worth your time.
Want to learn more? Join me on October 7, 2021, at the Sales 3.0 Conference, where I’ll be discussing The Five Dysfunctions of Sales Coaching and how to overcome them to be a masterful coach.
David Pearson is CEO of Level Five Selling.