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To Be Great at Selling, Find a Great Sales Coach


Great Performers Don’t Get There On Their Own

The greatest performers in almost any profession that I can think of have great coaches; the performers don’t do it alone. In an article from the Harvard Business Review, they stated, “Most sales and service organizations have invested more time and effort in the past five years in improving managers’ coaching of reps than they did in the previous 50. This makes perfect sense: research by the Sales Executive Council shows that no other productivity investment comes close to coaching in improving reps’ performance.”

Facing the 5 Big Realities of Coaching

We have seen the importance of coaching and training in our work with organizations. The 5 BIG realities about coaching and its importance to sales representatives are as follows:

1. You can’t coach what you don’t know.

Far too many sales managers stop studying and learning about selling when they get promoted to manager. If I have learned anything, it’s the more I learn about selling the more there is to learn.

2. Sales Reps get better after the manager does.

It’s an astounding fact.

3. The speed of the leader is the speed of the group.

If the sales manager is a lifelong learner and studies sales, there is a great likelihood the sales team will as well.

4. Sales reps want to work for someone who can teach them how to be great at selling.

If the manager can’t do this, the rep is a risk to find another company where there is a sales manager who knows how to coach selling excellence.

5. Coaching selling is a subset of “coaching”.

Coaching is a broad term and includes so many areas where the sales leader is responsible for helping the sales rep succeed. The term “coach” came about in the 1830’s; it meant that it was more efficient and fast to take a horse drawn carriage. By the 1850’s, the term was synonymous with “private tutor.”  Essentially, a sales coach is a private tutor, and the best ones are the ones who know their stuff, build a great relationship with their sales reps, build a culture of selling excellence, and hold their sales representatives accountable for their skill development.

Sales Stats: The Power of Great Coaching

  1. According to Ventana Research, “Coaching that reinforces sales training increases retention by 63%.”
  2. The Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness said that, “Coaching led to an increase of 88% in productivity versus 23% from training alone.”
  3. CSO Insights wrote in 2017 that, “Almost 75% of sales organizations waste resources due to random and informal coaching approaches, and only about one-quarter leverage the huge performance potential of formal and dynamic coaching.”

Don’t Be At A Disadvantage

Coaching Selling excellence may indeed be the biggest advantage your company has, and if your competitors’ managers are better at this kind of coaching selling, then your company is likely to be at a significant competitive disadvantage. Keep in mind that coaching selling excellence is actually a process that can be replicated.

5 Critical Steps to Coaching Selling

  1. Assess your own sales IQ. How else would you, as a sales leader, benefit by developing deeper sales expertise?
  2. Develop a blueprint for your team and each individual. Use your knowledge of them to develop a plan to improve their selling skills.
  3. Always be building a trusted connection with each person on your sales team. When they trust you and trust that you can help them, they are far more open to your help.
  4. Your coaching conversations should always be focused and collaborative. When done with that intent, those coaching conversations increase the likelihood that the sales rep will work on their own development.
  5. Use technology to hold your team and each sales representative accountable for skill development.

The Coaching Catalyst

Our Coaching Catalyst Process is designed to teach in great detail these 5 steps AND provide many resources that help the first or second manager be the manager who the sales representative needs in order for them to be great.

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