Whether you’re a professional athlete or a successful sales professional, you have probably had some coaching along the way to help you develop your various skills. But coaching is a skill in and of itself—and to be an effective coach for your sales team, it’s important to do some training.
Let me share just a few of the ways in which sales coaches can improve their ability to motivate and to lead.
Strategies for Sales Coaches
Start by observing. Before you can coach your sales reps, it’s good to know how they work. All your sales team members have their own processes, their own rhythms, their own habits they fall back on. By observing these things, and matching it up with metrics and data, you can get a better sense of how your reps are doing, and where they need help.
Ask questions. Sometimes coaches think their role is to dictate; actually, it can be more effective to simply raise questions. Ask your sales reps why they do what they do. Get them thinking about their own processes, and encourage them to reflect on how those processes align with sales goals.
Focus on skills. Certain reps may have particular skills they need to hone—cold calling, addressing questions, follow-up, or whatever else. Hone in on the particular skills each rep needs, and work with them on one skill at a time. Trying to improve a lot of skills at once can be overwhelming.
Set goals. Coaching should always be aligned with goals. Talk with your reps about what they feel they need to work on, and set some reasonable goals together. Again, I recommend one or two goals at a time. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Look ahead. Your reps may be doing pretty well right now—but there is always room for improvement. Don’t rest on your laurels, and don’t let your reps, either. Instead, focus on some of the ways in which you can work together to be even better in the future.
Accept input. Finally, recognize that you won’t always have all the answers—and sometimes, your reps may have the best ideas for how they can improve. Always be willing to listen and to work with their ideas.