Coaching Part Two!

posted: Friday, November 5, 2010

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We began talking about coaching and how important it is both for each individual salesperson and for the company. We will continue looking at specific things that go into effective coaching.

As we have mentioned before, we often think of coaching or training as something that is provided when someone or something needs improvement. On the contrary, effective coaching should always involve positive feedback. There is nothing more frustrating than our accomplishments being ignored. While not all people fall into this category, most of us respond better to praise than to criticism. When people leave a position, it is often because their accomplishments go unnoticed. Let’s make sure we are not losing people just because we take their efforts for granted.

Every salesperson has areas that need improvement. No matter how long they’ve been selling, improvement is always possible. It is vital, if you want to see improvement, to not overburden a salesperson with too many areas at once. Therefore, pick one area needed for improvement. Address that specific need, and then move onto the next area.

When selecting an area for targeted improvement, start with something that directly affects the overall productivity of that person. For instance, if your salesperson is having a hard time adding-on then address add-ons. Improving add-ons will increase the add-on percentage, average sale, total sales, sales per hour, and sales to goal. If you were to just address average sale, you may not improve the other numbers as well. This is why it is imperative that you know each member of your team and his or her strengths and weaknesses.

In order to achieve the best results of your coaching, you must coach the actions and not the results. It is not helping a salesperson if you say, "You need to sell more." The salesperson probably knows that he/she needs to sell more. What they need from you is coaching on how to sell more. The most effective way to make any change is to do it in increments. Therefore, we should coach to make small improvements. If you establish a goal for one of your salespeople to increasing their closing ratio by 10%, then you should coach them to increase it by 1-2 % every month. At the same time, a good sales manager will catch their salespeople doing things right and take notice.

When coaching for improvement with each individual, always use company averages for comparison. You never want to compare one salesperson to another for a variety of reasons. First, everyone is different; more experienced salespeople are probably going to achieve better numbers then those new to the field. Secondly, comparing salespeople to one another only promotes dissension and may result in decreased sales across the board. If every salesperson improves at a rate consistent with the goals you set for each of them, then the company will be successful.

FINAO - Brad Huisken

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