How then do we make coaching conversations productive, efficient, and less stressful for the coach and coachee? With a bit of forward thinking and action and these 3 sales coaching hacks:

We all know we are supposed to coach our associates, don’t we?
After all, research proves over and over again how important individual coaching is to sales reps’ performance, even good and great performers. In fact, a recent study by Knowledge Tree, found sales representatives who receive at least three hours of coaching per month exceed their selling goals by 7%, increase revenue by 25%, and increase close rate by 70%! Nice results, aren’t they? Why then do the following reasons (ahem…excuses) continue to be stated over and over again?
I don’t have time because:

  • I have my own accounts and the customers come first.
  • The other projects I have taken all my time.
  • My reps are experienced and don’t need regular coaching; they let me know when they need something.
  • I only hire the best, and they know what to do.

Enough with the excuses! We can make the time for coaching conversations if we find it important enough.

First, let’s review what coaching really is. Coaching is an ongoing conversation focused on the rep (the coachee), and their goals, dreams, challenges, skills, questions, and future, to develop their ability to succeed at higher and higher levels. Coaching is not a conversation focused on policies or products, nor is it a performance evaluation, a corrective as the main objective, or “tell” focused. How then do we make coaching conversations productive, efficient, and less stressful for the coach and coachee? With a bit of forward thinking and action and these 3 sales coaching hacks:

Develop your reps’ problem solving skills. Think about the number of hours spent on solving problems for your reps. Most coaches spend 50-70% of their time with reps, solving their problems for them. When you equip them to become better problem solvers, your time can be spent on future planning and growing sales. Strengthen their problem solving skills and save yourself a lot of time and headaches.

Focus on one topic, activity, or goal each conversation.Don’t overload the conversation and dilute the key message, value or effectiveness. Do not make the conversations focused on correction – discuss goals, future plans, skills that are working well for them, and areas they want to strengthen. Determine the coaching conversation framework  you will follow to guide and focus the discussion. Key components of your conversation should include the following points:

  • Ask questions to confirm or clarify information on the topic
  • Educate, explain, debate
  • Work through concerns or objections
  • End each conversation by determining a specific commitment to the actions theywill take. Action with timeframes and a confirmation of your commitment to them without taking responsibility for the action.

Share the prep with the rep. Instead of gathering all the data you may need for your topic or ongoing reviews, request the rep to come prepared with:

  • Goal updates with specific metrics to validate progress
  • Key questions they have
  • Their plan for the next week

Questions you may adopt as a regular part of your coaching conversations:

  • What has been your biggest win this past week?
  • What’s your biggest expected obstacle to executing your plan and activities for the next week?
  • What opportunities have you noticed from the conversations with your prospects and buyers?
  • What progress have you made on your key goals?
  • If they are not happy with the progress or results at this time:
    • What circumstances produced the results at this time?
    • What can you do differently?
    • How can I support the activities you need to take this next week?

To coach effectively and consistently takes effort on your end. These hacks will save you time and make it easier for you and the coachee to find value in the conversation.  If you don’t make growth of each rep on your team a priority, plan on spending more time putting out fires, hiring new reps, and nursing headaches.


About the author

Nancy Bleeke

Sales expert Nancy Bleeke helps companies and individuals increase sales 5 to 25 percent…

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