Tag: sales coaching

Rate Yourself As A Winning Sales Coach

Rate Yourself As A Winning Sales Coach

This is a follow-on guest article by L. T. Dravis from the previous article 7 Secrets Of A Winning Sales Coach. If you haven’t read this previous article then it makes sense to jump over and do the pre-reading.

Take time to discover just how good you can be by taking time to understand how good you already are!

Respond to the following scenarios using five basic scales. A quick way to score this test is to simply use a highlighter to hit the number that most closely matches your response.

Your responses will not only help you determine where you stand on the following five critical elements of Sales Coaching but will also help you prioritize those areas you may need to improve:

1. GOAL SETTING SKILLS:

My goals are realistic, clear, compelling and support our company’s complete sales success in our territory. I discuss Sales Goals with Senior Management and with every Sales Player, individually and collectively, on my team. I supply lists of Sales Goals to Senior Management and Sales Players on a regular basis for their review, discussion, and final approval.

NEVER. . . [5] RARELY. . . [10] OCCASIONALLY. . . [15] USUALLY. . . [20] ALWAYS. . . [25]

2. COMMUNICATION SKILLS:

I communicate often, easily, and quickly. I double-check to make certain each person I speak with understands my position and I also double-check to make certain that I understand the other person’s position. I place a greater emphasis on listening than I do on speaking.

NEVER. . . [5] RARELY. . . [10] OCCASIONALLY. . . [15] USUALLY. . . [20] ALWAYS. . . [25]

3. JOB SATISFACTION AND PERFORMANCE:

I enjoy my work. I make a solid contribution to the bottom line with my Sales Coaching skills. I take good care of myself, physically and mentally, so I remain capable of performing at the top of my game.

NEVER. . . [5] RARELY. . . [10] OCCASIONALLY. . . [15] USUALLY. . . [20] ALWAYS. . . [25]

4. PROFESSIONAL RELATIONSHIPS:

I work to maintain a sense of balance between my position as Sales Coach and the responsibilities of my superiors and colleagues. I consistently challenge myself to improve my performance as a Sales Coach, as a colleague, and as an employee. I constantly search for newer, better ways to expand my skills and the skills of my Sales Players. I am willing to delegate wherever necessary and I freely share coaching responsibilities with Assistant Coaches and role models.

NEVER. . . [5] RARELY. . . [10] OCCASIONALLY. . . [15] USUALLY. . . [20] ALWAYS. . . [25]

5. TEAM BUILDING SKILLS:

I stay in close, daily touch with each Sales Player to coach, motivate and help in any way I can to increase sales and profits. I am quick to praise Sales Player successes and I never publicly criticize anyone in the organization.

NEVER. . . [5] RARELY. . . [10] OCCASIONALLY. . . [15] USUALLY. . . [20] ALWAYS. . . [25]

RATE YOURSELF AS A WINNING SALES COACH

What does this test mean? How did you score? Add up the total number of points and consider the following score analysis:

TOTAL POINTS – 125-115: EXCELLENT. You are doing a great job. Your goal setting skills, communication skills, job satisfaction and performance, professional relationships, and team building skills are well thought-out, realistic, and viable. Pat yourself on the back and keep up the good work.

TOTAL POINTS – 110-95: GOOD. You are performing well. Your scores tell you which areas need improvement. Prioritize objectively; select the single most critical area to work on first and take immediate positive steps to develop the skills you need. Put your ego aside and ask your Assistant Coach(s) and Sales Players for suggestions.

TOTAL POINTS – 90-80: FAIR. Review your responses. Pay special attention to high scores and low scores. On reflection, do your responses accurately portray you as Sales Coach? Would you change any response? If you wouldn’t change any response, change your behavior relative to the lowest scored scenario. A tip: The most critical scenario is number 1, Goal Setting Skills. If you didn’t score well on number 1, jump on the problem and get all the help you can . . . immediately.

TOTAL POINTS – 75 or LESS: TIME FOR A CHANGE? If you are not suffering some sort of temporary setback (domestic problem, health problem, personality clash at home or on the job, short-term financial crisis, etc.), stop what you are doing and discuss your situation with someone you trust. If you’re unable to immediately change your responses to these scenarios, you should seriously consider stepping aside in favor of someone else in the organization who is better equipped to perform as a Sales Coach.

Copyright © 2008 by l.t. Dravis. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at LTDAssociates@msn.com (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/L._T._Dravis/204600

http://EzineArticles.com/?7-Secrets-Of-A-Winning-Sales-Coach&id=1446994

Header Photo by 472301 (Pixabay)
7 Secrets Of A Winning Sales Coach

7 Secrets Of A Winning Sales Coach

Guest Article By L. T. Dravis

I recently heard a fascinating story from a Sales Coach who told me how he succeeded in overcoming some significant challenges when he was recruited as a rookie sales manager for a major-brand forklift dealership in the late 1990s. Despite the brand name and the brand’s reputation for quality and excellent resale value, the dealer’s sales record for new, reconditioned, and used forklifts was abominable and had been lousy for quite some time.

At this Sales Manager’s request, I’ve agreed to keep him anonymous, so for our purposes, I’ll just refer to him as George.

George had been the number one salesman for a southern California forklift company selling more units in his territory in a month than most of his competitors sold in a quarter. George was relatively well known throughout the industry, so a failing dealership in the northwest desperately needed to sell or die, so management went after George like the hare chasing the tortoise.

Well, this was nothing new for George. He’d been recruited for years by dozens of other dealers all over the country. But the dealership in the NorthWest was something else. Sales had been slipping for several years, market share had plummeted to historic lows, and the service and parts departments were experiencing a severe revenue shortfall due to the cumulative, drop-off in overall new, reconditioned, and used forklift sales. So, the dealer principal called George and literally begged him to meet for dinner so he could offer him tons of money and complete freedom to run the sales department anyway he saw fit.

George is anything but dense. So he looked at this opportunity for what it could be, not for what it seemed to be. The new job would undoubtedly be a tough challenge with lots of inherent risk of failure. On the other hand, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When he looked at the new job’s potential, George realized he had nothing to lose. Not really. After all, if he could turn this company around, he’d be able to write his own ticket with anyone, anywhere. On the other hand, even if he failed, he could always hit the road and earn six figures selling forklifts for any dealer, anywhere.

So, he looked the dealer principal in the eye, shook his hand, and accepted the position.

George inherited nine salespeople with his new job. The only producer in the entire sales department was a mid-forties salesperson we will call Jasmine (not her real name). Now, Jasmine had only been in the industry for about five years, yet she was selling forklifts like there was no tomorrow. None of the other eight salespeople seemed to have the experience, training, motivation, or the character necessary to focus on much of anything beyond a draw, driving a company car, and taking paid holidays.

Morale had dropped as low as sales, profits, and the infrequent commissions check.

George immediately sat down individually with each salesperson to talk about what was really going on. He promised to keep each conversation confidential as he asked each sales person to talk about why they weren’t generating more sales and profits. He was disappointed but not surprised to hear the usual excuses for the poor performance he’d heard from salespeople for years, “There’s no business in my territory because it’s saturated with forklifts.” And, “Our competitors outsell us because their prices are lower and I can’t compete.” And, “The economy is slowing down, and no one is buying.”

Within 3 months of George’s arrival in the sunshine, all those excuses faded like memories of last year’s Grammies, and the sales department was selling new, reconditioned, and used forklifts like never before.

So, what happened?

What did George do to change things around so dramatically?

Well, here’s what he told me:

GEORGE’S 7 SECRETS

1. George’s First Secret – Do nothing:

For the first few weeks, after he became Sales Manager, George did nothing at all. He didn’t make any changes; in fact, he didn’t even make any suggestions.

The sales crew was delighted because they began to believe that George would never be as good a sales manager as he had been a territory salesman. There were two reasons for this unlikely attitude. First and foremost, the sales crew didn’t want things to change, not really, because they didn’t believe changes would do anything but make them work harder for less. Secondly, they’d heard all about George’s heavy-hitter reputation and thought it made them look bad, so they secretly rooted for George to finally fall flat on his behind.

Given the severity of the sales situation, the big question floating around the company was why isn’t George doing anything? Is he just lazy? Is this the Peter Principle in action? Is George not up to the job? Or, is he too much of a wimp, too scared to tackle this huge, long-term problem head-on?

Not hardly.

George did nothing because he was too smart to move too quickly, too soon. He knew that before he could institute changes to increase sales and profits, he first needed to invest some serious time and patience learning to understand the dynamics that had killed sales for so long at this particular dealership.

This time and patience thing took more than a little courage on George’s part. It was tough for a results-oriented guy like George to overlook caustic comments from Senior Management and pass off the disappointed stares flashed his way by the few people in the sales department who really did want change. Nevertheless, he stayed focused on gathering information, analyzing sales records and call reports, talking with salespeople, managers, department heads, and customers, digging for the root causes of the only problem that really mattered: Not Enough Sales!

2. GEORGE’S Second – Secret Build Relationships with Sales Players:

After George analyzed management support, financial resources, company image in the territory, facilities, equipment, customer service, parts and service support, product quality, and the company’s relationship to its factories, he concluded that he was right about the root cause: The sales team was utterly incapable of doing its job. Sure, like any warm body, each sales person was capable of taking an order for a forklift, but nine of nine salespeople weren’t trained in the skills they needed to sell significant numbers of forklifts. Eight of the nine obviously lacked confidence and direction and had never experienced any consistent success … so they had no positive history to fall back on. Nine of nine salespeople worked – when they worked – only for themselves because not one of them had a clue about the collective importance of working together as a team. Last but not least, since Jasmine had always been off doing her own thing, completely disassociated with the rest of the group, her colleagues had no role model to emulate.

George made it his business to continue to get to know each salesperson, both as an employee and as a person. Each afternoon, he would invite one of the nine to come to his office early the next morning for 15 minutes or so before the switchboard opened, just to talk. He provided fresh coffee, hot chocolate, and a variety of pastries to please any taste. Discussions were friendly, casual with lots of give-and-take. Over time, each individual came to learn that George wasn’t a threat and, at the same time, they began to believe in George as a leader and as a coach who could and would help them sell more and earn more, more often.

3. GEORGE’S Third Secret – Create a success role model on the team:

If you’ve heard the term “Stepping Up” then you probably heard it in the NBA or NFL. “Stepping Up” means that a top performing player assumes a leadership role on the team. Because Jasmine was the only real performer in the sales department, George decided to help her step up. He trained her thoroughly on the ins and outs of the Sales Coaching concept to help her realize that despite years of separation, the team really needed her to become a Success Role Model. George knew very well that the best way to transform eight below average producers was to get them to emulate the one strong performer.

George also realized that if Jasmine’s sales began to drop – for any reason – she would lose credibility with the rest of the team. So, he worked to coach her, subtly and quietly, because he didn’t want to offend her sensibilities as a top performer. He worked with her consistently because he wanted to keep her numbers strong. In George’s second month as Sales Coach, Jasmine was able to generate nearly 200% of budgeted new, reconditioned, and used sales in her territory. And, senior management and others around the company began to drop their doubts about George’s abilities.

At this point, we asked George why he didn’t merely set himself up as the team’s role model. After all, his sales history was nothing to sneeze at!

His reply?

“I felt that my example wouldn’t be as meaningful as the example Jasmine could set,” he said with a smile. “After all, even though these salespeople weren’t particularly friendly with each other, they knew Jasmine well enough to respect her abilities as a top-notch sales person and would, therefore, be more likely to emulate her strategies and tactics.

“We started slowly at first. In Sales Practices and Team Meetings, I’d ask Jasmine to talk about her week was going. She’d tell us who she sold to and why. It was just a casual conversation. No lectures, no pressure. After a couple of weeks, I began to encourage the others to interact with Jasmine, to ask questions, to talk about their successes and failures. And, in no time at all, we had our Success Role Model working to help the team sell more, more often, with no resentments and no resistance.

“Over time, I realized that Jasmine had become Sales Coach in Sales Practices and Team Meetings while I had become the moderator. Gotta tell you, I couldn’t have been more pleased that my plan worked out so well, so quickly.”

4. GEORGE’S Fourth Secret – Clearly communicate performance goals:

George refused to waste time with mealy-mouthed platitudes. Because he felt obligated to turn the company around as quickly as possible, because forklift salespeople work in an incredibly competitive business, George refused to take anything for granted. He believed that he owed it to Senior Management, to himself, and especially to Sales Players, to come clean and communicate his expectations to everyone concerned.

So, George established the following three categories of Performance Goals for the team:

Activity Goals, Behavior Goals, and Results Goals.

An ACTIVITY GOAL, for example, requires each Sales Player to send out a minimum of 25 mailers per week with telephone follow up calls within seven days of each mailing.

A BEHAVIOR GOAL requires each Sales Player to provide a quote to the customer within 24 hours of the initial contact.

The RESULTS GOAL that got the most attention requires each Sales Player with at least one year in a territory to sell a minimum of $100,000.00 in sales of new, reconditioned, and used forklifts each and every month.

5. GEORGE’S Fifth Secret – Set your standards high:

No matter how productive you are as a Sales Coach, George says, no matter how hard you and the company work to support the sales department, there will always be someone who won’t step up to the plate. George doesn’t hesitate to confront poor performers because he refuses to tie the team’s performance to the lowest common denominator. He focuses on the only thing that really matters: Consistent, profitable sales! If a salesperson can’t or won’t generate enough in profits to exceed the company’s cost in payroll, commissions, benefits, etc., George recruits a replacement and immediately cuts the player from the team.

If a Sales Player is a marginal performer but is willing to admit the shortcomings that need to be fixed, George, Sales Coach, works to bring that person to the point of making the final decision. This means they either ‘decide’ to join the team, immerse themselves in the Sales Coaching process, and start selling or they ‘decide’ to leave the company… immediately.

George told us that that the only thing worse than someone who resigns and leaves is someone who resigns and stays… so he never allows anyone to stay if they are already checked out.

Author’s comment: Sensible approach… no wonder this guy’s a winner.

6. GEORGE’S Sixth Secret – Emphasize dignity and respect for all:

Look, George says, after the dust settles, we are all just people. We are fallible human beings who make more mistakes than we care to admit. So, George makes it his business to firstly admit his own mistakes, no matter how tough it may be to do so. Because he agrees with Dr. Phil when he says you can’t change what you won’t admit, George expects Sales Players to accept responsibility for their own shortcomings. Irrespective of performance failures and character flaws, George continually reminds the team of his expectation that everyone – Sales Players, senior management, department heads, key personnel and, of course, the coach – will treat everyone else with complete dignity and respect.

George promotes this aspect of his Sales Coaching effort by taking the entire sales team out of the office once a month – every month – for a fun dignity and respect building group activity – go-karting, golfing, dinner, lunch, breakfast, something.

7. GEORGE’S Seventh Secret – Coach hard, play hard, and win:

George believes that his job as Sales Coach is just as critical as an NFL coach. Like any winning NFL coach, George recognizes that he has to stay close to the action. To be a capable, credible coach, he has to be visible to Sales Players, customers, prospects, senior management, department heads, and key personnel in the company. So, like any good coach, George spends a great deal of time each week talking to people, on the phone, in meetings in his office, traveling with Sales Players, in front of prospects and customers, asking questions, and observing how sales plays are won and lost.

As a result, George has gained incredibly accurate and timely insights into his performance, into the performance of the Sales Team, and into the real needs of customers and prospects. These insights, of course, have helped George set realistic team goals, reward winning Sales Players, supply real customer needs, and thereby triple sales within 12 months.

You can do the same and more… if you really want to.

Right?

EPILOGUE

This team thing is nothing new. We all play our lives out on a variety of teams … the team at home with our families, the on the job team with colleagues, the team we play on with good friends and close neighbors and on and on.

Some of us stand on the sidelines, watching and cheering… we are called receptionists, sales coordinators, service, and parts folks, truck drivers, and senior managers. Some of us take the field and compete… we are called Sales Players. And a crazy few of us do it all: we watch, we cheer, we train, we cajole, we motivate, we even play… we are called Sales Coaches!

As Sales Coach, your primary responsibility is to create a winning environment in your company, an environment that comes about only when you:

  • Identify precise goals… be clear and very vocal about what you want to achieve and when you want to complete it, and colleagues & friends will hold you to your goals!
  • Clearly communicate winning ideas to your team
  • Transform winning ideas into winning realities

When you clearly communicate your goals to individual Sales Players, they will begin to adopt your goals as their own. And, when your Sales Players understand the value and significance of your goals, they will play harder to help you achieve them.

And that’s how you play the sales game to win.

Copyright © 2008 by l.t. Dravis. All rights reserved.

If you have questions, comments, or concerns, Email me at LTDAssociates@msn.com (goes right to my desk) and since I personally answer every Email, I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/L._T._Dravis/204600

http://EzineArticles.com/?7-Secrets-Of-A-Winning-Sales-Coach&id=1446994

Header Photo by geralt (Pixabay)

 

Do You Prepare For Your Sales Call Like a SCUBA Diver?

Do You Prepare For Your Sales Call Like a SCUBA Diver?

SCUBA divers prepare more fully for the dive than most salespeople prepare for the sales call. SCUBA diving is a popular hobby and sport. It allows the diver to see a beautiful world under the water filled with fabulously decorated plants and animals. While the environment is beautiful, it can be dangerous if the SCUBA diver is not prepared.

Very few SCUBA divers have accidents, and that is because they are prepared. Before every dive, there is significant discussion and planning. The dive site is discussed in detail including:

  • What currents that are prevalent?
  • How deep is the dive?
  • What possible dangerous animals and plants might they encounter?
  • Which SCUBA diver is going to lead?
  • A review of various hand signals to communicate.

Not insignificantly, the divers also agree when the dive will be over and the safety of the ascent.

All of this makes sense. Diving is incredibly fun, but there can be disastrous repercussions.

Your sales call will probably not cause injury or death if you screw it up. You will be much more effective if you simply prepare for the conversation – especially if you are going on a sales call with a buddy.

In the worst case, a bad sales call could mean that you lose the order – and financially that can be devastating. It can also be a mortal problem for your career if you screw up too many sales calls.

Here are some suggested topics to prepare for your sales call. You should think of these topics even if you are making a solo sales call.

  • What is the major and minor goal of the sales call?
  • Who is going to lead the conversation?
  • When is the sales call finished?
  • Do you need to review some verbal signals to change course during the sales call?

Prepare for the major and minor goal of the sales call?

This conversation is probably the easiest and most important item to discuss during the preparation. You should have two goals for each sales conversation – a major goal and a minor goal. The major goal is your best outcome for the sales call. The major goal is the outcome that you are working towards and you will “high five” your sales partner as you walk out of the building.

The minor goal is the minimum you can settle for without being disappointed at the end of the call. If you don’t get this, you have failed. Failure is bad. You need to work hard to avoid this outcome.

Prepare for whom is going to lead the conversation?

With multiple people involved there needs to be some coordination on which person is leading different parts of the conversation. Your life will be much better if everyone agrees to this plan. Your chances of achieving your Major Goal are much better if this is structured.

A general problem happens here when you have your manager with you. Let’s face it, managers typically are not great coaches and wish they still had your job. In too many situations, they don’t want to sit there passively and let you lead. If your manager suffers from this problem, politely discuss it with him/her. If the problem continues, have him read my post on coaching, and then call him “Coach” repeatedly in your daily interactions with him. It is a sad reality of life that you may have to teach your manager how to be your manager.

Prepare for when is the sales call finished?

It is an old statement that you need to stop selling when you have won the order. The end of the call needs an advance agreement. Do you need to fill the entire time slot or is there some signal that everyone agrees it is time to leave? Figure that out in advance.

Prepare for verbal signals to change course during the sales call?

The main reason for your buddy to be on the call is probably because that person needs to say something important. You may have a technical partner, subject matter expert (SME), or your manager. However, when the customer says or questions something, who is going to take it and what is everyone else going to do?

It only takes a few minutes to plan a sales call, but it is very important. You will have more predictable results, if you prepare. Spend those couple minutes in the car before walking in, in the office earlier that day, or on a quick conference call. Being prepared for the call is not as important to your safety as in SCUBA diving but it can be just as rewarding when it all works out.

You may have other ideas of things to cover in the sales call. If you do, drop me a note at @soshaughnessey on Twitter or leave a comment below.

Photo by Ilse Reijs and Jan-Noud Hutten