Although good coaching can happen “in the moment,” to get the best results, it’s recommended that managers prepare for their coaching conversations. World-class sales managers start by creating a short list of skills or behaviors associated with successful sales situations and helping their reps determine what needs improvement.
These same sales managers are selective in determining which customer interactions to observe based on the skills or behaviors their reps are working on. For example, if a rep is struggling with qualifying sales opportunities, it doesn’t make sense to go along with a representative to a product presentation.
Better yet, truly good sales managers help their reps line-up a series of sales calls that require the very skills and behaviors the representative needs to improve. The manager also spends time with the representative preparing for the calls to increase their confidence.
Finally, good sales managers prepare to position themselves at the beginning of each sales call to ensure the representative stays in control of the customer interaction – if the sales manager is going to do any selling, its selling his or her company – letting the representative build the relationship and work the sales opportunity.
Sales managers strategically let customers know they are joining their representatives to listen and better understand what’s important to their customers. This strategy tends to keep the representative in control and makes the customer feel better at the same time.
If sales managers take a few of these sales coaching tips, they will experience a more productive relationship with their representatives and see an increase in performance numbers.
Peter Long has over 30 years of experience in sales leadership and direct selling. 17 of those years were with one of the world’s leading service corporations, where he held positions as Manager of Marketing and Sales Training and Global Leadership Development. Peter was assigned for 18 months to their European operations to lead a team in realigning the sales organization under a new business model. Peter has designed and developed large, multi-faceted change initiatives; project managed cross-functional teams globally including the Americas, Middle East, and Euope; and has facilitated many workshops and seminars related to professional selling, leadership and management skills, as well as coaching and teamwork.
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