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Sales coaching is a tough gig

Sales coaching is a tough gig

Sales Coaching is a tough gig

I had an epiphany this morning about sales coaching.

In sales coaching we cater for 2 main audiences – the business owner, sales director / sales manager and the sales team / sales executive (or whatever other business development title)

When we speak with the former, diagnostics has usually already taken place in that the owner/ sales director understands that there is a need to improve performance of the team or individual.

Within that, they might already have a predetermined idea as to how long the process of coaching will take.

I work with some organisations where sales coaching is a constant – but not many and most see the process as short and sharp – without the shock.

When we engage with the later it is normally at the moment of peak anxiety because lets face it people have a resistance or reactance to any kind of change.

The perspective:  “The way that you have been doing things for the last x months/years in sales, needs to change” can also be interpreted (sometimes accurately) as “You’re not really good enough.”

Sales directors and business owners prefer (and often demand) a speedy rate of change – remember that old idiom…pick only 2 from these 3 GOOD, FAST, CHEAP?

(Often the problem that they seek to address is hidden behind another problem which is in need of more immediate attention.)

I have recently undertaken sales coaching sessions in Belfast where I use the example of the driving test – once passed, the driver becomes increasingly worse, relying heavily on sub conscious  / unconscious behaviours and traits.

Do you always mirror, signal, manoeuvre…?

(Really? Always…?)

Our interpersonal and emotional behaviours are fairly well fixed by a young age – our professional and work related ones, over our 20s and 30s….I’m making that up of course but according to research undertaken by Duke University in 2006, almost 50% of everything we do is habitual….that’s 6 hours every working day we act on previous behaviour.

For sales coaching to be effective you need things to work in your favour (IMHO)

1. Set realistic expectations
Be realistic about the starting point and the possible destination – coaching and development is a long term project but you need to be pointed in the right direction at the very start.

2. Not everyone is coachable
Using jump leads all the time is a sure sign that your battery is dead.

3. Time can be the enemy of a sales coaching project

Coaching is usually required after a problem has been identified – realistically that problem has been building over a period of time.  A quick fix will not be the solution.

4. Take an integrated approach

If you are serious about sales coaching then see it as part of the entire journey and not just as a one off. Sales coaching can relate to practical and emotional problems – or both, to an individual or a team, or both.

Include it in your business development strategy.

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