Why do you need a sales coach?
Thousands of published books and articles address the art of salesmanship. There are hundreds of consulting firms that provide sales training, typically to groups of salespeople and not individuals. All of these resources are valuable building blocks to a successful career in sales. But in our judgment, none provide the one-on-one, hands-on and granular coaching that will help turn you into a “Super-Seller”.
Consider this analogy. A baseball player can read books on hitting or pitching, watch instructional videos and even observe great hitters or pitchers. But none of this supplants the need for an experienced and knowledgeable coach, who can work with the player one-to-one to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and suggest changes where indicated such as in posture and hand position. The coach will observe the player throughout a season to make sure the player sticks to the coach’s suggestions.
Without one-to-one coaching, the athletes will never reach their full potential. For ballplayers, one-on-one coaching is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a critical tool to reach their potential.
This also holds true for a salesperson. Books and articles, sales training programs and seminars, and watching other salespeople are important and useful. But they are no substitute for an experienced sales coach, who assesses your strengths and weaknesses, and helps you to improve your sales techniques. A sales coach can help you prepare and even role play so that you are prepared for every eventuality likely to happen in an important sales call. As with athletes, coaching is not a sign of weakness. It is the pathway to fulfilling your potential.
Sales training and sales coaching are different. Sales coaching complements sales training. It also reinforces in a powerful way the principles and techniques learned during sales training. The “Forgetting Curve”, or the “Ebbinghaus Curve of Forgetting”, is a well-established and influential memory model. It shows that the steepest drop in memory happens quickly after learning. Other studies support this conclusion. Here are two examples:
“Without follow-up, sales people will lose 80-90 percent of what they learned in training within a month.”
– Sales Alliance
“90%+ will transfer new skills into practice as a result of theory, demonstration, practice, feedback and on-going coaching.”
– Peter Stuckey, Training and Consultancy
The case for sales coaching, following sales training, is compelling!
The three key elements of sales success
We have learned three key principles through our own selling efforts and coaching others. To be successful as a salesperson, you must quickly establish the following with your potential customer:
- The customer must like you.
- The customer must have trust and confidence in your knowledge, judgment and integrity.
- The customer must need or want the product or service you are selling.
If the potential customer likes you, trusts you and needs or wants your product or service, you will have built a relationship that will most likely leading to new business. Thus, you need to think carefully how to accomplish these three goals. A sales coach, through one-to-one sessions, will provide invaluable assistance just as a batting or pitching coach can with a baseball player. Sales coaching will help you to fulfill your potential!
How we coach you to increase sales
As sales coaches, we provide coaching that increases your likelihood of success. To accomplish this, we do the following:
- We collaborate with you to create a development plan based on your needs and strengths.
- We focus of the “art of questioning” so that you ask questions that demonstrate that you are likeable and trustworthy, and that you genuinely want to help the potential client.
- We examine your recent sales efforts to determine why you succeeded or failed. We this information, we identify areas for improvement and coach you to improve your performance.
- We meet with you on a regular basis to assess how you are performing and to identify areas that we must work on with you.
- We will help you prepare for a sales meeting or presentation to a potential customer. This may involve role-playing so that you are supremely well-prepared.
Why should a company provide sales coaching?
Collaborating with a Sales Coach results in increased sales revenue generation. It also reinforces the behaviors needed to successfully apply the skills salespeople have learned.
We have been asked, “Why should a company provide coaching to its salespeople?”
The answer is clear. The ROI on sales coaching is well-established by a number of studies.
Here are three examples:
“The big difference between world-class sales orgs and everyone else – 84% of elite sales organizations spend adequate time coaching each rep every month.”
– Tamara Schenk in CSO Insights
“Training + coaching led to an increase of 88% in productivity vs. 23% from training alone.”
– Center for Management and Organizational Effectiveness
“Firms that provide an optimal amount of coaching realize 16.7% greater annual growth.”
– Sales Management Association
Sales coaching aids employee retention
Sales coaching will increase employee retention in the tight labor market we are now experiencing. By offering benefits like mentorships, executive coaching, and soft skills development, companies increase employee retention.
The conclusion? One-to-one sales coaching is the pathway to growth!
As the foregoing shows, the business case for one-to-one sales coaching is irrefutable. We have experienced great success marketing and selling the services for the professional firms in which we have been partners. We want to impart the knowledge we have gained through our years of sales experience to those salespeople who genuinely want to reach their fullest potential as well as C-suite and other executives who need to expand their businesses.
To paraphrase the singer John Fogerty :
“Put me in coach, I’m ready to sell today!!”
Coauthored by Marc Friedman and Michael Mead