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7 Steps to Sales Management Coaching, Part 2

sales management Christmas ornamentIn the last sales management training post, I left you hanging like a cheap ornament on a Christmas tree (which I just took down yesterday and still have pine needles all over my living room)…

The truth is I was catching a plane back East and I just ran out of time to get all 7 steps into the first post.

Then Christmas came, then New Years….

Enough of the excuses, here are the rest of the 7 steps to Sales Management Coaching here.

This is a great way to start off the New Year and really get some momentum going in 2012.

And it all starts with good solid Sales Management coaching.

As you may recall from our previous post, the first three steps to effective sales Management Coaching were:

1.      Change Your Sales Management Coaching Mindset

2.      Ordinary Questions Are Sales Management Coaching Opportunities

3.      Identify “The Situation”

Now, lets get onto numbers four through seven….

4.      Uncover “The Solution”

Now that you have identified “The Situation”, you now need to prompt the salesperson to arrive at their own solution. After all, don’t we all love our own solutions than someone else’s?

And of course, the sales rep that comes to his own solution is far more likely to carry it out to its successful completion.

This is also done by the sales manager asking more open-ended questions:

  • “So if you could this call over again, what would you change knowing the fact that you didn’t listen much?

Since John has already identified “The Situation”, his reply would likely be:

  • “I probably need to ask more questions to my customer and fully focus on what he saying, that way I could sell him more effectively”

In order to get very specific on questions you’ll want him to ask next time he is in this situation you may ask:

  • “What questions would you like to ask to your customer?”

Once John identifies, the questions he should ask, you can have him write them down for future reference or you can discuss them more in depth.

5.      Take Action

Now you’ve both identified “The Situation”.

John has created “The Solution”.

The next step is to build a bridge from the last sales call to the next sales call and put all this into “Action”.

Simply start off the “Action” part of the coaching session by asking an open-ended question like:

  • “John, this afternoon we are going to see Mr. Y, how are you going to implement what we just discussed about in this previous visit?

And John’s reply would say:

  • “I am going to ask him a question about his future business strategy”

At that point you may even prompt him to tell you which exact question he would then use from your “Solution” session. To take is one step further, you can even have him write out specific questions on a notepad for him to refer to.

6.      Follow Up Sales Management Coaching

After the Situation, Solution and Action have been taken, you now have the opportunity to follow up.

So after that next call with “Mr. Y”, you can now discuss how well he did with some simple open-ended questions as well. Many of those questions can be taken from the “Situation” kind of questions like:

  • “How do you think you did with your questions with Mr. Y?”
  • “How much more do you know about Mr. Y’s business based upon your call with him?”

From there, you simply engage in a conversation about how John fared and suggest further solutions.

7.      Offer Sales management Coaching Suggestions

In your coaching sessions there will be times where your sales reps cannot think of a solution on their own. In these cases, you’ll have to make suggestions.

When sales coaching though, be careful not to dictate or demand. The key to acceptance of the solution is to get the sales rep to think that they came up with it themselves. Once you achieve this, then buy-in and follow up is far easier.

So let’s say you run into a roadblock with the “Situation” step above, make some suggestions, but preface those solutions with:

  • “It might be a good idea if you…”
  •  “If I were you I would…”
  • “You may want to consider…”

In some cases, sales reps will bring up solutions that just doesn’t make sense or you know will not work. In those cases, replace your normal response with:

  • “May I make a suggestion?”

After they agree, then offer your suggestion. This method is far more effective and less dictatorial than: “No, no, no, what you need to do is…”

Don’t worry about sounding weak or spineless, it doesn’t matter.  If they don’t implement your suggestion, then take it up with them by saying:

“I thought we agreed that you would do…”

The key work in this sentence is “we”.  By making the decision a “we” decision, the salesperson refreshes their memory of the interaction that you and they had decided together, not just you as their boss.

The chances of consistent follow up are that much greater now that they have taken ownership – a very important concept discussed in later sales management training.

So what do you do to actually coach your salespeople? Nothing?

Chances are that’s exactly what you do. But 2012 is a new year and this is your opportunity to NOT leave your sales reps hanging….

if you have not already, get our free sales management training and start your 2012 off with a slew of fresh ideas to get your sales team going in the right direction.

This post first appeared on Sales Management Training For Sales Management Pro, please read the originial post: here

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7 Steps to Sales Management Coaching, Part 2


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