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The sales role is going through a transformation process. Besides to sell what we have, you need to help customers understand how they can improve their business. To excel in this new sales reality you need to consider coaching as a core sales capability for the future.
Coaching yourself and your team
To coach clients effectively you first need to be able to coach yourself and your team. Coaching is a new skill for most sales professionals and it is not advisable to use your clients as guinea pigs. A realistic ambition is to develop you coaching skills first by coaching yourself. Second by coaching your sales team.
Coaching is an art you need to practice often to allow you to keep and develop your game. A bit like doing physical exercise on a regular basis to stay in shape. When coaching yourself focus on developing your coaching around challenges here and now. When applying it to your own team, aim to focus on external issues. Such an approach accelerates your readiness to interface clients as fast as possible.
There is a point in demonstrating your own learning to your team as you learn. You show that you take on the challenge to grow as fast as you demand your team to grow. Don’t wait until you are an expert on coaching yourself. It will delay the process to reach the goal of coaching clients.
Take coaching to learn coaching
Coaching is by many people seen as either negative or fluffy. Negative in the sense coaching is often applied to improve to improve a bad situation. Fluffy in the sense you have seen coaching as a phenomena tied to private life with little professional value.
To become an effective coach to your clients you can consider starting at a different end. See coaching as something taking you from good to great. Work with a coach specialized in sales coaching. Be open to focus on improvements areas representing a concern and something measurable. Set a clear expectation to your coach you want coaching and you aspire to learn how to coach others. By focusing on sales related coaching you are likely to develop a prediction, action and outcome drill from start.
Expect to invest time weekly to create results. This is a journey without initial short cuts .
Questions for you and your team
- What is the nature of the coaching we need to offer to clients as part of how we sell well- start from your client to define what you need to learn.
- What should I set as ambition for my own coaching skills – don’t start without a goal. It will be a steep journey.
- How do I bring in coaching with a positive tone into my team – assume a negative to neutral bias especially with experienced sales professionals.
- Where do I stand with regards to my own coaching skills – define a clear starting point.
- Where can I find a good sales coach – aim for one experienced with coaching sales professionals.
Additional reading suggestions
- How great sales leaders coach [ARTICLE] – by Forbes
- Customers need coaching not channels [BLOGPOST] – by Chris Skinner
- Don’t sell a product, sell a whole new way of thinking [ARTICLE] – Harvard Business review
- The dirty secret of effective sales coaching [ARTICLE] – by Harvard Business Review