- April 1, 2014
- Posted by: Dave Kurlan
- Category: Understanding the Sales Force
I read several books while on a recent vacation and one of them, Edgy Conversations, by Dan Waldschmidt, was in a class of its own. Once you commit to the first page of his new book, you won’t be able to put it down. I know Dan and we talked about his book last month. He told me that it took him FOUR YEARS to collect the 1,000 stories that he decided to share – stories about how ordinary people achieved extraordinary success and how you can too. I highly recommend his book. You can learn more about it here. You can order it from Amazon.com beginning on Wednesday, April 2. I’m sure Dan would like you to order it only on Wednesday. 🙂
I’m in the middle of another page-turner, this one called The Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ. It’s difficult to put a positive spin on this amazing, insightful book, about one of the biggest assholes the USA has ever known, but I can take two unintentional sales-related lessons from the book:
- Who you know, how well you know them, how well-connected they are, and your ability to leverage those connections are an intangible that trumps all strengths, skills and strategies. In this case, the connections were mob bosses, FBI directors, oil magnates, politicians and the underworld, but they were very real and strong connections.
- Effective coaching will lead to all of the desired outcomes. In this case, coaching was used for evil purposes, but it was coaching nonetheless.
Let’s discuss coaching. It has been well-documented that effective coaching will positively impact sales. My own data shows sales managers, who consistently and effectively coach their salespeople, grow revenue by an average of 26% annually. However, according to Objective Management Group’s data from evaluating more than 100,000 sales managers, just 18% are capable of the effective part of the equation and even fewer are willing to invest 50% of their time on coaching. That’s a huge problem!
So what to do?
Your salespeople MUST be coached. You and/or your sales managers MUST devote the time and learn to effectively coach the salespeople. However, most sales managers have an ego that’s larger than their actual sales management competency. For many of them, their ego screams, “I don’t need any help. I know how to do this. I don’t need anyone telling me to do it differently. I’m probably better at it than they are.”
We coach sales managers like that all the time and the first session can be challenging. However, when we get beyond that first session and they learn how much there is that they didn’t know, how much better they can be, and how much more of an impact that they can have on each and every salesperson and each and every deal, things change rather quickly.
Are you providing effective sales coaching? Here’s an easy test to determine for yourself. We know that when the coaching is really effective and impactful, the following things occur:
- Salespeople can’t wait to come back for more. Are your salespeople begging for your coaching?
- Your coaching leads directly to positive changes in behavior. Do your salespeople change after each coaching session?
- Your coaching has a direct impact on a salesperson’s ability to close a deal on their own. Do your coaching sessions lead directly to closed business?
- Your sales force becomes exponentially better. Is that happening?
I would like to blog about the transition of a sales manager, where the individual grows from a supervisor of salespeople, to a master sales coach. This transformation requires and allows for unlimited coaching (usually 2x weekly) from me for one year. To facilitate this, I will make a coaching slot available for half the normal fee to the first two companies to respond (one slot per company).
Speaking of coaching, the April Issue of Top Sales Magazine is available for download today. It may be the best issue ever and it includes some terrific articles including one by me. You don’t want to miss “The Biggest Sales Skill Gap of All” because the information in that article is crucial for the master sales coach.
Image credit: michelangelus / 123RF Stock Photo