By: Molly Depasquale
Are you thinking about sales coaching for your company?
Not all sales trainers are the same, so make sure you’re getting your money’s worth by getting the most you can out of a session. A large part of your success depends on how much-concerted effort you are willing to put into to the process.
Think of it as being a team member of a dynamic sports team. It is not enough to simply attend practice and listen to your coach. Action and preparation are what separates an average team member from a superb one. Putting in the effort every step of the way will ensure that the training increases your sales performance.
In this post, we will walk you through some things you can do before, during, and after your sales coaching session to ensure that you and your staff will get the most out of the experience.
Measure Your Status Before the Training
You have probably already done this to some degree (which is why you realized you need sales training), but it’s important to know where exactly your biggest issues are so that your trainer knows what areas to focus on. Do you have tons of prospects but can’t close? Is there not enough business in the pipeline? Preemptively measuring your status will later give you a clear before and after picture of what you actually got out of the training.
This before and after framework will give you more comprehensive answers to questions like:
- Are sales improving?
- Is your team using what the trainer taught?
- Where does my team still have room to improve?
- Are we moving closer to achieving our sales goals?
Having clear metrics and a realistic gauge as to where your sales team’s strengths and weaknesses lie is vital to a successful sales coaching session. It allows your trainer to tailor the session directly to your company. Your business is as unique as you and your team members are, make sure that this fact is reflected in your work.
There is a reason why the Socratic Method is still used centuries later. It works. Stimulate your team’s critical thinking by preparing beforehand and formulating a list of questions. Utilize the information from your pre-training sales audit to formulate questions specifically aimed at improving your company’s staff.
During the presentation write down topics or other questions you have that you want to hear more about. The Q&A portion of the training shouldn’t be punctuated with glances at the clock and busy hands beginning to pack up. This section should not be underestimated as a filler. Some of the issues most relevant to your business can come to light, as long as you and your staff aren’t afraid to ask questions or for clarification. Even if a question seems remedial, it can mean that part of your team is confused. This is a good opportunity for the trainer to backtrack and make sure everyone is keeping up.
Apply EVERYTHING To Your Industry
In most cases making everything about yourself would make you the most annoying guy in the room. This is not one of those instances. Your sales trainer should know that a “one size fits all” approach does not work, so think about how everything your trainer says can apply to the work you would be doing.
If your business is a marketing agency, your sales training program should not include a case study on pharmaceutical sales. Spending time doing a little research on common issues faced by others in your industry can go a long way. By viewing examples and success stories from others in your field, training can translate to your company and be implemented by your staff much more easily.
Think of Ways to Implement New Skills
Do not simply leave the sales coaching session saying, “Do what the trainer said,” implementation cannot be left to chance. There must to be a system to ensure that everyone is on board with not only trying new skills but also working them into their daily best practices.
Convey the value of the training to your team beforehand. Yes, some of the staff would rather spend their time making more sales calls, but what if they could drastically improve their chances of closing on those calls? They might be more open to improving their ways if they know how sales training may help them reach set goals. Have your staff prepare a list of things they hope to take away from the training. This way they have something to both look forward to and incentivize them.
Finally, use these tools to ingrain new, productive habits. Planners, checklists, frameworks, conversation guides, and other tools to improve your sales help to ensure that your team is using the new information in their everyday practices.
Praise Early Adopters
Give credit where credit is due. There will be a few team members going above and beyond to improve and use what they learn from the training. Mark their newfound success with praise and affirmation. This will show the laggers what they are missing out on by not committing wholeheartedly to the task at hand. One way to do this is to identify best practices being used by individuals within your staff at weekly meetings. Make the overall mood shift from, “I don’t need to change my sales approach!” to, “Well if he can do it so can I.”
Preparation should not just happen before sales training takes place. In order to ensure greater success, it is vital that you prep yourself and your sales team every step of the way. Use these tips going forward and remember, proper preparation prevents poor performance.