Sales Coaching – 3 Skills to Focus On

Sales Coaching

In any case, sales training and sales coaching is an important and ongoing process. In today’s quickly changing environment, it’s vital to continue to provide and refresh the tools your sales teams’ need to meet sales targets and exceed sales goals.

 Neil Rackham conducted a study that indicated that post training, if there was no coaching or reinforcement activity, there was a drop-off of 87% of the knowledge acquired. That’s a waste of 87 cents on every dollar (Rand in our case) spent on formal development efforts.Something to think (by that I mean discuss) next time you are planning budgets for your sales development activities.

While there are several areas and skills that should be covered, the following three skills are simply a necessity when it comes to sales coaching.

Prospecting 

If your sales professionals do not have a consistently full pipeline, making sales goals and sales targets will be difficult, if not impossible. In any business, there are and will always be periodic valleys and peaks as well as arduous amounts of frustration. However, one way you can make sure your sales professionals always have prospects to call upon is to use prospecting sales coaching.  

Surprisingly, most sales professionals rely on the most common types of prospecting activities such as networking and cold calling. Yet, there are several other ways sales professionals can easily create new business. Some of the best types of innovative prospecting activities are:   

  • Speaking engagements at industry conferences  
  • Asking for referrals  
  • Communicating with/targeting customers who are on the fence  
  • Joining and actively participating in professional associations  
  • Writing articles and industry publications  
  • Penetrating the existing customer base  
  • Making in-person cold calls  
  • Arranging face-to-face breakfast, coffee, or lunch meetings   

It’s important for a sales professional to spend a large amount of their time prospecting for new business. However, understanding and creating new prospecting opportunities doesn’t come naturally for most people. This means, it’s vital to the success of your organisation to use sales coaching to ensure your sales professionals are using the latest and most effective prospecting techniques.  

High-Value Questioning  

Since everyone has two ears and one mouth, it’s vital to ask the right questions and listen. However, not all questions are created equally, and far too many sales professionals waste time by asking low-value questions, such as:   

Do you have a budget?   

What are your business needs?   

Do you have any knowledge about our company?    

While these types of questions may get the prospect talking, they do not maximize the opportunity. It’s important to use sales coaching to instruct and guide your sales professionals toward high-value questions. High-value questions are designed to be open-ended and effectively engage the prospect in a sales conversation. More importantly, high-value questions will encourage the prospect to share information and details about their business that will assist the sales professional in positioning their solution and brand. A few examples of high-value questions are:   

  • What goals are you looking to achieve this quarter and what challenges are standing in the way?   
  • Do these challenges result in the loss of customers, market share, revenue, etc?  
  • Compared to other projects, how important is this project?    

Handling Objections  

Although objections are a natural part of sales, handling objections isn’t natural for most sales professionals, which makes  coaching around this essential. With effective sales coaching, you can help your sales professionals understand and implement the process of overcoming sales objections. One common and effective process for handling objections is explained below:   

Empathize with the client. “Mr. Curry, I completely understand how you feel.”   

Clarify the client’s objection. “In other words, you understand the value in our service, but you have a hard time seeing how it would fit in your budget?”   

Ask for permission. “Mr. Curry, do you mind if I took a few minutes to explain a few of your options.”    

When it comes to sales coaching, there is no silver bullet. But intense focus and alignment coupled with the right kinds of conversations with individual sales team members can make a dramatic difference in the output of your sales organization. Give it try.

  

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