Managers have always gotten what they model and what they tolerate. This trusted adage applies equally to sales coaching.
What sales manager doesn’t desire to hear their reps asking better questions during a sales call? And for good reason. Well-designed questions create the architecture for any successful sales call. Likewise, well-designed coaching questions are just as important for your reps to flourish.
- Build trust—the recipient intuitively feels respected.
- Foster collaboration—create dialogue, not monologue.
- Convey professionalism and expertise—communicate that thoughtful preparation has been conducted in the spirit of sincerely helping the other person.
- Provide value—bring fresh perspectives, relevant research, industry news, and business wisdom.
- Create insights—benefit recipient by creating new ways of thinking about current problems and opportunities.
- Awaken the reptilian brain—help person see that their current patterns of operating are no longer useful in a changing and complex world.
- Encourage a bias for action—feeling and believing that the status quo is untenable, the individual is intrinsically motivated to change, to try something new.
Hopefully your coaches agree that the above outcomes are highly desired in both a sales call and a sales coaching conversation.
The potential power of a question is profoundly amplified by these three dynamic skills:
Combining the above capabilities with precise questions, acts as an afterburner—providing additional thrust into an already energetic conversation. Accomplished coaches, and sales reps, have built the capacity to be okay with the natural heat, or tension, that meaningful conversations naturally produce.
The absence of this potent trifecta of skills produces low-energy, low-value, and anemic conversations, also known as sales “milk runs.”
The idiom “what you focus on grows” is supported by neuroscience’s learning maxim “neurons that fire together, wire together.”
Begin modeling what you expect. Commit to developing mastery with coaching questions, listening, and silence.
Your coaching growth in this area offers three prized payoffs: 1) By modeling great, your coaching self-regard will be enhanced, 2) Your rep will experience and internalize the power of this critical skill-set, increasing their confidence and competence, and, 3) They will transfer these upgraded capacities to your customers, which in turn, help boost the above six desirable customer outcomes.
“The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” —Albert Einstein
Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring!