Sales Leader-Coaches: Make Training Your Competitive Advantage in 2018
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Regular, disciplined training is considered critical to quality performance in most professions, but is often lacking in many sales organizations. Why?
Airline pilots, athletes, surgeons, counselors, coast guard captains and numerous other professionals train regularly to receive and maintain industry certification and competence…but in sales? Zip.
One could argue, unlike an airline pilot, a mediocre sales performer does not put others lives of at risk. While this is technically true, consider that:
- Sales are the life-blood of a company. If the market rapidly grows in needs, then sales professionals who allow their skills to stagnate put the financial health of the organization in jeopardy. In fact, sales professionals who fail to adapt and grow put livelihoods at risk.
- Complex sales are very hard. Striving to influence another human’s beliefs, behaviors, and decision-making is arguably harder than catching a football.
“To be successful in sales today, you must sell beyond your natural ability.” –The Science of Selling, D. Hoffeld
The Sales Leader’s 2018 “5 Steps & Actions” Training Playbook
Action 1- Inspire and Motivate your sales team with your Big Vision. It might sound like… “We will be #1 in our region in 2018. We will accomplish this if we collaboratively train and grow our skills, knowledge and mindsets every day to our highest potential. Pros train, rookies wing it. If we are sales pros, we will train like sales pros.”
Action 2 – The 3 E’s: Enroll, Empower, and Expect the sales team to co-own the plan. Effective sales leaders create the formal structure, but expect the team to own the organic process.
Example: Manager sets mandatory team skill building meetings every Monday 8:00-8:45. Team members decide who teaches what skill or subject matter on which date. If the meetings are perceived as ineffective, they are responsible.
Action 3 – Inspect what you Expect. Build a culture of accountability by holding each sales member to his or her development commitments. No one is exempt. The training vision mantra is: “We can and will be better.”
Action 4 – Celebrate Successes and Recognize Top Performance. Create peer-to-peer awards to foster strong collaboration and esprit de corp. Recognize top performers on a weekly basis along with individuals who are applying new sales capabilities with great effort.
Action 5 – Strengthen and Develop your Coaching Skills. “Managing to the numbers” is not coaching and neither is telling sales professionals what to do. The effective sales coach has regular 1:1’s, is highly collaborative, and customizes their approach to each unique sales member. They are not a one-size-fits-all coach.
“The investment in training will pay off in the long term. People can’t deliver on what they don’t know how to do. You have to upgrade capabilities.” –J. Kouzes and B. Posner, Leavey School of Business
Total organization sales revenue depends on each sales individual performing at their highest level. Regular and focused training is the not-so-secret strategy of all elite coaches and performers. Be great in 2018 by executing the above 5 Steps & Actions Training Playbook!
Keep it simple, keep it focused, and definitely keep it inspiring.