First, too many salespeople are driven by their egos. It’s sad but true that many (although not most) salespeople feel they don’t need sales coaching because they’re hot biller salespeople already and, when they miss target, there’s plenty of excuses for why that happened. Again.
Secondly, the majority of sales coaches are total fonies. They rock up, do a presentation on this close and that close and all of these “sales skills” that may or may not be effective in helping your company make more money. The problem is this.
Sales Activities Must Come BEFORE Sales Skills
Consider this. What’s the point in teaching your salespeople the finest and most up-to-date methods of closing sales if they aren’t prepared to step outside their comfort zone and put themselves face-to-face with a prospect or pick up the phone?
If a salesperson had enough knowledge in closing sales to write an entire book but they didn’t know which activities they personally needed to focus on to close more sales in the first place, it would be worth precisely nothing to that salesperson or your company.
It’s this fundamental flaw that’s turned sales coaching into a dirty word. You’d have more success teaching someone who was eager but didn’t speak English how to close sales on the phone than you would teaching someone how to pick up the phone who didn’t want to pick up the phone.
Running The Two-Week Paid Trial Gauntlet
Here’s a controversial method to weed out those who are committed to being salespeople (and masters of sales activity) and those who seem like great guys you’d be happy to go for a beer with but who are actually too scared to pick up the phone.
Next time you hire a new salesperson, spend a day or two with them in the office telling them about the product and how you’d like them to approach new customers or potential prospects if and when they meet them in the street. Let them get a feel for your business and then send them into the field and to the worst places in the world for prospects.
Choose the most difficult territories and have them march up and down the streets, knocking on local businesses and asking to get an appointment. They should collect business cards or you can use an automated tracking service to check their activities.
If you get a call something to the effect of “people keep kicking me out, I don’t know if I can do this” you could reply with something like “perhaps you can’t”. Told you it was controversial…
If they stay focused and produce reasonable results, you have a committed salesperson who’s worth spending the time to train in the first place. If you were about to spend a load of money on a high-performance car, would you really do it without having a test drive?
The Power of the Third Party
So, you see, it’s not sales coaching that’s the problem, but rather most sales coach’s approach to coaching salespeople. A salesperson needs to be operating effectively and tracking and measuring sales activities makes sure they’re spending enough time in front of prospects.
Once they’re operating effectively, immune to the fear of rejection and eager and willing to find strangers and prospects, you can start training. Or, better still, someone else starts training them.
Having an external third-party means a fresh and authoritative stance over a company owner or sales manager. It just works this way. That’s why, when you were younger and your father was teaching you how to swing a baseball bat, you were much more likely to listen to the coach at school showing you his way. Coaching is a great idea. You just need to get the right people and that’s precisely why we made activitycoaches.com.