Sales is a high-pressure business where you are constantly being evaluated based on your results.
Navigating the highs and lows of sales work takes a variety of techniques.
Sometimes, a word of encouragement from a colleague or manager can help. In other cases, taking a short break to walk outside might be all you need to boost your motivation.
At other times, however, these techniques may not be enough. More structured feedback is needed to get your sales game back on track.
The Sales Coaching Essentials Toolbox
These sales coaching techniques are fundamentals that every salesperson can use to boost their results. They are intentionally focused on core disciplines and habits that work. While you can use these techniques to self-coach, they tend to work more effectively when discussing these ideas with a peer or a manager.
1. The Two-Step Recovery By The Numbers
Reviewing the numbers is one of the best ways to help your sales reps get back. In particular, this technique is ideal if you suspect weakening performance is linked to insufficient activity. Solving low sales activity gets easier when you use this technique.
The first step of the technique is to gather your sales activity numbers over a recent period. Ideally, choose a sales activity entirely within your control (e.g., number of prospects contacted). For instance, check how many prospects you have contacted in the last 30 days.
The second step of the technique is to ask whether your level of sales activity is high enough to meet your goals. You might have determined that it takes 100 calls to relevant prospects to set 5 sales meetings in the past. If you want to have five sales meetings per week, you need to make at least 100 calls per week.
Utilize this process with each key point in your sales process. If you are hitting call number targets but not booking 5 meetings per week, review your call script. Has anything changed? Are you skipping steps? Are you emphasizing different points? This holds true for client meetings and pitches as well. If your close rates fall off, review your process, record your pitches at various points and look for changes in your talking points. Have your manager or a colleague sit in to provide feedback. It is important to utilize data, tools and coaching to review, understand and improve performance throughout the sales process.
This technique helps you identify a “North Star” to guide your sales work. If you constantly hit your North Star numbers week in and week out, you are guaranteed to make progress.
2. Navigating Rejection and Disappointment Effectively
The pain of rejection and disappointment is a constant threat to sales performance. Given that reality, it pays to think of healthy ways to manage these frustrations. Every person has a different personal playbook of tactics that work for them based on their specific personality.
Help discover ways that work by asking questions:
- Think back to the last time you had a proposal rejected by a client. How did you feel, and what did you do next?
- Imagine you suffer a significant disappointment at 10 am Monday, and you had another meeting with a different prospect at 11 am. What could you do to refocus and get ready for the next meeting?
- Did you learn something from the rejection that could help with the next prospect?
- Was there something that was within your control that you could have done differently and could help with your next opportunity?
The key is to mine the experience gained in rejection to help improve your process. It is equally important to have a “short memory” when necessary. If you did all that was necessary to win the business and the rejection was beyond your control, do not let disappointment sabotage your next opportunity.
3. Mine The CRM For Sales Opportunities
If you’ve been active in sales for more than six months, you probably have many opportunities in your CRM. Compared to speaking with prospects, plumbing the depths of a CRM system often feels unexciting. With the right approach, you can discover significant opportunities there.
Guiding yourself or a sales rep to gain more value from the CRM starts with asking a few questions. We’ll use Salesforce as an example here, but these principles and questions apply to nearly every CRM product.
- How do you feel about using Salesforce in your work?
The response you receive can indicate the best next step. If the person is negative about Salesforce, take a moment to acknowledge and understand those feelings before using the other questions. If the CRM is viewed negatively, more training is often required. The emphasis needs to be on the potential of the tool for the sales rep to create success rather than for management to identify weaknesses. If the person is neutral or positive about the CRM, move on to the next question.
- What do you find most valuable about CRM?
This question helps you refocus on what is most valuable in the CRM from the individuals’ perspective.
- If you had to book another sales meeting in the next five days, how would you use your CRM or inbox to do that?
This question helps the person to dive deeper. Ideally, you’re looking to hear responses like “I would search for prospects that I hadn’t interacted with in the past 30 or 60 days.”
In practice, a reasonably well maintained CRM is full of sales opportunities. The prospect may have told you that last year was not a good time to discuss your offering because a new CFO paused new spending. After a few months pass, the situation might look very different. Also, reviewing your CRM may remind you to refocus on follow-up with prospects.
4. Narrow Your Sales Skill Focus
Success in sales requires a significant talent for prospecting, answering objections, presenting, engaging stakeholders, negotiating and closing.
One solution is to focus your coaching to work on one specific skill at a time. You might have a rep who struggles to engage technical stakeholders. They can veto purchases if they are not satisfied. Engaging these stakeholders is crucial to keeping large deals moving forward.
To apply this technique, guide your sales rep to improve their results by focusing on a single area at a time. By narrowing your focus, improvement will feel more manageable. After focusing on one skill for a few weeks or months, you can reassess the situation and choose where to focus your efforts next.
5. Inspire Excellence With Sales Stories
People typically respond well to relevant stories, whether in a selling situation or when coaching. A well-chosen sales story can help a prospect to identify with the subject and add credibility, or can help a sales rep understand the intent of coaching in a real world example. To apply this technique when coaching, use the following steps.
1) Take the time to understand what is truly holding a sales rep back
Understanding their specific situation is crucial. Listen carefully to understand both the facts and emotions at play. For instance, you might hear, “I get frustrated when prospects keep asking for more details even after attending several meetings.”
2) Seek out a similar sales story
Once you understand the situation, look for an example from your sales experience that might help. If possible, avoid choosing a sales story from a different context (i.e., an enterprise B2B software salesperson might not connect to a story involving direct to consumer sales).
3) Ask the person to draw their conclusions
Once you have a good sales story to share, share it with the person and ask them what they think. They might simply view the story as a source of inspiration or see some of the principles – either way, that is a win.
What To Do When You Need More A-List Performers
Investing time and effort in sales coaching will produce higher results. However, sales coaching often takes months. What if you need to lift sales performance more quickly? In that case, recruitment is a crucial strategy. Peak Sales Recruiting has a proven track record of recruiting high performers in sales.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you grow your sales team.
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Specialties include: Sales Leadership and Management, Sales Strategy, Driving Results, Solving Business Problems, Stakeholder Presentation Specialist, Growth Strategy Development, Relationship Developer, Business Development, Contract Negotiation, Influencer, Product Strategist, Public and Private B2B Sales Specialist, Public & Private Education, K-12 Curriculum, Literacy & Intervention, Brand Positioning, Customer and Market Research, Marketing, Communications.
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