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S M T W T F S
     
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Syndication

 

Sometimes business leaders find themselves wanting to make sure that their team members get everything exactly right, but unless you’re willing to let them mess up, they’ll likely never learn.

Perfect situations don’t exist. Imperfection is a factor in life, but it’s also where our growth happens.

MAINTAINING CONTROL

Control often gives us the sense that we can force everything to work. As a result, we avoid letting our team members try things their own way because we fool ourselves into believing that our way is always the best.

In my own story, I landed an appointment with a huge organization, and I invited the CEO of my small company to go along. I wanted his support, but I also wanted to show my boss that I was working hard. I wanted him to see the opportunity I had landed.

Most importantly, I wanted him to support me through the unknown parts of the appointment. If I found myself struggling in the conversation, I knew he could help me out.

Turns out he took over the whole show. Instead of acting as a ride-along on my appointment, I was the tag-along.

I had been talking to the client for months, so he felt a little bit ambushed. I had promised him one thing and then given him something completely different. Instead of a meeting with a sales rep, he found himself sitting in a meeting with an executive that he wasn’t really prepared for.

MY PLAN

I imagined myself leading off the meeting and asking for his input along the way. I didn’t imagine it becoming his return to the glory days.

Because I wasn’t operating from a playbook, there was no real structure. The deal did close, but it was challenging.

If you find yourself asking why it’s a big deal, the problem was that it eroded my confidence as a seller.

Sometimes, because CEOs and entrepreneurs started out selling their own product or service, they have a tough time letting that go. They see a problem and they address it themselves because it’s how they operated before they hired sellers.

My CEO misunderstood my request for help and he took over the meeting instead.

In a previous episode, Kevin Davis talked to us about the challenges that sales managers often face, and the book he wrote, The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness, that addresses many of those issues.

LEARNING PROCESS

When I finally had the opportunity to go on meetings myself, I fell into a habit of mimicking what I had seen my CEO do. I shared the same stories, even though they weren’t my own stories, but I hadn’t gained an understanding of the problem I was trying to address.

Because there wasn’t any substance to my conversations, my opportunities started falling away. I wasn’t having a problem keeping things in my pipeline, but I was struggling to get them to close.

The old adage of the butterfly struggling to get out of the cocoon applies here: the struggle makes the butterfly stronger. If you were to cut open the cocoon so he could easily slip out, he would never develop strong wings that would help him fly.

You’ll never set the vision for your company moving forward if you’re busy doing the work that you hired your sales team to do.

A BETTER OPTION

We should have developed a gameplan before going into the meeting. By deciding who would say what and how we would build rapport, we could have avoided the awkward meeting with the client.

My CEO could have reviewed the questions I was planning to ask to ensure that I was properly prepared. Then, he could have assured me that if I got into trouble, he’d be there to help.

That scenario would have allowed me to at least try running the meeting.

The sooner you prepare your sales team to operate on their own, the more room you’ll have to grow your company.

Coaching is the correct answer. As you grow a more experienced sales team, you can add to is, and you can create repeatable success.

You will have to let them mess up. That doesn’t mean you ignore any train wrecks that are happening, but you can help them understand where they went wrong so they won’t make the mistake again.

Specify roles and responsibilities before the meetings so your team will learn to fly on their own.

HELICOPTER MANAGER

Sometimes, in the role of coach, it’s tempting to give your team members the correct answers so they’ll learn more quickly. Don’t do it.

Helicopter managers tend to erode the team’s confidence and they actually lengthen the learning process by creating people who rely heavily on their help.

When they discover the answers on their own, the learning will be more meaningful.

Send us your stories about helicopter managers so we can all learn from the experience.

“LET THEM MESS UP” EPISODE RESOURCES

You’ve heard us talk about the TSE Certified Sales Training Program, and we’re offering the first module free as a gift to you. Preview it. Check it out. If it makes sense for you to join, you can be part of our upcoming semester in April.

You can take it on your own or as part of the semester group. The program includes 65 videos altogether, and we just completed a beta group that helped us improve the program and maximize the information in it.

This episode is also brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. You’ll receive real-time alerts anyone opens an email or clicks a link.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple PodcastGoogle PodcastStitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Direct download: TSE_1057.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

In our work with sales reps, sales teams, and sales managers, we encounter many people who believe that sales coaching doesn’t work, but many of them fail to realize that there are 5 common mistakes sales managers make when coaching.

Steve Richard, founder of ExecVision, shares how to avoid those mistakes, and he suggests you start by recognizing that there’s a difference between coaching and training.

COACHING

Training is teaching someone to do something new that the person doesn’t know how to do. Coaching is helping someone do something that they do know to the point of mastery.

If we expect a rep to embrace a certain behavior, we have to train him. If we don’t, that failure is on us. [04:37] Then, after we’ve trained him, we have to overcome the “forgetting curve” which is a function of our brain’s tendency to purge information.

Coaching is the act of training iteratively, focusing on the person, and repeating that behavior until it becomes second nature, like tying a shoe.

Consider whether your organization is struggling with any of these mistakes.

1. FAILING TO DEFINE WHAT GOOD LOOKS LIKE.

We must give our teams a definition of what a call should look like. Include the key things you want them to say, the behaviors you want them to exhibit, and give them a target.

Give your team members total clarity on what you want them to do. [06:11] Develop consistency among your team members so you can hit bigger numbers.

Also, build a team of people who will identify these steps. Include managers, senior executives, and representatives from operations, enablement, and sales. A varied team can ensure that these decisions aren’t being made by people who haven’t made calls in a while.

Check out the book Cracking the Sales Management Code: The Secrets to Measuring and Managing Sales Performance for clarification about metrics. Learn the difference between activity metrics that you can control — things like making phone calls and sending LinkedIn connection requests — and objectives like having conversations with people which you have less control over.

Aside from simply giving your team members goals, give them a roadmap to achieve them. [08:32] How many activities should they achieve in a week to achieve their goals?

Many organizations have salespeople who are “unconsciously competent,” which means they don’t know why they are successful. Though it’s not bad, it’s impossible to scale. You can’t pair a new employee with someone who is “unconsciously competent” and expect her to learn the right way to do things.

2. NEGLECTING TO TRAIN BECAUSE OF TIME.

Most every sales leader intends to coach his team. [10:26]

Managers typically know they have to be more consistent as a team, and they know that the way to do that is through coaching. But they also universally say that time is the thing that prohibits them from doing it.

They have the greatest of intentions, but something always gets in the way.

3. MISUNDERSTANDING HOW TO TRAIN CORRECTLY.

It’s shocking to think of the amount of money that is spent on sales rep training. Sales managers, however, typically receive very little training. Many of them have never been taught to coach the right way.

Think, for example, of a sales manager who observes a call and then immediately launches into constructive feedback. Basically, he tells you all the things you did wrong.

When the sales rep hears it, his system sends a hit of the stress hormone cortisol, which triggers the “fight or flight” response. [11:46]

The sales rep either defends himself by digging in his heels or he puts up a wall and stops listening. In either case, it’s not good.

 

Instead, try the model that Jim Kennan recommends: observe, describe, prescribe. Leave the judgment on the shelf.

Listen to the call. Recount what the rep did during the call. Then ask a question that prompts the seller to figure out what he could have done differently to improve the call.

People value more what they can conclude for themselves than what they’re told. 

4. LACKING OBSERVABLE MOMENTS.

If sales reps can’t listen to recordings of their calls, they’ll have no way to improve their performance. [18:45] They will only have vague ideas of what they think they did during the call.

During the 80s, the Japanese beat us in the auto industry because they were continually improving their operational efficiency.

Adopt the continuous improvement mindset that served the Japanese so well.

5. MAKING TRAINING AD HOC.

Your organization’s training must be habitual. It must be part of the rhythm of the company.

Make your training such a part of the process that it becomes the gospel.

It can be as simple as listening to 5 minutes of a call with a rep and asking for reflections. It will do good things for your company.

Instead of feeling like sales managers have to do all the work, involve the sales reps in their own development. [21:15] Run call-of-the-month competitions where reps submit their best call every month with written commentary.

Give people an environment in which it’s fun to learn and improve.

“5 COMMON MISTAKES SALES MANAGERS MAKE WHEN COACHING” EPISODE RESOURCES

Connect with Steve via email or call him on his cell phone at (202) 302-3193.

Check out ExecVision’s Call Camp that breaks down real sales calls like game tape to evaluate what works and what doesn’t. It’s a free webinar that shares practical advice with sales reps, managers, and leaders to improve their effectiveness.

This episode is brought to you in part by mailtag.io, a Chrome browser extension for Gmail that allows you to track and schedule your emails. It’s super easy, it’s helpful, and I recommend that you try it out.

They are offering a 14-day free trial, and half off your subscription when you use the code Donald at checkout.

This episode is brought to you in part by prospect.io, a powerful sales automation platform that allows you to build highly personalized, cold email campaigns. To learn more, go to prospect.io/tse. It will help you with your outbound to expand your outreach. It allows you to set it and forget it. Your prospecting will never ever be the same.

Previously known as TSE Hustler’s League, our TSE Certified Sales Program offers modules that you can engage on your own schedule as well as opportunities to engage with other sellers in other industries.

I hope you enjoyed the show today as much as I did. If so, please consider leaving us a rating on Apple PodcastGoogle PodcastStitcher, or wherever you consume this content and share it with someone else who might benefit from our message. It helps others find our message and improves our visibility.

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Audio provided by Free SFX and Bensound.

Direct download: TSE_1003.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Authentic leadership involves understanding that everyone has a unique journey, and everyone brings some kind of baggage to the office. You don’t have to understand the baggage; you simply have to understand that they have it. On today’s episode of The Sales Evangelist, Dr. James Kelley, professor of marketing, talks to us about authentic leadership, […]

The post TSE 901: The Authentic Leader Model and Making Better Leaders appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_901.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 4:22pm EDT

When your company on-board a new employee, you invest time, effort, and resources into the process. So if you’re going to spend the money, doesn’t it make sense to put energy into making sure the employee is successful? The key is to help new employees feel like they already belong. On today’s episode of The […]

The post TSE 893: How to Make New Employees Feel Like They Already Belong appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_893.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 8:19pm EDT

Every sales professional knows the challenge of convincing a customer to choose your organization over your competitors’. We all understand the value of learning to communicate in order to be successful in business. On today’s episode of Sales From The Street, Thomas Chambers shares the challenges he faces in his role as VP of sales […]

The post TSE 854: Sales From The Street:”Communicate” appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_854.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 12:01am EDT

We all need coaching. Sometimes we don’t do the things or put the processes in place to get the coaching that we need. In today’s episode, Shimon Lazaro shares with us the struggles top performers deal with and how to coach these strong personalities. Here are the highlights of my conversation with Shimon: THINGS TO KEEP […]

The post TSE 776: What Should I Know When Coaching My Top Performers? appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_776.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 12:39pm EDT

Coaching problems? Basically, it all comes down to the situation the seller is in at a particular time. They may be having a tough time with cold calling or closing the deal. In each of those situations, tailor your sales coaching towards the benefit of the individual. Account Executives versus SDR’s First, it’s important to differentiate […]

The post TSE 612: Four Fundamental Areas You Should Start Coaching Reps In appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_612.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 11:30am EDT

Coaching is an important piece in sales but you have to make sure you’re equipped with sufficient data so you can better analyze and coach effectively. Today’s guest is Richard Smith and he shares with us how you can use technology to better coach people. Richard has been in sales for almost ten years selling […]

The post TSE 578: How to Use Technology to Better Coach Salespeople appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_578.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 9:25am EDT

Coaching plays a very important role in building a very efficient sales team. It’s also typical scenario in most organizations that competent, highly effective salespeople get promoted into sales managers. However, being a great salesperson doesn’t mean you automatically become a great sales manager as well. That’s the whole reason coaching is imperative, not only […]

The post TSE 434: This Is How You Coach appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_434.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 10:44am EDT

Today, I’m going to talk to you about sales coaching, specifically how sales managers.And here are the common questions I have come across. Should a sales manager sell? Or should he/she be a manager/coach? Should you hire your top rep to become your sales manager? Many companies hire a coach but what I noticed to […]

The post TSE 324: Sales From The Street-“Coaching” appeared first on The Sales Evangelist.

Direct download: TSE_324.mp3
Category:Coaching -- posted at: 2:15pm EDT

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