When I started my sales career in 1987, things was different and simpler! Sales were a numbers game more or less! Call 10x people, see 3x and close 1x sales…Wanted to earn more, well you then just called more people. A 30% hit rate was considered the norm! Sales training was also quite simple and basically included some product training and maybe some cold call training from your managers. You were then pointed to your family members and friends, and when they stopped talking to you, you started calling "real" clients.
Back then we didn't have the technology thats available today or any kind of coaching benefits. Now in 2015, things have changed! Not so much as to how we sell, but more on how people and organisations buy. Buyers are more informed and decisions to buy are around 60% complete before a sales person is seen the first time. This is due to most products and services being near clones and the Internet and its vast amount of information.
Buyers do the research; they know your services and products as well as those of your competitors. In some research it shows that buyers however do want to interact with sellers during the decision making process, but they don’t necessarily want to buy. The challenge is that most sales people want to sell all the time, hence they alienate potential future buyers.
The main reason why top sales people and organisations use sales coaches.
In the business world, coaching has gained in popularity and with rapid growth comes questions. Some of the more common questions are: What exactly does a coach do? What are the benefits of hiring a coach? What qualifies someone as a coach? Is there a difference between coaching and consulting?
Selling today is tougher than ever. Buyers dismiss emails and phone calls from people they don’t know some 90% of the time. Still, salespeople keep clinging to outdated ways of doing business. I’m not a believer in cold calls, but heck, if it truly works for you…go for it. I do not believe that one approach, for example social selling, is the only approach to use these days. Every industry and client type will be different.
With business moving at such a hectic pace, how do you have time – when you have a quota to achieve first – to go it all alone? That’s exactly where a coach can help guide you. Of course, you need to find the right coach with the background and experience; otherwise you’ll be flushing good money down the drain.
The right coach will show you how to penetrate markets, help you with Masterful Sales Conversations, getting your head in the game, confidence and other tequniques to close deals and engage clients.
My sales manager used to say; " See the people. See the people. See the people." These days that's only part of the problem as even when seeing the people, many sales people don't close sales...
What Sales Winners Do Differently
- Was Professional
- Has Experience in the specific area I have needs
- Has experience in my industry
- Was credible
- Listened to me
- Collaborated with me
- Was trustworthy
When studying the above, which by the way comes from a study completed within thousands of buying departments and companies decision makers, the two main things that shows up and challenges most sales people, are that buyers expect us to now their businesses and have experience in their needs. The rest is a given but doesn't always happened during sales meetings and daily activities.
Here are 6 reasons why you might need a sales and LinkedIn coach:
- There is not enough business as usual. Winging it won’t cut it. You need a plan, the right skills and consistent execution. Sharing a few pieces of content won’t get you there. Cold calling and referals don’t always deliver enough, especially if you don’t have a large customer base or want to penetrate another market.
- You are too close to your own products and services. You need an outside perspective regarding your approach, skills and messaging.
- Shorten your learning curve, speed up your progress and achieve results more quickly.
- Brainstorm sales ideas and sales strategies. Practice sales calls, conversations and structures before hand.
- A good coach will expect you to “get things done” and they’ll hold your feet to the fire when you don’t.
- Consider that LinkedIn gives you access to around 4.5 Million decision makers in South Africa! Why are we still complaining about leads? Unfortunately most sales people don't know how to use this platform that is used by 80% of top sellers world wide.
Why Coaching Fails.
Sales training/coaching is often approached with a car wash mentality. Pull in when needed and come out the other side shiny, new, and ready to be a top seller. This kind of training/coaching might be fine for learning basic tasks.
Selling is not a basic task.
Not only is there a large body of sophisticated skills and knowledge to master, but sales training/coaching is often about changing the behavior of adults who are set in their ways.
Leading organisations don’t see sales training/coaching as an event; they view it as an ongoing process.
Role of a good sales coach
- Define: A coach should help sellers define both their goals and a path to their own personal New Reality, the personal state they most desire. Different salespeople are motivated by different factors.
- Execute: A coach should help sellers build and execute action plans, optimizing seller efficiency and focus. After defining goals and setting a path, they should help coachees develop habits; automatic behaviors that help increase seller’s success.
- Advise: A coach should give direct advice as appropriate to maximize immediate sales wins.
- Develop: A coach should help develop a coachee’s knowledge, skills, and attributes to improve performance fundamentally. Coaching must include advice to close particular opportunities and a focus on helping the salesperson improve his capabilities over time.
- Motivate: A coach should help motivate sellers to find and sustain their highest level of energy and action over the long term.
What results to expect from good sales coaching.
- 24% higher success rate on reaching forecast.
- 2x more likely to become a preferred vendor and trusted partner.
- Amplify behaviors and deliver 26% higher pipeline results.
- Drives performance and 30% more sales people reach targets.
(Study conducted to measure results world-wide)
Over the past 20 years, I have coached an array of sales professionals from various industries. The common denominator of those that are extremely successful; they were open to learning, not ego driven, professional and hungry to improve skills. Being a sales coach is the most gratifying work in my eyes. To see someone grasp an idea, new habit, and improved skills and then apply that successfully to his/her career, is phenomenal. Mindset will get you far, but you need the skills and activities to support that. Most of the time we get to busy doing the wrong things that we can't see what the right things are.
To your success in 2016.
With a sales career spanning over 25 years, focused on high-end customers and corporate sales, I coach, train, and drive performance that helps leading organisations and sales people improve sales. Except for my own successes in various markets, I’ve studied the top sales "Rainmakers" and organisations from around the globe for the past 20 years, and helped sales executives in many countries increase their overall abilities significantly.