The Reason You Don’t Have Time to Coach Your Sales Reps
Simply put, you are coaching the wrong sales reps.
Maybe this sounds a little assumptive, but I’m basing this bold statement on 25 years of sales training and consulting experience. Without fail, when asking managers who they coach, the answer is always the same: everyone. And that, my friend, is a mistake.
It is not a mistake to care about everyone on your sales team. It is not a mistake to buy everyone a birthday present. It is not a mistake to consistently meet with each one of your sales reps. But it is a mistake to coach every team member.
Before I unpack this seemingly harsh statement, it might help if we get on the same page about the definition of coaching.
What is Sales Coaching?
Sales coaching, in my opinion, is working one-on-one with an individual to practice and eventually develop a new sales skill. The coach helps diagnose the performance gap, prescribes the developmental activities, supports the practice, encourages the sales rep, and holds the rep accountable to complete the process until the new skill is formed.
There is only one thing required from the rep before deciding to invest your very limited time in their development: Desire.
Change is hard. Unfortunately, many sales coaches are far more committed to change than their sales reps are. They show up for “practice,” dragging their reps along with them — like a mother or father forcing their child to do homework. But if a sales rep doesn’t bring desire to the coaching session, the results are disappointing.
Why? Because you can’t do it for them. If they don’t want to improve their ability to present your solution, learn to qualify more effectively, or work on whatever skill they’re lacking, you are wasting your time. Coaching can only help a rep achieve something they want to achieve.
How do you know if a rep has the desire to change?
I can think of no better way than to focus on what they do and not what they say.
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