PowerSports Business

August 14, 2017

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www.PowersportsBusiness.com SOLUTIONS Powersports Business • August 14, 2017 • 43 Call a salesperson what you will: account executive, marketing repre- sentative, sales team member, the list goes on. The reality is that sales management is no longer the opti- mum way to bring out the best in your team — sales coach- ing is. This might be even more true in the retail setting. There is significant data available to prove that sales coaching actually works. Ten years ago, sales managers could barely spell coach. But within the past few years, sales represen- tatives have reported being coached as a top priority to them and their success. So is this a gimmick or the newest hot phrase to sell books, seminars and telecon- ferences? For some, the answer is yes. As a professional coach, I have seen countless busi- nesses change their entire approach toward sales and the management of their sales team through coaching. Most sales managers want to coach, and most salespeople want to be coached. Sales organizations are struggling with how to make this not just happen, but change the way they do business. Let's look at the initial and continuing steps that your business must take to adopt and implement a sales coaching platform. We will address and provide tools to: 1. Understand what sales coaching really is; 2. Overcome sales coaching obstacles; 3. Develop a sales coaching process for your business and your team; 4. Start coaching for success. WHAT IS SALES COACHING? A 2007 study of 2,000 salespeople by the Sales Executive Council identified that salespeople who received three or more hours of sales coaching per month on average reached 107 percent of their quota, as compared to 88 percent of quota for salespeople who received little or no coaching. The Chally World Class Sales Report iden- tified sales coaching as one of the top seven benchmarks of world-class sales organizations. So what is sales coaching, and why does it have such an impact on the sales team? The answer lies within the salesperson being coached. A generational paradigm has taken place under our noses, and the paradigm is that the people we have in sales today are very different from the old guard. Lightly put, this generation of sales reps has been coached throughout their entire lives, and the last thing they want is a boss. For the old guard in sales, coaching is refreshing, and they actu- ally embrace both the approach and outcome. While many would say: "You can't teach an old dog a new trick," when it comes to coach- ing, the "old dog" likes it. Sales coaching is the secret of sales success because it improves the performance of your sales team — and the coach, by coming along- side the sales reps and working with them and not having them work for you. Sales coaches not only encourage their teams, but also take shared ownership in their team members' success. OVERCOMING THE SALES COACHING OBSTACLES There are three obstacles that can get in the way of sales coaching: 1. Directing and not col- laborating; 2. Not enough time; 3. Talking and not listening. As just stated, there is a fine line between managing and coaching, evaluation and devel- opment; coaching does less directing and more collaboration. By directing a salesperson, you will miss the chance to see where he or she is in the moti- vational and/or learning curve. You will also miss the opportunity of knowing how they see a certain situation and what they would do to remedy it. Directing voids almost all interac- tion because we are busy directing and not listening and probing. ("Coaching sounds a lot like sales." Correct!) Another coaching obstacle is making the time for your sales team without interruptions. They need to know that they are some of the most important people in your day. You need to give them your presence right then. You also need to provide a solid foundation of fol- low up, calls or emails checking in and seeing how they are doing. Last, doing all of the talking and not really listening to your salesperson may move your agenda ahead, but does little to engage them for sustained growth. All sales leaders have an agenda. We have a quota to hit, goals to achieve and a boss to report to. It is when this gets in the way as opposed to making this a part of our coaching that we negate any true growth. Coaching is a culture that must envelop the entire organization. Coaches need to be coached themselves. You should not have a sales coach who is managed by a boss. This just does not fit. DEVELOP A SALES COACHING PROCESS FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND YOUR TEAM To begin your sales coaching process, you must understand the 5 Steps of Sales Coaching: 1. Connect with your salesperson. Pay attention to the relationship between you and your salesperson. This will make every- one more comfortable. Establish rapport. Let your team know you are there to help (not just evaluate). Always open by building rapport. This is where you will be working together to improve the situation. Be hard on the issues, not on the people. Coach people; manage processes. 2. Compare perceptions. About 65 percent of all sales managers open their coaching Coaching: A new approach to retail sales GUEST COLUMN TY BELLO See Bello, Page 47

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