Risk & Business Magazine Moody Insurance Spring 2017 | Page 21

COACHING BY: JACK DALY PROFESSIONAL SALES COACH “Rather than weighing down the salesperson with too many suggestions, pick one or two that hold the greatest opportunity to increase his or her success.” it,” it is critical that the call be conducted solely by the salesperson. After the first coaching call, the salesperson will usually want to know how he or she did. But sales managers must resist doing a debriefing at this time. Instead, suggest that five or six more calls be made. Once they are all completed, the sales leader should sit with the salesperson and debrief. Identify those things that went well and share them with the salesperson. Also identify what could have been done better. Rather than weighing down the salesperson with too many suggestions, pick one or two that hold the greatest opportunity to increase his or her success. Discuss these two items thoroughly, suggesting specific actions for improvement. INFORMATION, NOT CONTROL You can’t be helpful if you don’t know what’s going on in the field. It’s not a control issue—it’s an information issue. Get in the practice of taking notes on each salesperson you work with. Start accumulating information about them and their customers and prospects. Let each salesperson know your purpose: to help the salesperson grow professionally and to grow his or her production. BEFORE YOU START Here are two basic points that are important to make before going on sales calls with salespeople: Fundamental One - Give plenty of advance notice. Surprise visits to the field are not appreciate d by your sales team as that implies a lack of trust. Set up your schedule at least a week in advance. Fundamental Two - Go with a plan. Don’t say to the salesperson, “Well, what should we work on this time out?” Instead, review your prior notes, current production, and call report and then state where you think it best to focus. Always solicit feedback and agreement from the salesperson. Remember that if you demonstrate that you are doing your homework, salespeople will be more prone to do theirs. Let’s build on those fundamentals by establishing some guidelines to help keep your calls focused: 1) Begin by reiterating the objective of the day’s calls. Be sure to show how your current objectives will fulfill the salesperson’s overall game plan. 2) Build on the last coaching session. Review with the salesperson what you each agreed upon and what got completed. See if anything needs to be changed or discussed before setting out. 3) Let the salesperson do the scheduling. If you are being “set up” with calls only to his or her best customers, you will know soon enough and can correct accordingly. 4) Agree on the type of calls. Will they be training? Joint? Coaching? 5) Make the first call as positive as possible. Your presence increases the tension so make this as easy as you can for the salesperson. 6) Before each call, ask about the purpose. There should be a specific goal on every call and a specific approach for each one. Know it beforehand so you can better assess the call later. 7) Practice being a keen observer. Develop a mental checklist of what you are looking for so you can avoid taking notes during calls. If you are on the road, make quick notes in the car between calls. Focus on the primary changes to be suggested. The list could include any of the following: • Greeting • Questions the salesperson asked • Questions the prospect asked • Percent of time talking versus listening • Use of benefit statements • Ask for business Remember your purpose and never take over a call. If you do that, your relationship with the salesperson is on the way to ruin. Your primary reason for being there is training, not seeing how much can be sold. 8) At the appropriate time, describe what you observed. But remember: • Focus on one or two specific items • Let the salesperson talk • Agree on what can be done differently 9) At the end of the day, get an overall agreement on what the salesperson is to do and what you will do to help. Write it down. When giving feedback to the salesperson, ask yourself: What do I want to communicate? Where do I want to focus suggested changes? How can I communicate this information so that the salesperson will be receptive to it? What specific solution or goal may I offer, and how may I assist the salesperson to achieve this goal? + Jack Daly is an experienced and world recognized sales speaker and sales training expert, who inspires audiences to take action in the areas of sales, sales management, and corporate culture. 21