Everyone who has been selling for a while knows sales can be a roller coaster. The peaks and valleys of sales are a fact of life. One of the most challenging tasks is coaching a veteran salesperson that has reached a plateau and is struggling. Or worse, has reached a performance level where they are satisfied or they have earned the right to not do the things they used to do when they were building their business.
Each situation will be different but one common sales coaching theme is clear. The sales manager needs to find out what will motivate the stalled individual to determine the type of coaching required. What works in one situation may not work in another.
Sales coaching will vary depending on the development levels of the individual. Some sales managers prefer working with senior salespeople because it is more interesting and rewarding for the manager. Others prefer to work with less experienced salespeople. The real world is that you must coach all levels. Each situation is different and the manager must adjust his or her sales coaching techniques to be effective.
1. Get up close and personal to understand what is important to them at this point in their career. Ask open ended questions in an informal setting. Find out if anything changed in their life, what sales activities are they doing, what sales activities are they not doing, what is the legacy they want to leave behind?
2. Next you must observe the plateaued salesperson in a selling situation. It’s the only way to be sure they are using good fundamental selling skills and not cutting corners. When you’re sure they are, coach them in account strategies. Good selling skills are a means of executing good account strategies.
3. Account strategy coaching can be done in the office and to suit your schedule. Start with their existing accounts and review their current levels of business at key accounts and their sales plan for gaining new business.
4. Plan ways to get additional resources that will help solidify and/or expand their position at key accounts and top prospects. This will include executive bridging calls with senior executives and technical specialists.
5. Concentrate your coaching efforts on accounts with high potential or high visibility, or accounts that provide a unique learning opportunity. We are looking for an opportunity where the plateaued has a reasonable chance to succeed. This will build confidence.
6. Finally and most importantly, schedule monthly review sessions with the plateaued sales rep to review progress, give feedback and make adjustments. This is critical!
About Len D’Innocenzo – Len is a Co-founder of Corporate Sales Coaches, a US based provider of cutting edge performance development programs for over 20 years. Northbound Learning has an exclusive Canadian partnership with Corporate Sales Coaches.