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Sales coaching is an essential aspect of sales management. There are many ways to do it. The sales manager chooses the most appropriate approach based on the objective a salesperson wants to achieve.
A manager can coach in groups, as with sales co-development sessions or individually. It may take place before or after the representative meets the prospect, and should focus on a flaw or even a weakness of the representative’s sales DNA.
Today I want to examine five components of a post-call coaching session. Based on concrete and true elements, this of coaching has a very high value.
5 components of a post-call coaching session
- The prospect meeting objective
- The frequency of sessions
- Objectivity during coaching sessions
- Why start with the end
- The salesperson's objectivity
The objective of the salesperson's meeting
As the name indicates, the post-call debrief happens after a rep has had an appointment with a prospect. The aim is to support a representative with active sales opportunities.
It implies revisiting a meeting that didn’t generate the expected results. The reasons for the failure are then highlighted, as well as what could have been done differently.
It’s entirely possible to focus the coaching on a meeting that went well. Indeed, although the meeting's objective was achieved, the way it was achieved can often be improved.
The frequency of coaching sessions
A good sales manager should allow for a daily meeting with each representative, at a minimum.
It’s better to take regular, small bites than one huge bite per week.
In other words, it’s better to divide the meetings and keep them short. A 5 or 10-minute session can be very beneficial!
The sales manager can let the salesperson choose the subject they want to prioritize.
Each coaching must focus on a single item to improve so that at the end of the session the salesperson has only one action to pay attention to and improve.
Objectivity during coaching sessions
The challenge of any manager is basing the post-call coaching on objective elements. Always keep in mind that a salesperson reporting a discussion will convey his or her perception of reality. Reality is undoubtedly tinted by personality and experience.
Although a coach tries to isolate the facts as precisely as possible, the representative always delivers their interpretation of the situation. Not with bad intention! It takes a lot of effort and practice to view the world through unbiased lenses.
For full effectiveness, this process should be executed with prudence. The manager should be careful not to ask questions that would prompt the salesperson to answer subjectively, such as “How was the meeting?”
Start at the end
To gain insight into what happened during a meeting, invite the representative to tell the facts by beginning with the end of the appointment. This way we can follow the thread of events by journeying backwards.
Sales are impacted by cause and effect. A sequence of actions, words, and events lead to an outcome.
When the outcome is unsatisfactory, it’s a question of identifying at which moment it started going downhill. A good first question could be “How did the meeting end?” or “What’s the outcome?”
When the meeting ends positively, the focus is on to another element to improve.
The manager will then use coaching to situate the salesperson within their sales process to help the rep identify their next move. A manager will use questions like “What’s the next step to be taken?” or “What does this action require of you?”
The salesperson’s accountability
During a coaching session, the representative must be led to understand, on their own, what could have been done differently.
Some questions can help strengthen accountability, such as “How are you responsible for the outcome of the meeting?” and “How could you approach the issue differently in the future?”
In doing so, the coach helps the representative structure their sales process and recognize the elements to be improved. The coach encourages the rep to learn from the experience, to gain a new perspective, and ultimately, to notice flaws that otherwise had gone unnoticed.
The sales manager must elaborate a clear structure of the coaching session before meeting with the representative. Knowing the objective of the meeting, the coach will choose the right questions to ask the representative. Finally, coaching must always be adapted to the individual, either by their DNA, strengths, weaknesses and tendencies.
The role of the coach in sales is to train the representatives to master sales techniques. To do this, the salesperson must trust his or her manager, who in turn must commit to coaching and support.