At the outset the difference between sales training and sales coaching should be made clear. Sales training prepares sales professionals and sales coaching attempts at preparing sales champions. Sales coaching is a process in which an experienced sales trainer or coach gets involved in the sales process of an organization not only within the four walls of the training hall but also on the field. A sales coach goes on to work with the sales team of an organization on the remedies he has suggested. He gets on to the war zone leading from the front. By demonstrating that what he preached in the training room can be practical the sales coach inspires sales professionals of an organization.
The aim of a sales coach is to find out how far a sales person or a group of sales persons is removed from where they should be and then bridge that gap. A fresh recruit may need coaching on implementing perfectly the things that he learnt during the sales training sessions. An executive may find that the going is getting tough after a few months of working. The initial months may have gone fine but she may find that her skills are not working as they did when she started out. And an experienced sales person may find that he was very good at notching up the numbers through referrals and repeat sales. But when the organization underwent some structural changes and he was supposed to make cold calls again to build a new prospect base, his cold calling skills that were excellent a couple of years ago are ineffective now. Getting used to easy sales through referrals and repeat sales he finds the objections and rejection indigestible. These types of sales problems can be handled by the sales coach on one-on-one basis.
From making cold calls to closing deals a sales coach may get involved in the sales process providing vital insights and suggesting changes. He will be present when you make cold calls, observing you, listening to your conversation, and making notes of various points. He will approve if your call quality was good and suggest you to continue in the same manner or he may suggest improvement wherever necessary. Whatever his suggestions, the end result should be generating more appointments and opportunities for sales presentations.
A sales coach is unobtrusive. The sales coach remains on the side line much like Phil Jackson, the famous NBA coach, and feeds the players with crucial hints and suggestion only during the time outs and breaks. If you are going in the wrong direction during a cold call the sales coach will not stop you, but let you proceed. Once the call is over he will show you where you went wrong and how best you can avoid the same mistake. A sales manager may try and interrupt to salvage the situation, but not a sales coach. And a sales coach will persist till you get it right.
Mentoring plays a vital role in sales. Outside sales coaches do a fantastic job as inside sales managers may face resistance and resentment from the sales staff. What a sales manager cannot do a sales coach can achieve that for his easy approach and acceptability by the coached.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
Permission is granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site as long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided.
Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching
Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)