Joe O’Neill – Success is more likely when we effectively coach sales teams. Many aspects go into effective coaching, but let’s focus on the benefits of delivering positive feedback in managing your sales team.
Feedback is simply defined as the use of critical and objective information to improve performance. All too often the practical application is the sales manager tells the salesperson what they did wrong. That approach is neither positive nor effective. And it’s not coaching.
Clearly communication is the key. If you approach the challenge from the perspective of communicating effectively, it is much more likely that you will get the results you need and expect.
Effectively Coach Sales Teams
The key elements of positive feedback are:
- Make certain everyone on your team understands that feedback is part of the sales process.
- Establish S.M.A.R.T. goals for each sales opportunity so you agree on the goal and can assess progress in completion.
- Plan your communication, then jointly develop a framework for how you engage in feedback. No surprises.
- Make sure your salesperson understands and accepts the framework of the feedback session and has contributed to its substance.
- Meet in private, one-on-one. Sit on the same side of the table or desk.
- Foster a team approach because you’re a team responding to a sales challenge.
- Be positive. As in sports…you never lose. You either win or you learn something.
- Ask, don’t tell. Effectively use agreed upon open ended questions to isolate any challenges which emerged from the sales opportunity.
- Take what you have learned and formulate an action plan to respond to the challenge. This may involve a revision of the S.M.A.R.T. goals, so be flexible and creative.
- Ask for the salesperson’s input. Value their opinions and leave the impression with your facial expressions and body language that you do.
- Once an action plan has been developed and agreed upon, follow through on it.
- Re-engage to gain new insight and learn more about how to maximize the opportunity and achieve your objective.
The effective use of feedback is a critical tool a good sales coach can use to maximize the performance of their team and each team member. Even if a sales coach was a superior sales performer, the coach’s objective is always to leverage their coaching skill to give each team member the opportunity to perform at the highest level.
For more tips on selling effectively, take a look at our Pure Selling program.
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