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We just completed a two-day Sales Leadership Intensive and that's always a great experience for the sales leaders who attend. The focus is on coaching salespeople for impact and everyone learns what it takes to become so effective at coaching salespeople that they ask for more.
It's been a long time since I have written an article that mentioned our son, the baseball player. He's really good, and we have dozens of video clips of him performing at a high level. But baseball doesn't always produce highlights. Failure is a part of baseball too and if he struggles at the plate, the very first thing he does is watch the video to see what he did wrong. We study the video together and when that isn't enough to fix the issue, we head outside and I pitch to him until he makes the necessary adjustments to get back on track.
When you take sales coaching, baseball, watching video and put it all together, what do you get?
You get the post-call debrief - the most powerful tool for great sales coaching.
The post-call debrief is a structured coaching conversation where we compare the outcome to the goal and work backwards to determine when the call or meeting went off the tracks and why. We identify the skill gaps and/or weaknesses that were responsible, and capture lessons learned. Next we strategize getting the opportunity back on track, if possible, and role play what the next conversation should sound like.
When Michael and I review video together it is very much like the post-call debrief. We slow down the at-bat, analyze his approach, pick apart the swing, identify the thing or things that caused an undesirable outcome, and determine what must change so that it doesn't happen again. Then we go out and practice it. This is a good swing.
When I review a sales call with a salesperson, it is the same as studying baseball video. We slow down the call or meeting, analyze the approach, pick apart the conversation, identify the thing or things that caused the undesirable outcome, and determine what must change so that it doesn't happen again. Then we role-play it, or in other words, practice it.
The problem is that most sales managers do not really coach and those who do, don't do it often enough or well enough. Shouldn't professional salespeople get the same quality and frequency of coaching that amateur and professional athletes get?