Toddlers watch Sesame Street, play with blocks, take baby steps, constantly ask 'why', eat food that has been cut into tiny bite size pieces, love to start with dessert, and love to have fun. Their parents make sure they are comfortable, help them overcome their fears, work to prevent resistance and emotional meltdowns, and teach them as they go about their business.
What does any of this have to do with sales and sales leadership? Read a bit more and I'll explain.
This week I hosted my annual Sales Leadership Intensive where CEOs, COOs, Sales VPs and Directors, Regional Sales Managers, Field Sales Managers, Front Line Sales Managers and Inside Sales Managers come to become great at coaching salespeople.
They learned some of these concepts:
- Baby Steps - instead of going from A directly to Z, go from A, to B, to C, and so on until you eventually, and easily get to Z - your desired outcome. This pertains to the actual coaching, the role plays that are part of every coaching conversation, and actual sales calls.
- Sesame Street - based on the segment with 4 pictures and one of them doesn't belong, you learn to recognize what's missing from the debriefs of your salespeople, in sales role plays and in actual sales calls.
- Red Blocks - the few words and phrases out of many stated by salespeople in coaching, in role plays and by prospects that are candidates for follow up questions.
- Why - the thought process that drives every question in sales coaching debriefs, sales role plays and actual sales calls.
- Bite-Sized Pieces - instead of trying to get your salespeople to eat the entire elephant, have them eat it one bite at a time. They can't work on all of their weaknesses and skill gaps at once so help them identify one they agree with and have them go to work on that.
- Comfortable - keeping your salespeople comfortable, or recognizing and managing resistance during coaching and sales conversations, are the best examples of sales as an art form. There are no successful coaching or selling outcomes when resistance is high.
- Start with Dessert - the key to successful sales coaching debriefs is to begin at the end and work backwards.
- Fears - These self-limiting beliefs are responsible for salespeople who self-sabotage their outcomes because they are afraid that their prospects will get upset with them.
- Fun - making sure that sales coaching conversations are fun will keep your salespeople coming back for more.
Parents of toddlers do these things all day long while sales managers, most of whom struggle mightily with coaching, do not. Only 7% of all sales managers are effective at coaching. They don't do it often enough, don't do it with all of their salespeople, don't do it effectively, don't achieve memorable outcomes, don't make it fun, don't provide tactical and strategic coaching, don't debrief, and don't role play. So what do they do? When it comes to their coaching, mostly they waste everyone's time.
Copyright iStock Photos