Avoid These Sales Coaching Mistakes

Michele Warg
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Increasing revenue consistently across your organization often requires ongoing sales coaching, which lets staff flex new skill sets and perfect their approach to various sales situations. Leaders often think they are providing essential mentoring, but you might be holding your sales numbers back by making these coaching mistakes.

1. Not Mentoring Sales Staff

Sales coaching often falls flat because leaders don't understand that mentoring is different from training sales staff. Coaching isn't about teaching someone the basic skill at hand. Rather, it is about encouraging sales staff to get better at using the skill through practice or boosting their confidence so they can better approach clients. Sales staff must possess basic selling skills for sales coaching to be effective, since strong mentors use teachable moments that occur throughout each day to boost understanding of certain sales practices or encourage sellers to continue doing a great job.

2. Speedy Training

Another common mistake that reduces the impact of mentoring is moving too fast for your audience. Before unveiling new concepts, make sure that the last set of sales skills you presented were fully understood. As sales employees become more adept at their jobs, they build on what they learned before. Without mastering previous sales skills, using a newly learned strategy could backfire on the employee. This decreases a seller's chance of closing a sale, reduces the sales person's comfort level when approaching new strategies and might give customers a bad impression of the company. Take your time when mentoring sales staff, and make sure you're available to provide advice or answer questions. You can also use individual mentoring sessions to discover the areas in which an employee needs help and address those issues before moving forward with coaching.

3. Not Practicing New Skills

Finally, it's important to put new skills and lessons to the test before using them on customers. Don't rely solely on verbal sales coaching; instead, invite sales employees to role play critical soft skills, such as speaking with confidence or interacting appropriately during sales meetings or phone calls. Role playing lets you set the stage for a variety of potential obstacles and helps demonstrate how to use sales skills to overcome them. Role playing during sales coaching meetings also lets sales staff experiment with various sales strategies in a comfortable, educational setting that's supportive and free of judgement.

Training sales staff to incorporate brand messaging and company processes while allowing their individual style to differentiate them from the pack is one way to bolster success for your entire organization. In sales, no process is a one-and-done proposition, including training and mentoring. Ongoing sales coaching lets you ensure high morale and productivity, which is good for you, the company and your staff.

Photo courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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