June 23

3 Ownership Thinking Sales Coaching Questions

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Are you aware of ownership thinking and how to create this mindset on your sales team through effective coaching?

Successful sales leaders understand the power of asking questions during coaching sessions in order to prompt thinking and discussion. These types of questions vary based on the coaching scenario.

For example, a pre-briefing coaching session might entail the sales manager asking a lot of “what if” questions. “What will you say and do if the prospect says switching to a new vendor at this time is too risky.”

Different coaching questions are asked when debriefing a sales meeting such as, “What do you think you did well? How can you duplicate that selling behavior on future sales calls?”  

All good coaching questions.

Here is another one to add to your sales coaching tool kit.

“What do you need to own?”

This question creates ownership thinking. Without ownership thinking, there is no learning from failures or push for continuous improvement.  Without an ownership mentality, salespeople can fall into blame and excuses thinking.

Here’s a coaching scenario that demonstrates how and when to use ownership coaching questions.  

An empathetic sales manager is conducting an ownership thinking coaching session with a member of her team.

A sales manager is conducting a one-one coaching session with a member of her team. The salesperson is frustrated over a recent opportunity lost to a lower priced competitor. The sales manager demonstrates empathy first because she knows that people can’t hear you until you’ve demonstrated that you’ve heard them.

HOWEVER, empathy must be followed by ownership thinking questions.

That which you do not own, you cannot change.

Question #1

SM: “First of all, I understand the frustration of working hard on an opportunity and not winning it. Have had a few of those myself. PAUSE. Let’s take a closer look.  Did we lose on price or did we lose on selling value?” 

This ownership thinking coaching question helps the salesperson evaluate her own selling skills rather than defaulting to the easy excuse of price. Follow-up with a second coaching question.  

Question #2

SM: “What lessons did you learn from this missed opportunity?  What will you change on future sales calls?”  

This ownership thinking question challenges a salesperson to think and take ownership for his/her learning and improving. It also provides hope because the salesperson recognizes that the lessons learned will be applied to win future opportunities. Follow-up with a third coaching question.

Question #3

SM: “What ideas do have for better qualifying opportunities in the sales process?” 

This ownership thinking question puts the responsibility and ownership for solving the sales challenge on the salesperson, not the manager. Self-discovery is a great learning tool and this question helps the salesperson discover how, where and why he or she is not achieving quota.

There are several types of coaching questions to ask when developing your sales team. 

Include ownership coaching questions and develop an ownership thinking sales culture. These cultures beat blame and excuse sales cultures every time.

Good Selling!


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