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May 1, 2020

COVID-19 Coaching Pivots for Sales Managers

“Pivot” is the new word in sales, business and sales management. And almost every company is engaged in the pivot dance. It might be in how they sell, to whom they sell or what they sell. But there is one more area that requires pivoting: how sales managers coach their sales teams.

Prior to COVID-19, sales managers had the luxury of conducting deal reviews and pipeline reviews. They looked at the analytics, and talked to their salesperson about the validity of the deals moving forward or closing ----and called that a productive coaching session. Not.

Those coaching days are over.

Many salespeople are faced with the daunting task of refilling a once-full pipeline. Others are looking at healthy sales pipelines, but the deals just aren’t moving across the finish line because overwhelmed prospects are dealing with their own pivots and changes.

With so many changes in sales and business, why do sales managers keep using the same coaching approach?

The world has changed, and so must your coaching skills and approaches. Apply the EQ skill of self-awareness and ask yourself what changes are needed to make you a more effective sales leader and coach.

The first place to examine is the type of questions you are asking during a coaching conversation. For example, a sales manager might ask her sales team, “What new targets and verticals can we sell our services?” A better question to ask these days is, “What prospects and clients can we serve and help during this crisis?”

It’s a small change in language that creates a big change in a seller’s approach. “Help and serve” is a different language than “sell and close.” And it creates a different energy when your seller is connecting with a prospect.

Great sales managers understand the physiology and psychology of sales.

They understand that human beings, alias prospects, have something called “mirror neurons.” They often are called the smart cells of the brain because they allow us to understand another person’s intentions and feelings. I call them the BS detectors of the brain. Your prospects can absolutely feel a salesperson’s intention. A prospect that feels your salesperson is focused more on hitting their quota than serving them will either delay the deal or work with a salesperson that has been coached to serve rather than sell.

Stop talking about selling and start coaching your team to serve and help. It’s what today’s prospects need and want in order to make a buying decision.

Good Selling!

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