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August 8, 2019

The No. 1 Coaching Mistake Made by Sales Managers

You are one of those great sales managers that understands the value of sales coaching. You consistently hold one-on-one coaching sessions and are fully present during them. But you still aren’t getting the results you’d like to see from your sales team. What’s missing? 

Precall Planning

In your role as a seller, precall planning was considered a fundamental step in winning business. However, sales managers often forget to bring this important skill into their role as a sales leader, which results in ”wing-it” coaching sessions. Lack of planning resulted in misdiagnosing sales-performance issues and delivering ineffective coaching advice. Let me share a quick example.

Your salesman Ed has a good attitude and work ethic. But he’s having a problem winning business. “Your price is too high” is the most common reason he hears. His sales manager might share the wrong coaching advice because she didn’t invest time in pre-call planning for the coaching session.

The effective sales manager invests time in precall planning. She PLANS and CREATES questions to uncover the root cause of selling issues, in this case losing because of price objections.

Should this prospect even have been in your sales pipeline? How did they match up to the criteria we established for our ideal client? What evidence did you gain in the exploratory call to determine that? 

  • There is a good chance the salesperson didn’t ask these qualifying questions and a cheap, transactional prospect landed in the sales pipeline, one that is never going to buy on value.

As the coach, you have to figure out the REAL reason the salesperson missed these questions. Is it because he’s in denial, thinking that this prospect is the exception to the rule and will somehow turn into a value buyer? Or, did he not ask the questions because he caved into pressure from the prospect to present ideas and solutions too soon? 

When you asked the prospect how this “pain” was affecting their efforts to open up new markets, what did he say?

  • You might discover the salesperson didn’t ask this strategic question because he hasn’t practiced the questioning methodology from your sales playbook enough. He didn’t ask the question and as a result, missed uncovering the strategic implication (cost) of the prospect’s business pain. No wonder Ed is losing to price. He didn’t ask high-level questions to determine the cost of this problem.

Just like a good salesperson, great sales managers invest time in precall planning their coaching sessions. They think about the salesperson’s “pain” and then plan effective questions to get to the root cause for poor selling behaviors. 

Good Selling!

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