We all had a mentor who taught us important concepts at school, but once we left the school, we were completely on our own. We had to motivate ourselves and formulate a plan that suits us based on our learnings. Even without mentors by our side, we used their expert guidance to hone our skills and push boundaries throughout our lives. But what if we had the coach by our side when we are navigating the choppy waters of sales leadership? Someone we could share our flaws and issues with to seek guidance, especially in the competitive world of sales.
It’s no surprise then that sales managers who want to lead successful teams in today’s competitive market are turning to sales coaches to help guide their strategy. The need for a sales coach stems from the fact that managers often find themselves in a difficult position of balancing the demands of hitting targets with supporting their team members. A sales coach can provide valuable guidance and support, helping managers develop their leadership skills, build team morale, and improve sales techniques. With a sales coach, managers can learn to identify areas of improvement, develop effective training programs, and foster a culture of continuous learning. As the sales landscape continues to evolve, sales coaches are becoming an increasingly essential resource for sales managers seeking to stay ahead of the curve.
This is the power and importance of sales coaching for managers. They can create a leadership style for managers and help them optimize their team’s performance.
Even if your team’s performance seems suitable to you, only a third person from an external view can spot the issues. They can suggest changes and ways to improve performance for long-term success. Be it meeting competitive targets or working on certain pain points, the coach can help managers personally and professionally.
Here are some reasons why sales managers can use coaching to enhance their impact on their clients and team. Yes, you are a successful sales manager. But with a quality coach by your side who offers personalized coaching solutions, you can retain that success in the long run!
The importance of following up
Any sales manager will focus on the growth and development of their team. But in Shyam’s case, he needed to work on his growth first before working on his team. He had received multiple instances of backlash from his team and his self-confidence had been badly bruised.
“I entered the industry with no prior sales experience. I learned the ropes myself and built myself from scratch. Imagine how my confidence would have fallen when my peers told me I was incompetent after a failed client call! It hurt twice as much since I am a self-built man — I am the student and I am the teacher,” he said.
The case in question was Shyam’s lack of communication during a client call. He had impressed the client and was all set to close the deal. The client had asked him for a few days to speak to her team and revert to their WhatsApp group. Shyam had agreed and left the deal unresolved waiting for the client to revert. His team lead had also forgotten about the client and neither of them bothered to follow up.
Only a few days later did Shyam realize the client didn’t have his contact number. The client had implied that he creates the WhatsApp group to discuss further. Shyam had missed the implication and had forgotten that only he had the client’s number. When he finally did create the group, the client told him they had waited for several days with no response.
Due to this, they picked a different service provider and already closed the deal. It was a huge blow to Shyam, and it was further worsened when his manager told him off for it. This was a basic mistake — not following up — and Shyam had not realized he had to teach himself this skill while learning sales.
When his peers doubted his skills and did not send him to any new client calls, Shyam began to lose his confidence. Even after he changed companies and became the sales manager of a top business, he lacked confidence. He would assign calls to his staff and juniors, ensuring he never received a single call himself. This was when Shyam’s friend suggested they try sales coachingto solve the issue permanently.
The three steps to success
When Shyam approached his mentor, he still wasn’t aware of his drawbacks. He knew he lacked confidence ever since his failure, but he hadn’t yet put his finger on the exact issue. The coach verbalized it for him saying he needed to follow up with his clients better. The next step was framing three simple steps to help Shyam become a better sales leader.
Step 1 – Communication
This focused on how Shyam spoke during the client calls. He had to ensure there was no ambiguity or dual meaning in what was communicated. It was the simple expertise to differentiate between assumption and understanding. What was being explained to him and what had he assumed by himself?
If he felt he was assuming what the client had said, he would immediately ask them to verbalize it. Before concluding calls, he would always outline the next plan of action by clearly stating:
- This is what we spoke
- This is what we are going to do next
- To ensure this, we are going to do this
- This is what I am going to do next
- This is what I am going to wait for from your end
This might sound like a redundant exercise but there is no way things can go wrong if you do this! It is like repeating a phone number you are noting down while someone is reading it out to you. By calling the numbers out loud, you can ensure that no numbers are missed or misheard in the middle.
Step 2 – Follow up
This is the next step once the meeting is concluded. Shyam needs to follow up with the client at regular intervals. What had he promised to deliver and by when? What did he have to remind the client to deliver and by when? By when did he have to close the deal and push the client to respond?
Had Shyam asked himself these questions during his initial failure, he could have easily prevented a lot. He would have messaged the client as a reminder of exactly what he was expecting and using that, they would have gotten his number. This would have resulted in a quicker response to his deal and effective communication.
Step 3 – Reading between the lines (non-verbal communication)
The third step occurs both during and after the client’s call. It is listening to what is not being said by paying attention to social cues and body language. Is the client saying he will follow up but indicating negative body language? Or are they trying to get the call done with and leave at the earliest?
Do you think they are displaying no interest or proactiveness while responding to your messages? In such cases, Shyam must learn to read between the lines and stop pursuing the client. He can focus his attention on other prospects rather than wasting time, sales leadership skills, and resources on this one.
How did this help Shyam?
The solutions helped Shyam prepare for his next client call and he attended it after losing hope for almost six years. With the coach’s training and effective planning, he was able to recollect the basics and aced the interview. He also learned to follow up and ensure the client was on the same page as him.
Once he closed the deal successfully, he regained his confidence and continued to preach the importance of following up to his peers. To date, he attends coaching sessions to become a better sales leaderand has curated sessions for his team, too. His employees stick around longer as they feel valued, and they can grow personally. It is mutual growth for him and his team, leading to active growth for the company as well.
The coach had helped Shyam plan his agenda and objectives beforehand. This helped him prepare better and avoid potential mistakes he had made earlier. It shows us the power of coaching and a good mentor who reaches you at the right time. Imagine how much they can help you retain your success and plan for the future in advance!
Coaching can help you build and maintain your team effectively. But more than ever, it can help sales managers develop themselves and be their best selves. By honing your skills, you can make better decisions for your team and handle clients better. The business depends on leaders, making it crucial for managers to coach themselves with good mentors.
Begin your sales coaching journey in 2023 and start working on your drawbacks. You can identify your shortcomings and develop yourself in areas you didn’t even know you lacked. That’s the beauty and power of timely coaching from an expert for your sales leadership skills.