How do you know if you need a sales coach and if so, how do you find the right one?
There is a lot of pride involved when asking that question. That is especially true for prideful or long term sales people. For many, it is admitting that there is something wrong with you. After all, why else would you ask for help? I am not an expert in sports by any stretch of the imagination, but I know enough to know that I can’t think of a single highly paid star athlete that does not have a coach leading them to greatness. Why would this not be as equally as important in sales; arguably the most important job in your organization?
The short answer is that everyone in sales could benefit from sales coaching if they had the right coach. There is always room for improvement and we’re always striving, or hoping, to reach the next level. So any and everyone is a good candidate for coaching. Some people, however, may need it more than others.
- You are lacking a sales process.
- You never had formal sales training.
- You are falling out of love with your sales career.
- You are struggling to reach your goals.
- You do not adapt easily to changes in your market.
- You are changing organizations and need to begin prospecting again.
- You are being promoted to some level of sales management.
- You find that you are not keeping pace with others on your sales team.
- You find that you are not keeping pace with your competition.
- You want to polish up on some of your skills such as closing deals and managing objections
Before we can discuss how to select a good sales coach, let’s be very clear on what a sales coach is not. A sales coach is not a sales manager. Nor do they want to be your sales manager. They have no issue holding you accountable, but if it is a babysitter you are looking for, a sales coach is not what you need. A sales coach does not solve solve a company’s cash flow issues. When companies experience a cash crisis, their first reaction is to boost sales and get help doing so. In some cases, cash can be so dire that you may need a turnaround consultant before you get sales coaching. A sales coach can and will help when times are tough; just don’t wait until the company’s cash issues are terminal.
Finding a good sales coach is all about fit, right? It’s no different than the sales you are trying to make. But what makes for a good fit for you? Everyone’s first criteria is results oriented coaching, and rightfully so. Just remember that results are more dependent on a sales person’s willingness to follow a process and coachability. In most cases, any process is better than no process. So, in essence, any sales coach can promise you results if they have a reasonable process that you are willing to follow. Just make sure that their sales process is something that makes sense to you and, most importantly, you are willing to submit to that process.
Another good way to discover fit is to compare you or your company’s core values to the core values that the sales coach boasts. If they don’t list a set of core values, find out what their sales story is. Why do they love to do what they do and how does that resonate with you? Do they come from a similar industry or bring a field of experience that matches the market you are in? Some coaches will boast niche industries and they may be a good thing. That may also be a not so good thing. Why? Some coaches may not keep current with new trends and may be training you in old methods that aren’t as competitive as they used to be. Sometimes fresh out-of-the-box perspective can really help to shake things up and catch your competition off guard.
One of the best methods is good old fashioned reference checking. Honest peer reviews will tell you what they did like about working with them, what they did not like, and what were the overall results (ROI). Finally, listen to your heart. If you have hesitations then it is probably for good reason. Results is one thing, but being happy and falling in love with what you do is another. It’s all about blend and balance. So, chances are, you will benefit greatly from sales coaching. Give it a try. It will likely be the best strategic sales decision you make this year.