People who use their strengths every day are six times more likely to be engaged in their jobs, and they will have 12.5% higher productivity (Gallup.com).
That means that when your salespeople spend their workdays doing what they do best, they are happier, more productive, more successful at sales, and less likely to leave you for the competition. Imagine what that could mean to your bottom line!
So, let’s get down to the details here… how can you make that happen? It’s a pretty simple formula, but not necessarily that simple to do. It takes time and focused attention on your part, but it’ll be worth it.
1. Recruit all the time.
Always be recruiting, even when you don’t have a job available, so your pipeline is full of talented potential future hires.
2. Be Selective.
Only hire those who have a great deal of natural talent for sales. You know that when people use their strengths every day, they are much more productive, so bring people on board who have the right strengths for the job.
3. Coach them.
Not just the ones that are new to sales, new to your industry, or new to your sales team. And definitely not just your weaker performers. Coach your all-stars. Just ask LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Maria Sharapova, or Cristiano Ronaldo – no one is more deserving of your coaching time than those packed with natural talent. Teach them something new, challenge your salespeople to stretch themselves, and recognize each area of improvement along the way.
Let’s focus on that 3rd step a bit: Coaching
I know it’s hard to do, and you don’t have much time to do it, but great coaching happens on the field – where the player plays. No football coach helped his team win the championship by spending time with them in the locker room.
If you want to make a significant impact on performance, you need to be in the field where your people are engaging with prospects and clients and where the business happens. This means attending face-to-face calls when you can, or even joining them on shared-screen calls (using GoToMeeting, joinme.com, etc.). You’ll want to keep your eyes open for other opportunities to be close to the action as well.
The key to successful sales coaching is careful observation and good note-taking. Focus your attention entirely on the person you are coaching rather than the account they are calling on.
Here are some great tips for successful sales coaching:
- Schedule your coaching time well in advance so it never feels like a sneak-attack and your salespeople can plan great calls for you to observe. Remember, you want to see them doing great work.
- Keep their unique strengths top of mind. Hopefully, you have Priority Strategies you have built with a Talent Analyst. Read those over before hitting the road.
- Make time for a pre-call discussion so your seller can provide you with a quick synopsis of the account and confirm the objective of this call.
- Confirm how your presence will be explained to the client (meeting the customers, hearing needs first-hand, etc.).
- Remain in observation mode throughout the call, watching and listening – but not participating. If the client looks to you, gently pass it to your seller.
- Take thorough notes so you will be able to provide strong feedback later. Follow this format:
- This went well:
- This went well:
- This went well:
- This might have gone better:
- I wish I had seen:
Is there a talented performer you can spend a little time with in the field? When coaching salespeople, consider how you can help them to use their strengths every day so you can increase productivity across the board!