In a previous post, A Step by Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople, I provided a guide on how to coach sellers. Some sellers find it a challenge to schedule quality appointments during their scheduled coaching days. Here are some things you can do to fix this problem.
Is the purpose of your in-field coaching plan clear?
It’s natural that if a formal schedule of field coaching is something new, salespeople may at first be suspicious of your real intent. Be certain to communicate the purpose of your field coaching work by letting them know:
- An opportunity for you to see what makes them so good, how they use talents and skills to win.
- An opportunity for you to find areas in which they might become even better and make more money.
- The seller’s chance to get some individualized attention and some help that’s tailored to her needs and challenges.
- An opportunity for both of you to learn from each other.
What field coaching is not:
- An indication that a seller’s job is on the line... or your way of checking up on them.
- Just for rookies or those with questionable talent or skills.
- Something that will blow over soon … a passing fad.
In general, you must communicate and demonstrate that field coaching will be a regular, ongoing priority here.
Did the seller see value the last time you spent a day together in the field?
If a seller doesn’t get immediate and helpful feedback from you, they will lose interest fast... and they will have a lot less conviction about setting up the next round of in-field calls. You can relate to that, right?
If on the other hand, the last day they spent in the field with you provided with genuine appreciation for things they did well, and some great suggestions on ways to improve, then sellers will be looking forward to his next field day with you. And have a solid schedule of calls set up.
Did the seller use a weak Valid Business Reason to make appointments that resulted in appointment cancelations?
"I’d like you to meet my Sales Manager” may be appealing to some customers, but it sure can wait for another time if the client has something more pressing (almost anything is more pressing) that comes up. Instead, sellers should use the same VBR they would use to get the appointment if you weren’t coming along.
Are they using an old paradigm about when and why to take you along?
The old paradigm: In most sales departments, the only time to take the sales manager on a call is when you need help selling a really tough account. Let them know that while that will still occur from time-to-time, that’s not the paradigm or the purpose of your Field Coaching days. Any call a seller makes in the course of a normal business day is fine for your in-field days together.
The Big Issue
Is it possible that this is a typical day for this seller? If several in-field days pass with few or no calls, it may be an indication that they just don’t make many in-person calls. Oops. This is a much bigger problem that requires deeper analysis.