Let’s meet Bob.
Bob is a successful district sales manager who could work in any industry and for any company. In fact, there are many Bob’s in all companies. Each month Bob is put to the test with different sales reps he must coach to success.
Bob has decided to start the year by building development plans with each of his reps. Bob is a solid believer that his role as district sales manager is to help each rep improve their skills as well as make sure that the district attain their sales numbers. Baltic senior sales management feels that new business will help the decrease in business from current clients. The company has had good growth over the last 5 years but there is an overall sense that the sales force is composed of many gathers and there is a need for more hunters.
In our follow up coaching session Bob singled out a rep he felt was his toughest challenge. In Bob’s own words: Bill has been with Baltic for ten years. He has been through the company selling course and has also taken the CPSA Professional Selling course. He is the district “go to” person in terms of his product knowledge. He has been an above average performer with tons of potential. Bill’s success has been built on his existing customer relationships.
Bob has been Bill’s manager for the last 2 years. Bill is a hard worker; “every time I go out with him we have a full and busy day”. Bill has an excellent understanding of his products, his customers like him and value his technical ability. Not only does he doubt his value, Bill constantly apologies to customers and rarely asks for the business.”
Every time Bob provides feedback it is taken negatively and Bill becomes very defensive.
1. How can Bob coach Bill and help him develop into a star?
2. What is the best method to help a Self Doubter become a better sales rep?
Here are my thoughts:
Reps who are Self Doubters can be difficult to coach. If you provide direct feedback it may be met with “I already do that” or reasons why they don’t. The Self Doubter perceives any critiquing as weakness and personalizes it as proof that they are doing a horrible job! The trick with this type of individual is to lead them through a process of self discovery and improvement.
1. You need to ask a series of questions (listed below),
2. Guide Bill to write out his own course of self discovery and improvement.
1. What are the key elements vital for effective closing? Write out a list.
2. Which elements of closing do you excel at? Write in order.
3. Are there opportunities for growth? Write them down.
4. Which of the elements would he like to work on?
5. What is in it for you to grow your competencies in these specific elements? Have him write those notes down.
6. What are you committed to doing? All commitments should be written down.
7. When should I follow up with you? Put a follow-up date at the bottom of the paper. Sign it.
8. Congratulations, now you have buy-in from Bill and a high level of commitment.
About the Author
Steven Rosen, MBA, is the founder of STAR Results
, a sales leadership coaching, training and consulting organization dedicated to leadership development. Steven’s mission is to inspire sales leaders, managers and sales people to rise to their full potential.
Steven has over 15 years of executive experience. His fresh approach to corporate leadership, strategy development, execution and team-building in the pharmaceutical and packaged goods sectors defined his success.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.