Sales Coaching: Where You Put Your Coaching Attention Counts

I have fond memories of 4th of July holidays as a kid, mostly because of the famous Black Cat firecrackers.

My friends and I would spend the months leading up to the 4th earning saving what I could. I’d look for money lost in the couch, I’d skip lunch and pocket the buck fifty, and I’d mow lawns or caddy, all to buy Black Cat firecrackers. Black Cats were the king of the bang, better than all the rest. They were like what digital is to analog, or what HD is to old TV.

The potential to make a big bang and have fun with the Black Cats was high but the margin of error could be very small. If you’re weren’t careful, that little thing could cause a lot of damage.

Coaching salespeople seems to be like the Black Cat. If you’re a great coach you can make a big difference in someone’s life, but if you’re average or worse you sure can make a mess of things for people.   Some of it has to do with where you put your coaching attention.

Is this where your coaching attention is?

  • Are sales tracking to plan?
  • What’s the forecast look like this month?
  • How can we accelerate the sales process?
  • What do I need to do to get my salespeople to prospect more?
  • How can I find better candidates for the two open territories I need to fill?

By all means these are important issues. But how much coaching attention do you put to these things below?

  • Is anyone on my team not motivated to work hard right now? What can I do to understand that better?
  • Does anyone feel like I don’t listen well?
  • Does anyone feel neglected?
  • Is anyone feeling that I’m not fully recognizing his or her efforts?
  • Should I reach out to Mary after being pretty hard on her at the last region conference call?
  • Is anyone waiting to get some feedback they should have been given already?
  • Am I doing enough to understand the personal goals of my salespeople?

I showed these questions to a client and he said the former set is more about business issues, or outcomes while the latter set is more about personal issues, or inputs. I’ll buy that.

I’m not asking you to choose to focus on ‘inputs vs ‘outputs. Your people need you to give attention to both don’t they?

Some of you might be thinking you don’t have this luxury. You’re putting out fires, trying to protect business at risk, you’re trying to fill an open territory, you’re spending weekends creating the forecast to send to your boss, you’re onboarding a new rep, you’re preparing for an upcoming regional meeting. I can’t say I know how you feel but I know how my sales managers feel when they’re loaded down.

I saw a quote last year at a conference I attended on sales coaching that read “salespeople don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers.” Why do they leave their managers?   Is it because their managers don’t have a healthy balance of paying attention to ‘outputs’ and ‘inputs’?

This week when you talk with your salespeople, ask them at least one question that has more to do with how they’re feeling, how’s their mindset, their motivation, even how’s their physical health. Show them you sincerely care. Even dare to be vulnerable and let your people see the full ‘you’.

If you liked this tip and want to learn more I encourage you to contact me at the information on the screen. I’d really enjoy hearing from you.

As always, I wish you the best success, and good selling.

Mark Sellers
Sales Trainer, Coach, Consultant