“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #3”
There are many different ways to teach, coach and mentor. There are as many techniques as there are personalities and character types. They do however, fall into two basic categories: a culture of quotas enforced by strict regulations and expectations, viewed under critical oversight and encounters or a nurturing culture where numbers and encounters are used to inspire, teach and motivate sales associates.
In the past, in a society that doesn’t exist anymore, where neighbors were permitted to discipline each other’s children and the definitions of right and wrong were more well-defined universally, a heavy handed approach to teaching, coaching and training was more normal and welcome. If the teacher used a paddle, the coach got in a player’s face or a sales trainer verbally belittled his trainee for not getting the content and responses correct, the community at large viewed those techniques as normal and necessary. A military approach to helping non-military professionals and students develop was not only accepted but applauded and viewed as “character building.” This more sensitive and easily offended society is a much more complicated one in which to manage things than the one that existed in days gone by.
Today the parent and business owner is faced with a totally evolved human being. They have been weaned on instant gratification in a world where memes, tweets and YouTube have more influence than literature. They get information faster than we ever dreamed it could be gathered, and we have learned to navigate the waters of the information world pretty well ourselves by adopting some level of tech savvy. The problem is that even though the playing field has changed radically from phones, postcards and faxes to texts, iMessages and emails, there is still a human being with a heart beating in their chest tied to every dollar bill. Furthermore, the way to get to those dollar bills still requires the people skills (albeit applied in new ways) to properly influence the people we want to sell to, and the need to train our sales associates on how to apply said people skills by using the new technology. Since the current generation is used to immediate results, it can be VERY DIFFICULT to explain nurturing relationships over time and the very need for a sales process when it seems that there should be an existing app for that, right? It is a true and sincere sales recruiting, training and management quandary.
The solution? Diplomatic accountability.
Regular touches by the sales manager and/or owner, with both the team and individual sales personnel, are needed, the type of accountability which would have you as a sales manager/trainer categorized as a “player’s coach.”
If you are an older salesperson/manager and dig into the specifics of a sale in progress, offer some sage advice based upon your experience that helps your less experienced associate develop. This will yield much more chemistry and progress than a heavy-handed approach. Younger associates respond better to positive reinforcement and mental challenges than verbal ones.
If you are a younger sales person who notices ways an older person can be more efficient and organized by getting some tutoring on some tech, do it! You may need to be patient because it is a new frontier to them, but the tech help you can give them and the people skills they can coach you are are a great two-way street to establish. When a company builds cooperative bridges in the workplace between the generations it elevates the performance of the entire team.
Before signing off I would like to give an example of a great way to encourage and coach in a positive manner without any oppressiveness involved. The scenario is: You have administrative privilege on the CRM your salesperson or staff uses and the ability to see the notes they take. You can see that they are working with a person on a specific item and you have knowledge of something coming in that they have no way of knowing about. If you type into their CRM notes,” Hey Martha, just so you can consider it in your recommendations, we have an XYZ coming in next week.” This does SO many positive things to enhance the relationship. First it is a diplomatic way for the sales person(s) to know you are aware of and plugged into the activity. Secondly, it reinforces the fact that you want to help them be successful and thirdly, it shows that you trust them by providing an idea, yet you are allowing them to handle the exchange and subsequent close of the deal.
I’ll sign off with an appeal for any of you who haven’t been paying enough attention to building a positive sales chemistry at your company with my favorite saying from Peter Drucker, about the value of a good culture in which people can live, learn and sell: “Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast!”