The art of coaching a sales team to success is a challenging feat. You have a group of ambitious individuals, some are Rockstars, most are mediocre, and some need work to reach a state where you can comfortably unleash their potential. One thing they all have in common is that they need support, and almost all of them in different ways. As a sales leader, you need to be resilient, have a sound understanding of human psychology, and possess a toolkit of proven strategies and methods.
The challenge facing sales leaders in cultivating high-performing teams can seem daunting, with pressures from all sides demanding consistent results.
However, sales leaders can take heart. What if you could navigate these rough waters with a compass crafted from the wisdom of the world's leading sales coaches? In this guide, we bring you a curated roadmap for sales leaders distilled from the teachings of renowned sales coaches such as Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jill Konrath, Mike Weinberg, Grant Cardone, and Jeffrey Gitomer.
Sales coaching is an intricate dance between leaders and their teams; the aim is to enhance performance, drive revenue, and foster professional growth. Leaders have to inspire and mentor, not just instruct and manage. We wanted to share proven techniques and skills you can build in your team from some of the world's leading sales coaches to help you empower your sales team as you navigate through ups and downs.
Workshops are a great way to get your team to think in new ways. We recommend that one of these workshops teach the team how to identify customer needs, build emotional connections, and craft solutions.
To kick off the workshop, we recommend starting with an introductory session outlining the importance of these elements in successful selling. Dive into each component with focused sessions, beginning with strategies to identify customer needs, such as active listening and asking open-ended questions. Transition into methods for building emotional connections, like demonstrating empathy and trust. Then, teach your team to craft effective solutions that directly address customer needs. Use role-playing activities and real case studies for hands-on learning and immediate feedback.
Wrap up with a comprehensive exercise that combines all the learned skills. After the workshop, consistent coaching and feedback are essential to ensure the team applies these techniques effectively in daily customer interactions.
Leaders can arrange training sessions on understanding customer psychology and how it influences buying decisions. You can also encourage your team to share experiences and insights about what psychological triggers have worked for them.
A great way to instill an understanding of customer psychology and its influence on buying decisions, sales leaders can organize interactive training sessions. These sessions should delve into key psychological triggers that affect customers' purchasing behavior, such as scarcity, social proof, and reciprocity. Use practical examples, case studies, and interactive exercises to help your team better grasp these concepts. Awareness of these principles will rub off and shape their sales pitches and client interactions.
It’s vital to continue coaching and reinforcement after this session to ensure it’s embedded into the sales process.
Foster a continuous learning culture. Keep your team updated on market trends and changes. Encourage them to learn from each other's successes and failures. Your team meetings can encourage debate and learning. Ask team members to prepare a brief on market trends and new ways of closing deals. It’s a great way to keep everyone on their toes and embed change in the weekly routine.
Develop clear sales processes for your team and set expectations for consistent prospecting and pipeline management. Regularly review performance and provide constructive feedback. This is another process to make part of your team meeting. It gets your team used to a cadence where they need to be on top of their business and gives you a chance to provide proactive feedback and support.
Encourage your team to set ambitious targets. Foster a culture of proactivity and ownership of the sales process. Celebrate big wins to motivate the team. You can inspire your team to set ambitious targets with a motivational session explaining the benefits of pushing beyond comfort zones, supported by success stories.
Facilitate goal-setting workshops where each team member sets their '10X' targets. Introduce a system of rewards and recognition for those who show initiative in setting and striving for these high-reaching goals. Consistent encouragement and recognition of efforts, not just results, will reinforce this culture of ambition. Sales leaders should also provide ongoing support and resources to help team members achieve these ambitious targets, underlining the company's commitment to their individual growth. Most sales teams fail because they are inherently incentivized to reduce their targets to get a higher payout. Find a way to incentivize audacious goals without cannibalizing the sellers’ payout, and you will start to see change.
A great quote to remember is Charlie Munger’s: “Show me the incentive, and I’ll show you the outcome.”
Teach your team the importance of personal branding and how to provide unique value to customers. Share best practices and provide resources to help them build their personal brand. To accelerate this process, you can run a training that highlights the importance of personal branding in sales.
Put emphasis on how it helps you establish credibility, fosters trust, and distinguishes them from competitors. You can regularly share resources on the topic and encourage your team to take online courses to learn more.
Catherine Kaputa’s book: “You Are a Brand!”is a great place to start.
Train your team in the SPIN selling methodology, and emphasize how to understand and address the customer's explicit needs. Facilitate knowledge-sharing sessions where team members can share their experiences using this technique.
A workshop on how to craft compelling narratives can help your team resonate emotionally with customers. Encourage team members to share their most effective narratives and outcomes. This works particularly well as an infrequent occurrence in weekly team meetings. Make sure you give ample time for Q&A after the team member has presented their work.
Encourage positivity as it helps build a healthy team culture and will encourage more team members to share their work.
Teach your team to prioritize their efforts towards high-profit potential customers. Regularly review their customer portfolio to ensure balanced and strategic allocation of efforts. A great way to enforce this is to establish clear guardrails for which deals are acceptable and which are not.
Weekly pipeline reviews are a great way to hold the team accountable for the set agreements.
Train your team to sell the idea or concept behind the product or service rather than just the features. Regular brainstorming sessions can help develop and refine these concepts. You can involve your product marketing team in these sessions as they spent most of their time on how to extract value propositions from the product and are trained to steer clear of feature selling.
These sales coaching techniques help many sales leaders develop their sales team's skills, drive performance, and cultivate a high-performance sales culture.
The coaching principles are based on 10 fundamental principles derived from rockstar sales leaders with a wealth of experience.
1. Know Your Customer
"You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want."
- Zig Ziglar.
Ziglar’s philosophy of helping others to help oneself underlines the need for customer-centricity. To apply this principle, focus on understanding your customers' unique challenges and aspirations.
We recommend reading: "Secrets of Closing the Sale" by Zig Ziglar.
2. Create Value
"Your product isn't what you sell, your product is who you are."
- Jill Konrath.
Konrath urges us to shift our focus from the product or service we are selling to the value we, as salespeople, add.
Read "Selling to Big Companies" by Jill Konrath and get insights on how you create and demonstrate value in the sales process.
3. Focus on Relationship Building
"All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like, and trust."
- Jeffrey Gitomer.
Gitomer reminds us that at its core, sales is a human endeavor, where relationships, trust, and likability matter.
For further insights into this approach, check out Gitomer's "The Little Red Book of Selling."
4. Leverage the Power of Questions
"One of the most powerful ways to influence others is with your ears – by listening to them."
- Dean Rusk, as quoted by Brian Tracy.
This philosophy emphasized by Brian Tracy underscores the importance of listening to the customer and asking insightful questions.
Dive deeper into this approach with Tracy's book, "The Psychology of Selling."
5. Be Solution-Oriented
"The single greatest reason why salespeople have low closing ratios is they don’t talk to enough real prospects."
- Mike Weinberg.
Weinberg's philosophy pushes salespeople to focus on solutions rather than features of their products.
Further exploration of Weinberg's approach can be found in his book, "New Sales. Simplified."
6. Cultivate a Positive Attitude
"Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude."
- Zig Ziglar.
Ziglar reminds us of the importance of maintaining a positive attitude for success.
Dive deeper into this concept with Ziglar’s book, "See You at the Top."
7. Commit to Continuous Learning and Skill Development
"Continuous learning is the minimum requirement for success in any field."
- Brian Tracy.
Tracy's philosophy emphasizes the importance of lifelong learning and continual skill development in sales.
His book, "Eat That Frog!," provides techniques for prioritizing tasks and focusing on continual learning.
8. Embrace Persistence
"The average sale is made after 5 no’s, and 80% of salespeople give up after the 2nd no."
- Jeffrey Gitomer
Gitomer's quote underlines the importance of persistence in the sales process.
For further guidance on developing tenacity in sales, check out Gitomer’s book, "The Sales Bible."
9. Master Time Management
"Don't count the days; make the days count."
- Muhammad Ali, quoted by Grant Cardone in The 10X Rule.
Cardone emphasizes the importance of time management for sales success.
His book, "The 10X Rule," provides actionable insights on productivity and setting high goals.
10. Set and Pursue Goals
"Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor."
- Brian Tracy.
Tracy's philosophy points to the importance of goal-setting for success in sales.
His book "Goals!" is highly recommended for a deeper understanding of this principle.
This blend of specific coaching techniques and overarching principles is a comprehensive guide for any sales leader who wants to elevate their team's performance and success. Becoming a successful sales leader involves mastering many skills and competencies. However, you don’t have to embark on this journey alone. Leaning on the wisdom of the world's leading sales coaches can pave your path to success.
Remember, your journey as a sales leader is not just about achieving numbers but cultivating a winning team that thrives on mutual success. These lessons come from well established sales leaders, but the truth is that this craft evolves every day. The best way to keep up with the latest trends is to join communities like Bravado or Pavillion where great sellers and sales leaders support each other on their path towards growth. The best gift you can give your team is growth and a healthy community that fosters it.
There’s a great passage from the book Regenerative leadership by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm: “People do not want to work in bureaucratic soul-sapping organizations - they want to be in an environment that is creative, exciting, empowering, purposeful, and passionate. People want leaders who want to achieve more than just profit but also a positive difference. People want to feel a meaningful connection with the value they create during their work-day, rather than feeling like lost corporate cogs enslaved in the monolith of machine mentality. People want to reconnect with their inner nature and work in soulful organizations that enhance life.”
It’s your job as a leader to bring passion and creativity to the table and excite your team to strive for more. Happy building!