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Coaching drives increase sales performance -ASLAN

Leadership – The #1 Driver to Sales Performance Part IV

Myth #4: When coaching, focus on skills.

The last few blogs have focused on the #1 characteristic of high-performers: desire, including how to create it, how to measure it, and how it affects coaching. Now I want to attack a myth about evaluating performance.

Instead of starting with sales strategy skills, you should start with capabilities.

Yes, skills are vitally important to sales effectiveness, but the keyword here is “focus.” 

When evaluating performance or coaching, the focus should always be on capabilities. Golf sheds some light on why (if you are over sports analogies, hang with me here).

Think about how you would assess a golfer. 

Golf has four basic capabilities: Driving the ball off the tee, hitting irons, chipping, and putting. All are measured by one, very simple outcome: where the ball lands. It could land in the fairway, on the green, or in the cup. This is basic, but even someone who’s never played the game could accurately assess those four capabilities based on the outcomes defined.

Sales strategy can be assessed the same way. 

Like golf, you as a sales management leader need to develop a list of capabilities that can all be measured by a result. 

For example, consider these four basic capabilities related to mastering the 1:1 conversation with a customer:

  • Engage: Customer agrees to the meeting agenda
  • Discovery: Customer reveals needs, decision drivers, and key stakeholders
  • Build Value: customer embraces recommendation or demonstrates a willingness to consider a new idea about how to solve their problem
  • Advance: Customer commits to the next, best step  

As you can see, each of the 1:1 capabilities are based on what the customer is asked to do. This tactic not only guarantees accuracy, but it simplifies rep development from 50+ behaviors (i.e., listening, questioning skills, offering benefits) to four essential criteria. This gives you an accurate and actionable snapshot of the seller’s ability to effectively lead a 1:1 meeting.

Here’s the beauty of this sales strategy approach: No one can argue with the outcome.

People love to debate if an insight was communicated, if the right questions were asked, or if a benefit was truly a benefit. But even the most resistant seller can’t argue with the key question: Did the customer agree to the next best step in the process? 

Defining the basic sales capabilities empowers the rep to evaluate their performance and immediately sheds light on where improvement is needed. If the “ball goes in the woods,” no one is confused about the rep’s ability to “drive the golf ball.”

Therefore, start with capabilities. Now that you and the team member are on the same page about areas of improvement, now it’s time to focus on the skills needed to improve the capability.

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