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Sales Coaching versus Training

Are you looking for a sales trainer or a sales coach? You might already have an idea in your mind what you are looking for. Did you consider that the answer might be both? Determine which will best meet your needs and will help you create a more productive team.

Understanding Sales Training and Sales Coaching

Let’s first start by understanding the difference between the two in the simplest way. Training is putting your best into someone, coaching is drawing the best out of someone.

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While the two terms are often used interchangeably, by those who don’t know any better, or those who simply think coaching is trendy and want to say that is what they do, I like to keep them quite distinct when working with my clients.

When I talk about training, it is often in reference to implementing a new technology, process or system. Something where you could use a manual to describe how to proceed.

Coaching however, is about listening with intention, understanding not only what is being said, but why it is being said, and helping the speaker discover the path best suited for them. Too abstract? Let’s look at an example…

A deeper look at Training and Coaching

Sally is a new salesperson at Company ABC. She needs to learn how to use the company’s CRM, how to track her leads, and how to follow the proven and repeatable sales process that is in place. Sally needs training.

Fast forward a month, Sally is actively selling to prospective clients. She is running into objections. The sales process has tools in place to help overcome these objections, however Sally is still not having much luck getting past them to close the sale. At this point, simply training Sally again on the sales process or use of the technology tools isn’t going to cut it. Sally needs coaching.

With coaching, we work with Sally to understand what is going through her mind before, during and after that objection arises. Also, we can look at what Sally thinks is going on inside her prospects mind at this time. This is often where the key lies. A salesperson with a lot of natural talent typically has a lot of empathy as well. This allows them to relate to their prospects on a deeper level and build that trust and connection. However, this often means that the same salesperson projects their own feelings or beliefs into the situation, when it isn’t the case.

Continue looking at the example with Sally. There is an objection over price that seems to keep coming up for Sally when talking to customers about a particular service Company ABC offers. Sally is selling this service to people who make at least double her salary. When Sally is quoting the price, in her head she is thinking “this is way too expensive” and that is reflected in her pitch (whether she is reading the exact words from the script or not, the tone and inflection of her voice indicates she is not comfortable with that price. Sally is projecting, as expensive is relative. What is too expensive for Sally may not be for someone making twice as much as she does.

Do you need both?

No training program or manual is going to help Sally recognize that she is over-empathizing in this situation. The training provides Sally with a script that is proven to work. The coaching sessions are necessary to help Sally discover how she needs to act and think and be as she is presenting that script.

So how do you determine what your sales team needs? The best way to proceed is to hire someone like Adroit Insights, who provides both coaching and training services, making them more objective to the decision. Have a company conduct a full analysis of your sales process and sales people first and then determine the best approach moving forward.

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Kristen has 15 years of experience as a sales management and business executive for small businesses and Entrepreneur Franchise 500 companies. Kristen applies her IT background to help small businesses find the best solutions that everyone at the company feels comfortable using so they can avoid spending too much money on technology that is over-complicated and never fully utilized. Kristen has spent years as a business and sales coach working with everyone from sailboat captains and gym rats to CEOs and international sales superstars. Kristen coaches all levels of sales staff to be their best by fully leveraging technology and utilizing a custom-designed sales process. Having started coaching as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor, Kristen now spends her time with small business owners and staff building a proven sales processes and implementing technology tools to grow their business.

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