Sales Coaching versus Training

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.

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.

Conversational Sales

Conversational Sales

Conversational Sales is not a new concept, however it is one that few are employing effectively. Customers come to business seeking information and ideas, not just for someone to recite a product spec sheet to them. Conversational sales is all about education. The most important part to remember is that you are not only educating your customers, you must also educate yourself.

Educating your customers

Many sales calls start with discovery questions asked by the sales rep, following shortly thereafter with the rep talking about how great their product or service is to meet the customer’s needs. However, if all you know is some basic information from your questionnaire, are you really aware of their needs and what will make an impact on their lives or businesses?

Answer: No. Your potential customers know this too. In Linda Richardson’s Book, Changing the Sales Conversation, she states “Today clients will respond to straight discovery questions and product talk with impatience.” They don’t want to feel like another number being given a script. Engaging in a back and forth dialogue will help you start to build the know, like and trust that is so crucially important in the sales process. Consider switching up your script, instead of discovery, like the one above, try “Thank you for that basic information, Mr. Jones, we offer a variety of services, can you tell me a bit about how you are currently using “X”.” Now, allow Mr. Jones to speak, and actually listen to the conversation. TAKE NOTES. This is key, as you will want to recite some of what Mr. Jones said back to him when it’s your turn to speak again.

Continue the conversation in this back and forth format until you have all the information you need and can make a truly information recommendation on which product or service will be best based upon the client’s needs, and not just your opinion of why your offering is superior.

Ms. Richardson goes on to say, “Clients want to be educated but not about products. They want new perspectives and ideas.” As you engage in the conversation with your prospective clients, enlightening them to something they were previously unaware of will open up entirely new doors. If you do not engage in a dialogue and find out what they already know, you aren’t bringing any value to the conversation.

Educate Yourself

In the busy world of sales, we don’t always take the time to research prospective customers before engaging in a conversation with them. The old school way of sales thinking is that this was a nice thing to do, but not really necessary if you just didn’t have time. That is not the case in today’s market. You must be informed on your potential client before you engage in a sales conversation with them.

People want to be heard, and know that you are listening to them. This helps to build trust in the relationship that is not only important in the initial sales conversation, but later down the road when they are customers as well. If you have done your research, you can ask informed questions that will help guide the conversation in the right direction.

Move away from the monologue sales pitches and engage your potential customers in a meaningful conversation that you will both benefit from.

What’s your Work Style and is your Virtual Assistant the same?

What’s your Work Style and is your Virtual Assistant the same?

I recently came across the book, “Organize Your Office…In No Time” by Monica Ricci.  The very first chapter in Ricci’s book is called, “Determining Your Work Style.”  Ricci goes into 6 different work styles that will help you organize your office.

The work styles (with a very short description) are:

  1. The Speed Demon – everything is FAST
  2. The Ponderer – Slow and steady
  3. The Scarlett O’Hara – Puts things off
  4. The Visual – Everything must be visible
  5. The Aesthetic – The outside looks in order, but the inside might not be
  6. The Combination – Characteristics of two or more of the above work styles

WHY am I bring up your work style? Because what if you and the Virtual Assistant (VA) you hire are the same?  What if you are both completely different?

Just like when you hire an employee, you want to make sure that a subcontractor that you hire has a compatible work style.  You want that person to help your business thrive and take you to the next level, not hold you back because of different work styles.

When hiring a subcontractor, make sure you let them know how you work, how you think, how you are organized, and how you act on an idea.

Also, know what work style your Virtual Assistant is.  If you are a Speed Demon,  Virtual Assistant who is a Ponderer might not be a good fit if you need help researching a business tool.  If you are a Scarlett O’Hara who puts things off, more than likely a VA with the same work style isn’t going to help your business grow.

Taking the work style a step further is considering your personality and your Assistant’s personality. Do you want them to take an idea and run with it?  Do you want them to keep you focused? Does that VA have the personality to step up and let you know when you are off-course or push you forward to make a decision when you need that push?

Some of these work style and personality questions can be brought up when interviewing a subcontractor, but unfortunately, the only way to really make sure you mesh is to work together – so take that chance.  You are both professionals, running your own businesses, so you should be partners growing BOTH of your businesses together.  If it doesn’t work out or you grow beyond each other, that’s ok – it’s not personal, it’s only business.

You can learn more about Monica Ricci at monicaricci.com and catalystorganizing.com

5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

5 Types of Tasks to Outsource to Build Your Business and Become a Better Business Owner

outsourcingWhen you own your own business, it’s all about efficiency.  Having those processes in place and delegating tasks that others can do.

Sometimes it’s easy to know exactly what you want to outsource – especially if you don’t have the skills for it.  But what about those little tasks that are taking up your time?  Time that you could use to take your business to the next level?

So, where do you begin on deciding what to outsource?  Here are some ideas on where to start your list.

  1. Tasks that you HATE doing

You know the tasks – the ones you put off until the very last minute and then you drop everything to do them.  You have the skill to do them, but you just HATE to do them.

  1. Tasks that you don’t have the skills for

These are the tasks that you have research on how to do it or take classes for.  Yes, DIY saves you money, but are you saving money in the long run?  How long are the research and class taking you and then to do the actual task?  Think about the money you could be making if you didn’t spend that amount of time on learning and doing the task.

  1. Tasks that are repetitive

These are the easy tasks that you do day-in and day-out.  The time you spend on those tasks adds up.  What if you wrote done the process and delegated it to someone?  How much time would you be able to add to working on your business instead of working in it?

  1. Tasks that have been sitting on your to-do list forever

The “I’ll get around to it someday” tasks.  These are the great ideas you have and have never acted on.  What if you did complete those tasks?  What would your business look like?  Would you have better processes in place? Would you be able to increase your income?  Would you be able to spend more time enjoying life?

  1. Tasks that you enjoy doing, but should really be growing your business

These are the “working in the business” tasks that you enjoy doing, but you still need to schedule the time to do them.  As a business owner, you should be working on your business – the income generating activities – and not the “back office” items that keep the business running or even are an expense of the business.

Can you imagine the time you will free up if you outsource these 5 types of tasks?

Do you need even more ideas for items you can delegate?  Check out this list by Chalene Johnson – Delegate or Die.  The list covers not just business, but also personal tasks!  Who says you can’t have a “personal assistant?”

And – enjoy your newly found time.

Limits: Embrace Them

Limits: Embrace Them

It is easy to stand in front of a potential client and tout all of the wonderful things you’re able to do. It’s difficult to stand in front of that same potential client and be honest about your capabilities. This is why it is so important to have a network of resources you can draw from to meet a client’s needs. This is why you need to know your limits.

You’re Not One Size

“The world is my oyster.”
“My ideal client is everyone.”
“I can do it all, don’t you worry.”
Have you heard these statements? If so, I hope you ran as far away as your business suit would take you. This is the hallmark of a business without a niche, without an ideal client and frankly, potentially, without a clue! This usually means that they’re going to try and fit you into a “one size fits all” business plan. That type of plan may harm the growth of your business. Your business isn’t one-size-fits-all, so why would you choose to delegate tasks to someone who is.

We All Have Limits

Early in the growth of your company you probably reached a breaking point. Sleep was elusive, time was beyond limited and there were tasks you avoided simply because “you didn’t wanna.” Are you still in those days? Are you wrestling with the idea of hiring a dedicated marketing person, accountant or virtual assistant? Think about it this way, you can only fill a cup to a certain point. Once full the glass begins to spill over and you miss out on all the great stuff you could have consumed. Business is similar. Opportunities will continue to present themselves but if you’re bogged down with doing all-the-things (i.e. social media posts, email follow up or invoicing) you’re going to miss out on potential growth. Without knowing your limits you end up restricting your potential.

Stay in Your Lane

This is not to discourage you from stepping out of your comfort zone or discovering new avenues for growth. Stay in your lane in terms of your skills and abilities. If you’re a digital marketer but you don’t excel in Facebook Advertising, don’t go there. If you’re an awesome landscaping company but you don’t design pool structures, don’t. Stick to beautifying the land and leave the aquatics to those who know. This is where the need for a strong network resides. When asked, instead of saying “No” and leaving the conversation there, you can confidently say “That isn’t somewhere we specialize but if you’d like I can put you in contact with two or three vendors who excel in that space.” BOOM! You’ve done three things here:

1 – Helped make your potential client confident that you know your limits

2- Strengthened the relationship with a networking buddy

3 – Lowered the potential for a headache when you’re in over your head down the road

Embrace & Grow

Embracing your limits doesn’t have to mean saying “no” to the fun stuff. It means saying “yes” to all of those things you rock. So always remember: Know (your limits), Delegate (where you can) and Grow (onward and upward)!

 

If you’re struggling in a potential area of delegation, reach out! I’d be honored to help where I can and put you in contact with a rockstar who could give you more time in your week. Drop me an email at [email protected] or connect with me instantly on Instagram and Twitter

Do You View Your Buyers as Objects?

Do You View Your Buyers as Objects?

Building Customized Relationships with Real People is the Key to Successful Marketing, Instead of Viewing Your Buyers as Objects

If you’re a small business or a non-profit, you’re likely facing three main challenges that affect both your short-term existence and long-term sustainability. Specifically, you need to figure out how to:

  • Generate consistent revenue
  • Deliver on your promises
  • Control operating costs

They’re all linked, and we’ll address all three in due course, but today’s thoughts are mostly about the first challenge, generating consistent revenue. Let’s be honest… if you can’t do it, you’ll go “belly up” eventually.

There are two parts to generating consistent revenue: (1) First-time and (2) Returning “buyers” (for our purposes, this term is broad, including small business customers and individual non-profit donors). Ideally, you’ll get buyers in the door, and then they’ll keep coming back because they like what they see. Both are crucial—you have to capture them to begin with, and you have to get them to return. It would be nice if this just happened automatically, to be sure, but unless you’re really, really lucky, you have to work at it. The question, obviously, is how.

Perhaps the biggest mistake small businesses and non-profits make is to think about buyers as transactional—simply put, organizations are focused on the purchase, and they don’t care who makes it. This perspective leads to marketing approaches that treat buyers as objects rather than humans with different attributes, preferences, behaviors, and decision drivers. As such, outreach is typically quite messy, characterized by casting a wide net with a single message, and emphasizing what is (or was) “trendy” with respect to outreach (e.g., the latest and greatest in social media).

These approaches may, in fact, return some results, but they usually cost more than they need to, and they leave a lot of money on the table. They are not cost-effective, and the outcomes they generate are sub-optimal. Fortunately, there’s another way to do it, and small businesses and non-profits can do so much better. The key is addressing buyers as individuals, and building long-term relationships by engaging them on their terms and showing them the outcomes they want to see. This means we need to get to know them, humanizing instead of objectifying.

Think about the best relationships in your life. Most likely, your were introduced, you learned about each other as individuals, you interacted, and you became friends. You built trust, and it turned into “best friendship,” and now they’re always calling, visiting, and hanging out with you. Well, the same principles apply to marketing. It’s about introducing, informing, and converting, followed by delivering and cultivating repeat purchases or contributions. Put another way, it’s about developing relationships—you could say, becoming best friends with your best prospects.

Certainly, this all sounds really good, but cultivating relationships take time, effort, and resources. First of all, you have to learn about your market, and identify the things that make your prospects tick. Then, you need to:

  • Target media and messaging, so your story reaches and resonates with the right people
  • Demonstrate that you’re the best at what you do, and show them what you’ll provide for their money
  • Ask for prospects to purchase or contribute, and make it easy for them to buy
  • Deliver on your promises, and show them you’ve done so (and will do it again and again)

This involves market research and prospect profiling to learn about your buyers. It requires targeted messaging that interests them and cultivates relationships. You may want to offer incentives that will attract them, and you’ll need commerce platforms that conform to their preferences, and are efficient and easy to use. Finally, you’re going to have to the capacity to deliver—if you can’t, your buyers aren’t coming back. Yes, all this costs money—developing fruitful relationships takes an investment. If you do things right, however, it’s worth every penny.

Objectifying buyers and blasting the market may work, if you’re lucky. Personifying and building lasting relationships by knowing them and creating one-on-one dialogues, on their terms, will give you far greater returns!


Tom Morley has 18 years of experience as an internal and external consultant helping clients in all sectors, across industries, in the US and abroad, to become sustainably cost-effective and achieve their visions.  Formerly with BearingPoint and Deloitte Consulting, his areas of expertise include organization strategies, human capital management, and change acceptance and adoption.  His clients range from small, local concerns to international, multi-lateral institutions, and he has advised leaders and managers of more than 50 organizations to help them realize their goals over the course of his career.

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