The problem with sales coaching is that many ‘one-on-one sessions’ turn into mere pipeline reviews. Sales coaching are so much more than that! Sales coaching are meant to bring out the best in sales representatives and keep them focused for the realization of individual and organizational goals.
Formulating and asking the best questions not only creates a congenial atmosphere for discussions but also benefits the coach. The right questions make the coaching sessions more natural and elicit a better response from representatives, thereby, makes the coaching sessions more fruitful for the organization.
Here are 8 coaching questions that every sales manager should ask:
What are you trying to achieve and what would it mean to you if you could achieve this?
People strive for the realization of the set goals when they have clear-cut goals to achieve. Asking this question at the beginning of the session instils a sense of responsibility among the representatives and motivates them to strive for the realization of their goals. Additionally, asking what it would mean reminds representatives of the end-result, which again is a powerful motivating tool.
What are your short-term goals?
Long-term goals shape the course of action over a period of time but short-term goals are important for the realization of the final goal. Set short-term/daily activity goals for your representatives and convey the message that realization of short term goals is the stepping stone for the achievement of the major goals. Ask your team members about how they feel about their performance and if they’re doing well, ask them to share their specific best practices with the rest of the team.
Also, educate them how to track their daily activities and short-term goals so that they always feel a sense of achievement thereby constantly strive for the final goal. It is better to use the activity data to understand where representatives need help and based on that, you can create a coaching plan around it.
What exactly is going on in this situation?
Review each rep’s entire pipeline- ‘what’s they are closing this month? What makes them assume that they can achieve the target? What they’ve got in the middle of the funnel’. When was their last ROI discussion? Ensure that they are in touch with their strongest opportunities. Take constant feedback on their progress and suggest course correction in case of any deviation. This not only helps representatives to break out of their shell but also promotes a more collaborative working relationship, which is ultimately a great ‘by-product’ of coaching.
Why do you think this is happening?
Asking a representative about the reasons of a disappointment might cause resentment but it can compel them to ponder over the issue so that they will look into their problems and solve the problems on their own.
What changes are required in you that would bring out the best?
Throughout the coaching session, try to help the sales representative by analysing his/her strength and weakness and give suggestions about the changes they need to make in terms of their attitude and workplace behaviour.
Representatives might not be aware of the fact that their attitude is the root cause of problem so that the course correction is required
What are the obstacles in achieving your goals?
According to Boise sales training sessions, the best sales managers are not bosses but guides and mentors who realize the importance of coaching-focused discussions. Ask the representatives about the hurdles they are facing and suggest them a remedial course of action to overcome those hurdles. Hurdles become less intimidating when they are explained and talked through.
What do you think is the best option for solving this?
This question shows that you have the confidence in the abilities of your representatives to solve their problems, with the right suggestion and mentorship. It also instils a sense of ownership and representatives will show willingness for their own self-improvement. In the beginning, they might look up to you, the sales manager, for helping them in solving their problems but gradually they will find their own answer. After the course correction, let your sales representative know that you haven’t left them completely on their own. It is important to convey the message that you are always there to help them keep focused and stay on track toward achieving their performance goals.
After the course correction, let your sales representative know that you haven’t left them completely on their own. It is important to convey the message that you are always there to help them keep focused and stay on track toward achieving their performance goals.