Frederic_Lucas

These conversations allow you to get an accurate understanding of the current state of your sales force while mentoring and coaching your sales managers. To get the answers you need, you have to ask the right questions at the right time. Here is our time-saving list of questions that every leader should ask of their sales managers at the specified intervals; by week, month, and quarter.

Seven Weekly Questions

As a business leader, you must have, at a minimum, one conversation per week with each of your sales managers. This weekly meeting should allow you to feel in control of your sales force and let you know whether more frequent monitoring is required. For example, if there is a newly-appointed sales manager, it is best to increase the frequency initially, so that you are touching base with them daily. Seven questions to ask your sales managers at least once a week:

  1. What has changed since our conversation last week?
  2. What is the status of our sales pipeline?
  3. What might prevent us from achieving our goals?
  4. In the team, which salesperson works best, and why? What might we reproduce with others?
  5. In the team, which salesperson works less well, and why? What is the action plan designed to help improve their performance?
  6. What are you coaching on this week and in what aspect?
  7. Who will you accompany on calls this week?

 

With these questions, sales managers will understand what actions they need to take each week to be able to provide satisfactory answers to you during your meeting the following week.

The wording of these questions intentionally leaves the door open to many types of answers. Sales managers who are well-prepared for the meeting should be able to respond accurately to broader issues. Indeed, a vague answer is often an indication of a problem.

For example, to the question about the status of the sales pipeline, a vague answer can mean the deliberate omission of problematic elements, or it may reveal a lack of competence. A sales manager who can interpret the pipeline will meet it with precision, following with a plan of concrete actions, not with excuses.

Six monthly questions:

Once a month, the conversation between the CEO and the sales managers must focus on emerging trends. These questions should include:

  1. Are we still confident of achieving our sales goals?
  2. Has there been enough activity during the month for us to reach our goals?
  3. Are the goals realistic? If not, they were set too high or too low?
  4. Are there still enough good salespeople on the team to do the work?
  5. Can you tell me some of the best selling lessons that your salespeople have given you over the past few weeks?
  6. Are there things that we have not seen in past months, that we see this month?

To identify other trends to be addressed, it is sufficient to analyze the responses to questions posed in the previous weeks. For example, if the weekly conversations during the past months have all focused on the same salesperson who is having difficulty, you should ask your sales manager about it. Ask her questions like:

  • Where are you with the recruitment of a new representative?
  • How do you expect to perform if the salesperson is not replaced in the coming weeks?

Four quarterly questions

Each quarter, the CEO must have a conversation centered on the medium-term planning with sales managers.

These questions include:

  1. What is your action plan for the next three months?
  2. What topics will you be communicating about with the sales team?
  3. What aspects of the sales process will you be coaching on, and why?
  4. How will you coach your team on these particular elements?

The questions will vary depending on the quarter. For example, the first months of the year are less busy, and representatives often fail to get appointments with potential new customers. Early in this quarter, the conversation will, therefore, focus on actions to get meetings with new clients. At the end of Q2, we will discuss the importance of building a larger pipeline, in anticipation of the slowdown caused by the approach of the summer holidays. And so on.

The One Essential Question for Every Meeting

Finally, in each of the three types of conversations described, every business leader should always ask the following question of their sales managers:

How is it that I can help you in accomplishing your work?

As CEO, it is important that you demonstrate your support to your sales managers for the difficulties they raise during the meeting, as well as your willingness to help them.

Try these out and let us know how it goes!

 

About the Author

Frédéric Lucas, Prima Ressource

Frederic_LucasEntrepreneur, business owner, speaker, trainer, coach, adviser, blogger and expert about sales force performance and business growth… I’m all of it and none of it at the same time. Want to know why? I take an integrated approach to know where your company needs help to get from where it is right now to where you wanted to be. My clients know me for telling them what they need to hear, instead of what they want to hear. They value the depth of my expertise, the science behind my framework and the predictability of my insights. While most try to fix salespeople by working on factors that influence sales, I concentrate first on the scientific causes of underachievement and overachievement of sales organizations. I build profitable sales culture by working on the essential components that increase an organizations probability of generating profitable sales.

 

 

 

Re- Blogged From:- Integrity Solutions

Source:- https://www.membrain.com/blog/18-critical-questions-ceos-need-to-ask-their-sales-managers
18 CRITICAL QUESTIONS CEOS NEED TO ASK THEIR SALES MANAGERS

Leaership Development -IS Blog

If you had to come up with analogy for learning and development in today’s environment, based on the recent Human Capital Institute’s Learning & Leadership Development Conference where we participated, it would be this: A dish is only as good as the quality and combination of its ingredients.

Leadership development is like a basic recipe, as Joe Livigni of Capsim Management Simulations noted; the core ingredients have to be there and they have to be solid. But then individualized tastes and requirements come into play. Just as each organization has different strategic business outcomes, each leadership development strategy must align with that strategic growth focus. If the learning isn’t relevant to the business, it won’t be relevant to the managers. And without relevance, the learning fades. The upshot: The time, money and effort in training has been spent, but there’s little to no resulting impact on the business.

By the same token, more isn’t always better, whether you’re talking about ingredients or skills. Almost $20 billion was spent on leadership development in 2016, and around 1,200 new leadership development books were published in 2017. That’s a lot of content. But just as there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to developing leaders, there’s also no one single profile of the ideal leader. Likewise, you don’t have to be good at everything to be a good leader. Instead, leaders need to focus in on the key skills and competencies they need for their particular role and that today’s realities demand.

That said, there are some qualities that cut across the board in the current environment—things like critical thinking, emotional intelligence, adaptability, collaboration, and the ability and willingness to help their people become problem solvers. Problem-solving is an important skill for leaders, too, but in an increasingly complex world, they alone can’t have all the answers. They need to be able to rely on and support their teams in coming up with solutions to their own tough challenges. For many leaders, this will mean a change in mindset, moving from a more directive leadership style to a coaching and collaborative approach. And that means L&D will have to make sure their developmental strategies are designed to facilitate this shift.

With this context in mind, the “secret sauce” of leadership development is a learning solution that includes:

Facilitated discussions that spark new ideas and insights about how to solve real work challenges
Shifting mindsets by providing “aha” moments that connect at an emotional level, versus just an intellectual exercise
Sustaining momentum and embedding new behaviors through ongoing coaching
Another challenge leaders will continue to grapple with is the ongoing employee engagement crisis. According to Gallup, on 13% of employees are engaged. The majority—63%—say they’re not engaged, while almost a quarter (24%) of all employees are actively disengaged. Solving this engagement challenge has to be a leadership priority since it’s eating away at business results. Research shows that not only do engaged employees perform 20% better, companies with engaged employees outperform the rest by up to 202%.

Here, too, leadership skills like emotional intelligence, empathy and coaching will be essential. Engagement comes from the emotional connection people have with their work. A sense of purpose and connectedness to the mission drive motivation and help fuel someone’s inner passion to achieve more, for themselves as well as the organization.

These same factors come into play when you look at an organization’s ability to recruit and retain top talent. Consider what Millennials say they’re looking for in a job: In addition to things like flexible work arrangements, they want to work for companies whose values align with their personal values. They’re looking for development opportunities, recognition for performance and continuous feedback from their managers.

It’s not just about rewards and recognition, though. Leaders also have to be able to have the tough conversations and draw out different perspectives so that everyone feels heard and encouraged to contribute. If there’s one mantra that leaders need to keep in mind, it’s this: Communicate—constantly.

So what does all this mean for L&D and HR professionals?

The recipe for effective leadership development isn’t just about mixing in a pinch of this competency and a tablespoon of that one; it has to be designed for each leader’s requirements, based on their personal and professional growth goals. And just as important as building skill, it has to shift mindsets and reinforce the right culture ingredients. That’s how you drive a long-term competitive advantage.

As Barbara A. Trautlein, Ph.D., of Change Catalysts, LLC reminded conference attendees, getting the “soft stuff” right isn’t easy. But it is what makes the “hard stuff” possible.

Reflections from the 2017 HCI Learning & Leadership Development Conference
By Lisa Bullock

Steve Schmidt

Last month’s HCI Innovation@Work Conference tackled the subject of how to create an engaging employee experience from “hire to retire.” It’s a topic that’s clearly on the minds of today’s leaders, 71% of whom say employee engagement is critical to the success of their organization, but only 24% of whom believe their workforce is highly engaged.

With those numbers estimated to be improving only at a rate of about 1% per year at best, there’s plenty of work that needs to be done in this area, and managers and leaders play a critical role in that process. The speakers offered a number of ideas and insights that HR and talent development professionals should be thinking about as they plan their management and leadership development strategies for the coming year.

One of the big themes we heard was that managers need to focus more attention on maximizing the strengths of their employees rather than trying to make everyone good at everything. Keynote speaker Dan Pink and others noted that focusing on areas of strength is the great performance accelerator, leading not only to increased individual performance but also lower attrition, higher job satisfaction, and improved engagement and customer metrics. Spending more time on your strengths also increases personal satisfaction and happiness while reducing stress. Trying to be good at everything, on the other hand, usually ends up promoting mediocrity, which doesn’t do much for a person’s morale—or for the business.

The question for your managers is, do they know how to help employees recognize their strengths and push past any self-limiting behaviors so they can truly apply them? This requires more than a performance management conversation or telling people what to do. Managers need to be effective coaches who see the potential in their people and help them develop it. Speaker Jeremie Brecheisen outlined three key actions:

Establish expectations that are clear, collaborative and align with company goals. Keep in mind that focusing on strengths doesn’t mean that people don’t have to push themselves. Managers should be encouraging employees to challenge themselves as they create their goals together.Coach continually. Since daily feedback creates the highest engagement, coaching should be frequent, focused and future-oriented. The group was also reminded that developing and engaging their people is managers’ primary job, suggesting attendees ask their managers, “What do you think your job is as a manager if not that?”

Create accountability. This is also a key step in the coaching process, and it should be achievement oriented and developmentally focused. Managers need to focus on successes and accomplishments, not just giving feedback and ratings.
Because coaching is such an important factor in the employee engagement equation, the most effective managers are finding ways to bring it into the day-to-day routine—via emails, phone calls, hallway conversations and other opportunities. Those “quick connect” coaching moments are just as vital as formal check-ins. Likewise, the immediate feedback of developmental coaching, combined with scheduled skills training and strengths coaching, creates a powerful impact on both performance and engagement.

Ron King

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) Fiduciary Rule, which requires that advisors act in the best interests of their clients and put their clients’ interests above their own, represents just one shift among many in a rapidly changing financial services market, one that is creating new expectations and challenges for even the most experienced advisors.

The question is, do your advisors have the skill set and mindset they need to be successful going forward in this new environment?

Even though the implementation of the Fiduciary Rule’s enforcement has been delayed, transitioning your sales culture to create greater transparency is no longer an option. It’s what your clients expect—from your organization and from the advisors who are working with them.

Most financial services organizations have already begun making significant changes as a result, including to marketing plans, product portfolios and advisor compensation. All of these are important. But there’s another element that’s been more challenging to change: the conversations advisors have with their clients.

As we all know, changing the behavior of people is far more difficult than changing rules and procedures. But failure to fully address this critical component is leaving many organizations exposed.

While most have provided advisor training to build awareness of the new regulations, simply giving advisors information about what they should be saying and should be doing is not enough. What we’ve seen over the past year is that the vast majority of advisors haven’t significantly changed their actual selling behaviors. Organizations that truly want to act in the best interests of their clients need to begin equipping their advisors with the communication skills they need to have effective conversations with their clients. This will be key to being able to uncover client needs and present solutions that are truly in their best interest.

Pete Novak, a top performing General Agent from Charter Oak/MassMutual, puts it this way: “You need to ask the right questions to fully understand where the client is and where they want to be. You can’t just sell product any more. Unfortunately, you still have too many advisors out there talking about product because that’s what they’ve been doing for the past ten years—and have been successful doing it.”

This is a dramatic shift for many advisors. Holding back on product discussions and conducting a well-planned diagnosis of a client’s personal economy requires a different skill set and mindset from previous years. As one VP of Sales at a Fortune 500 investment firm told us, “Honestly, many of them are just not equipped with the skills needed to be successful in the future.”

Here are three things you can do right now to help your advisors change their conversations with their clients and better align with the DOL Fiduciary Ruling:

1- Translate your organization’s stated values into actual advisor behavior. Many organizations espouse their values on their website, on the walls of their company’s lobby and in marketing material. You’ll see words like “Integrity”, “Ethical” and “Client First.” These are admirable and essential qualities for a financial services organization to have. The key, though, is turning these important values and ethical standards into the foundation of the customer conversation in a way that’s visible to customers. Some examples include:

 

  • Understanding customer’s wants or needs must always precede any attempt to sell.
  • Selling isn’t something you do to people; it’s something you do for and with
  • Truth, respect and honesty provide the basis for long-term selling success.

Too many selling and consulting models can steer well-intentioned advisors away from what they know in their hearts is in the best interest of their clients. Only with a foundation of strong values and ethics, translated into specific measurable behaviors, can organizations then implement a customer-focused sales communication model.

2. Upgrade your questioning model. The vast majority of advisors have a sincere desire to do the right thing for their clients; they want to help their clients achieve their financial and life goals. Their challenge is that years of prior selling habits are hard to shake.

Advisors now need a questioning approach that goes beyond the diagnostic models clients can find by themselves on dozens of financial planning websites. Equipping advisors with basic questions to understand needs is a good first step, but it’s no longer enough. They also have to be able to help their clients honestly discuss their current and desired situations, the consequences of not changing course, and the benefits of doing so—all in a manner and language that resonates with the client.

3. Change behavior; don’t just give information. Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that a seminar or series of online modules will change what your advisors actually say and do when meeting with clients.

To change behaviors, ongoing repetition, reinforcement, coaching and accountability have to be woven into any training program. This can be accomplished through a series of structured follow-up sessions that build accountability for application of new concepts. It’s also critical that leaders continuously model and coach to key concepts to make sure new behaviors stick.

The DOL Fiduciary Rule’s goal is have advisors act in the best interests of their clients. But even if the Rule is never fully implemented or enforceable, the demands for transparency will continue to grow. The organizations that make the commitment to give their advisors the skills they need to better understand their clients’ needs will rise above the rest of the field and provide the greatest value to their clients.

 

By Ron King

Re- Blogged From :- Integrity Solutions

This isn’t a blog on the value of coaching.

The research has been conducted, the books have been written, the jury is in: There are direct business outcomes that can be achieved when managers incorporate coaching into their role. This high level of awareness about the critical need for coaching has been fueling retreats, training, online social learning, white papers and incentives, among a myriad of other initiatives.

So let’s not waste time talking about the value of coaching. What I am going to talk about is why—despite all this awareness of the benefits—coaching still isn’t happening.

A recent Sales Management Association study into coaching indicates that 77% of organizations report that they do too little coaching. And the majority of those that actually are conducting coaching say that it’s ineffective.

Does that ring true as you look across your organization?

The question then is, why the discrepancy between what organizations know they should be doing and what is really happening? In hundreds of instances where we have asked managers directly about their coaching activity, the response is consistently some version of “no time!” or “too busy!” However, when we recently polled people and asked them to rate not themselves personally but their organization’s management team, we got an entirely different response.

Participants in this poll of over 450 organizations told us the number one reason—selected by 44% of respondents—that coaching doesn’t happen is managers lack the skill/capability to coach. Another 23% said managers don’t prioritize coaching. Respondents also told us that less than a quarter (just 22%) of their managers embrace coaching, while the remainder are either reluctant (45%), strongly avoid it (4%) or simply “tolerate it” (29%).

Could it be that “no time” is just a safe way for managers to say, “I don’t have the skills or confidence to coach”? For any of us, if we don’t have confidence in our ability to do a task well, it’s only natural that we’ll find other activities to prioritize in its place.

We picked up another interesting finding from our recent survey: Many organizations are making a fundamental mistake as they try to address this coaching gap—they’re only focusing on one of the three critical coaching conversations.

Let’s take a look at those three conversations and how they influence a manager’s willingness and effectiveness as a coach.

Three Coaching Conversations:

#1: Conversations with Employees: Managers need a track to run on when it comes to coaching, a coaching process that they can have confidence in. This is their coaching skillset—the tangible, observable skills that managers are crying out for to solve the skills/capabilities challenge. The following five-step process will give your managers that platform.

Integrity Solutions India - Coaching Blog

 

The one step I’ll highlight here is the first one: Ask. The quality of the questions that the manager asks will set the tone for the coaching conversation.

Action Item for Your Managers: Have them take the time to prepare a few questions prior to the coaching conversation to help advance the discussion toward reflection and discovery. A few examples of these kinds of questions include:

1- What are your top commitments in your role for this coming year? How can I best support your pursuit of those?

2- You have a lot on your plate at the moment. What obstacles do you think you might face as you work toward your goal?

3- In order to achieve this goal, what smaller sub-goals will you need to hit? What actions can you take this week to get started on making progress?

4- What could you do that’s a stretch for you at the moment but would be a breakthrough for you?

5- How can I hold you accountable toward the progress you’ve identified as important without it feeling like you’re being micro-managed?

#2: Conversations with Themselves: These internal moments of reflection are the most frequently overlooked factor that contribute to the success or lack of success of coaching initiatives.

While managers may have several coaching conversations with their employees during the course of a day, they will have dozens of conversations with themselves about their coaching. This is the coaching mindset. How managers think about coaching, and how they internalize their own ability and the potential of their employees, will ultimately determine their success. Any coaching training must incorporate this essential element for long-term success. The majority of those polled during our webinar agreed, saying this is the area that’s most important for their managers to develop.

There are five components to conversation #2:

Coaching-Congruence-Model-

One component—“View of Coaching”—is especially noteworthy. If you stop 50 managers and ask them to describe their perception of what coaching is, you may get 50 different answers. If you are developing coaching initiatives in your organization, it’s critical to make sure that everyone clearly understands what effective coaching is, and what it is not. You may be surprised at the variety of perceptions within your management team.

#3: Conversation with their Coach: Who is coaching the coaches in your organization? How is the executive team directly supporting coaching? What messages are senior leaders sending, either consciously or unconsciously, regarding the importance of coaching?

It’s great to train the front-line managers on effective coaching skills. But if this is not being supported environmentally within your organization, managers will be facing challenging headwinds to sustaining any momentum.

You know coaching is important. If managers in your organization aren’t consistently doing it, look beneath the surface. Otherwise, you may fall into the trap of addressing symptoms rather than causes. Make sure you’re getting at the real reasons for this discrepancy as you focus on bridging that gap.

Re – Blogged From:- Integrity Solutions 

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Our research shows that the salespeople who consistently outperform the rest are those who release and expand their inner achievement drive. So the big question for sales training and management professionals is: How can you help every salesperson do that?

As Mike Fisher noted in a previous blog post, start by making sure they have a clear goal that’s personally motivating. But there’s another, even more powerful factor to take into account: “self-talk.”

This refers to the conversations salespeople are continually having with themselves about themselves. A salesperson may know intellectually what they need to do (“I think” statements), but their behavior is also driven by emotional “I feel” statements. In a contest between the two, their conscious willpower is no match for their powerful emotions. The “I feel” statements always win. That’s how they end up in a dynamic that goes something like this:

I know I need to call my prospect list to build up new business, but I’m going to check in again with my favorite clients.

There’s a third dimension of self-talk at play here, too: “I am” statements. Every salesperson unconsciously answers these questions:

What does it take to be successful?

Do I have what it takes to be successful?

In other words, do I believe I can do it?

A salesperson’s “I think” statements can set goals, but if their “I am” silently screams, “You’re not capable of doing that,” doubt and anxiety will creep in and eventually sabotage their ability to sell.

These “I am” statements are like the internal programming that regulates a person’s sales, income or rewards. You can’t release more achievement drive and improve performance until you break through these limiting self-beliefs.

A 5-Step Process for Expanding Sales Success Boundaries

The important thing to realize is that salespeople can break through their current levels of self-beliefs. What follows is a five-step process to get them started. As this process demonstrates, sales training and coaching that help people uncover and develop strategies for integrating new self-beliefs is a critical piece of the puzzle.

  1. Become aware of your current behaviors. Pay attention to the conscious choices you make or actions you take, or results you expect.
  2. Notice the attitudes or feelings that seem to influence those behaviors. Ask yourself, “What’s driving me to do this action or behavior? Is it driven by confidence or fear? By the need to avoid stress, or the desire to succeed?”
  3. Attempt to connect these feelings and behaviors with the unconscious beliefs that might be driving them. It’s likely that little will “pop out” to your consciousness at first. Just keep examining and looking for answers. Soon your “I am” will send answers to your “I think.”
  4. Select new beliefs that you’d like to have embedded in your “I am.” Through self-suggestion, you can begin to send those messages down inside yourself.
  5. Have the courage to go through the change, conflict and ambiguity that come as you grow and develop new beliefs. You’ll always go through these seemingly disruptive times until new beliefs have the time to establish themselves deep within you.

Each salesperson’s current level of self-belief “programming” has been developed largely by the self-suggestions they’ve programmed into it. That’s good news, because it means that they can change it the same way. It takes consistent attention and intention on the part of the salesperson, and it requires sales coaches who understand these dynamics and can support the transformation at every step.

Re- Blogged From – Integrity Solutions

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When it comes to driving organizational performance, the experts agree: If you want to create and deliver the value necessary to establishing a competitive advantage, effective coaching is critical.

In their groundbreaking book The Service-Profit Chain, for example, James L. Heskett, W. Earl Sasser and Leonard A. Schlesinger described the “new economics of service,” noting that, “Successful service managers pay attention to the factors that drive profitability in this new service paradigm: investment in people, technology that supports front-line workers, revamped recruiting and training practices, and compensation linked to performance for employees at every level.”

As the Service-Profit Chain illustrates, leadership is the first link in the value chain. Employees who believe their managers are committed to understanding and supporting their individual strengths and potential will be more engaged and aligned with organizational goals and objectives. Coaching demonstrates to them that:

  • They are valued, and their work is appreciated.
  • Their work is meaningful and contributes to the success of the organization and its customers.
  • What they do ties to important organizational outcomes, and they are clear about those connections.
  • They have a say in what they do and how work gets done.

What’s more, a consistent coaching culture has a multiplier effect, raising not only the level of employee performance and engagement but also the value delivered to customers. As numerous studies have shown, the more engaged your employees are, the more satisfied your customers will be—and you’ll have the bottom-line results to show for it.

Here’s what’s puzzling, though. The research is well established. The Service-Profit Chain isn’t a new concept. So why aren’t more organizations making headway in this area?

In our experience, there are some common barriers that get in the way. For one, while leaders may talk about building a strong coaching culture, managers often struggle to be successful in their role as coaches. Without adequate preparation, training and role-modeling from the top, managers may:

  • Confuse coaching with performance management
  • Play an overly directive role, not realizing that effective coaching hinges on a two-way conversation
  • Have trouble building trust and connecting in a meaningful way with all of their employees
  • Downplay the importance of coaching or let other priorities take over
  • Come to the table with preconceived beliefs that the employee’s potential is limited (which the employee picks up on and often lives down to)

3 Strategies for Creating a Strong Coaching Culture

Establishing a coaching culture requires an organizational commitment for developing a manager’s ability to coach and, most important, changing deeply embedded behaviors to develop new coaching habits.

Here’s a road map for getting your coaching culture off the ground and making sure it delivers the business and competitive impact you’re looking for.

1- Shift mindsets at all levels. This starts at the top:

  • Communicate new coaching expectations.
  • Assess current leadership styles and their impact on improving performance.
  • Develop new, positive attitudes and beliefs about coaching.
  • Link desired coaching outcomes to the success of the business.

2- Develop coaching capabilities. Equip your managers to:

  • Use coaching to balance goal directedness with people development.
  • Focus coaching on developing attitudes, beliefs, skills and behaviors.
  • Shift an employee’s inner beliefs that inhibit their success.
  • Ignite an employee’s ability to be self-motivated through self-discovery.

3- Sustain new coaching behaviors and skills. In addition to coaching your coaches to raise the bar on performance, work with and encourage your managers to:

  • Develop personal action plans for improving coaching capabilities.
  • Increase accountability for coaching frequencies.
  • Share practices and learn from colleagues.

Finally, make it a cultural standard to reward and recognize how coaching is affecting organizational success. Let people see the value it’s delivering, both internally and externally.

What’s your game plan?

Don’t assume that just talking about the importance of coaching is enough. Make sure you have the culture, behaviors, beliefs and skills in place so that coaching can truly strengthen your competitive edge.

Re- Blogged From :- Integrity Solutions

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Sales coaching is a topic that gets a lot of attention today, but that doesn’t mean companies are actively investing in developing coaches. In fact, many managers are given the responsibility as part of the job, without much in the way of preparation or support.

This is a shame, because effective coaching doesn’t just happen, and yet, the impact of great coaches can be far-reaching. By not only lifting productivity and performance but also building bonds of trust and loyalty, a strong coaching culture can quickly become a company’s key strategic differentiator. Talented employees will want to work there, and top performers will want to stay. After all, when you have a good relationship with a manager who’s invested in growing and developing you, that’s a risky thing to leave; you may not find it with the next manager.

But here’s the hard reality: Being a good sales manager doesn’t make you a good sales coach.

While the managerial role requires tactical, analytical and operational business skills, the coaching role is different; it focuses on the human side of the equation. It requires managers to be able to reach into the relationships with the people on their team, find out what their strengths and goals are, and then help align those to the job that needs to be done.

Fundamentally, a manager’s job is to get things done with and through other people, so this coaching responsibility is an essential piece of the puzzle. It’s why great leaders are often both good managers and good coaches. They’re complementary roles, not mutually exclusive ones.

Building Coaching Confidence

Again, this doesn’t happen simply by adding “sales coach” to the list of the manager’s job responsibilities. In many cases, it’s not even a question of whether the manager has specific coaching skills. Confidence and mindset have a huge influence on both a manager’s coaching effectiveness and a salesperson’s selling success. Just like the most successful salespeople have an internal drive to sell, the most effective sales coaches have an internal drive to invest in other people.

This is something that can be developed and nurtured, but the organization has to recognize it and make it a priority. If managers don’t understand and know how to address these “EQ” issues, including potential negative perceptions or limiting attitudes about coaching and selling, they will struggle in the role, regardless of their skill level.

Deepening Sales Performance

Of course, an investment in sales coaching isn’t just for the manager’s benefit. It’s ultimately about improving individual sales performance and committing to the ongoing success of top performers. But one of the questions I often hear is, isn’t training enough?

While it’s true that a single training event may be able to provide an immediate performance lift, in most cases, the improvements are going to be limited and short-term at best, particularly if the world around that individual doesn’t support new behaviors and attitudes.

The salesperson needs to come back to an environment and a culture that says, we see potential in what you’re doing and we want to help you grow. As such, the coach plays a big role in sustaining and accelerating those new behaviors. When you invest in sales training without coupling it with effective coaching and a process to support it, it’s not going to get you the same kind of results.

Sales Coaching Pays Off—Many Times Over

Why invest in sales coaching? Because it’s an investment that delivers in multiple ways, from increasing the return on your sales training investments to enhancing trust in the organization. And as trust grows, so does productivity—people want to show up and do more.

In other words, when you invest in coaching and make it a priority, you’re building a wall of protection around your greatest people. And that’s how coaching can become your best strategic defense.

By Derek Roberts

Re- Blogged From :- Integrity Solutions

 

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There’s a common saying about selling in healthcare: When you understand one health system, you understand one health system.

With the increasing complexity involved in navigating complex Integrated Delivery Networks (IDNs), there are no easy solutions to winning the business. Meanwhile, as the healthcare environment moves away from the fee-for-service model to value-based care, hospital executives’ expectations are changing. For those who are selling into the so-called C-suite, including senior executives and other top leaders, that means a shift for them as well.

Adding to the challenge is the fact that senior-level audiences have different demands and expectations than many salespeople are used to dealing with. From getting the appointment to interacting during the meeting, calling on senior executives requires a more strategic approach and a different set of skills.

We recently surveyed strategic account representatives and executives in the Medical Device and Diagnostic marketplace to learn a bit more about their experiences calling on senior leaders in today’s healthcare environment. We learned that some of their top challenges include gaining access and having a compelling, value-based reason to meet, among others.

A particularly revealing data point from the survey is the fact that only 21% of respondents felt “highly confident” in their ability to bring value to an executive-level conversation. We also discovered that 18% were “not confident” that they could bring value or have had no executive conversations in the past six months.

All of these factors affect how medical device, diagnostics, pharmaceutical and other healthcare sales organizations prepare their teams to step up into the carpeted side of the hospital.

The Power of Beliefs

While salespeople need to build new skills to address the unique expectations and demands of healthcare leaders, they also need to develop the necessary mindset to call on senior executives. In fact, when it comes to selling successfully to a senior leadership audience, a salesperson’s beliefs, values and ability to create value for customers are often more influential than their selling skills.

There are five key belief dimensions that influence executive sales success:

  • View of Selling to Executives: Your belief in creating value for health systems and executives.
  • View of Abilities: Your belief you can be successful selling to this level of customers.
  • Commitment to Activities: Your willingness to do what’s necessary—applying all the tools and resources—to be successful, every single time.
  • Belief in Solutions: Your belief that what you have to offer brings value.
  • Values: You have the integrity, honesty, work ethic, credibility, etc. to excel.

How can you help your salespeople expand their beliefs? One-on-one coaching is critical. Work with them to consider new possibilities for themselves. Ask them what they might do and say that’s completely outside their comfort zone. Acknowledge that it’s perfectly normal to be nervous. And focus on helping them develop and believe in the actions, feelings, behaviors and abilities that support a successful conversation.

A Different Customer with Different Priorities

In addition to potentially self-limiting beliefs, many salespeople struggle to succeed at the executive level because they assume the same approaches they use with other customers will work here, too.

The problem is, senior executives’ priorities and goals are different. In their decision-making process, they’re thinking about specific business drivers, like enhanced patient care, cost reduction, revenue growth and third-party partnerships. What this means is that selling to them is less about asking questions and more about helping them connect the dots. The salesperson has to bring insight that aligns with the executive’s strategic imperatives and helps them solve a problem that’s bigger than what’s in the representative’s product portfolio.

Successful salespeople do this by:

  • Understanding the priorities of senior executives and how those differ from the priorities of clinical or financial decision-makers
  • Recognizing how business drivers impact decisions.
  • Knowing how and when to get involved in the decision-making process—it has to be early.
  • Researching, doing the homework and coming in to the meeting highly prepared for that strategic discussion

This last point can’t be overstated. When working with senior leaders, there are no shortcuts and often no second chances. Thorough planning, preparation and research are non-negotiables. Eighty percent of what the salesperson would typically uncover through interviewing the customer should happen instead in preparation for the conversation.

Ultimately, selling to the C-suite in healthcare is a different game, one that’s highly dependent on the person’s beliefs, values and ability to create value at a strategic level. Not everyone is cut out for it. But with the right training, coaching and tools, your executive-level salespeople can step up to the challenge, become valuable partners to their customers, and make a significant positive impact—on the business and on people’s lives.

 

By Kevin King

 

Terri-OHalloran_2016-e1503588714253

In the financial services sector, like many other industries today, teams have become a critical foundation for sustainable growth. As Greg Winsper noted in a recent GAMA International webinar, a highly collaborative culture is a win for the firm, the advisor and the client.

From the firm’s perspective, teaming creates a variety of advantages, including faster skill development, increased productivity and increased client retention rates. For the advisor, the benefits are clear as well, from increased revenue, prospects and referral flow to having more opportunities to apply your unique skills to solve client problems. In fact, the advisors who regularly collaborate with their colleagues to meet customer needs typically stand apart from the rest. A recent LIMRA study found that the most productive advisors are those who partner with other advisors for specialized needs.

Firms are also discovering that a collaborative culture fosters the kind of environment that attracts a growing population of advisors who are looking for greater purpose in their work and deeper connections with their colleagues and leaders.

All of this translates into better service for the clients. They get more value from a team of complementary and collaborative partners who are committed to uncovering needs and finding the right resources to address them.

The question is, how do you make a team approach really work in practice?

3 Factors That Fuel High-Performing Teams

In our research and work with a variety of firms, both inside the financial services sector and in other industries, we’ve identified a few pivotal factors that drive high performance in teams. (For more in-depth discussion, tips and exercises on the critical factors for success, check out Chapter 4 Team Resources featuring Integrity Solutions in the new book, The Power of Teams, from the GAMA Foundation)

1- The Team Leader’s Coaching Skills

The best teams build on each other’s strengths, keep aligned and focused on the goal, and work together from a point of mutual respect. It all starts with a great coach.

Team members look to their leaders to provide guidance and support, to run interference when necessary, and to set the example for how the team will operate. We’ve found that there are two key traits that influence a leader’s coaching effectiveness: being goal focused and being people focused. Some are overly focused on people and don’t want to hurt team members’ feelings by challenging them. Others are goal directed to the exclusion of being sensitive to people’s feelings and often may run over advisors. Successful leaders have a blend of both and know how to be flexible to the needs of their team.

2- The Team’s Coaching Skills

Coaching isn’t just the job of the leader, though. High-performance teams develop coaching skills within their ranks to create a group of highly effective peer-to-peer coaches.

But keep in mind, this requires a strong, healthy team dynamic. You have to do the work upfront to align attitudes and behaviors around providing value for the customer and to encourage an openness to feedback and new possibilities.

3- A High-Trust Culture

We often say that EQ—Emotional Intelligence—is the secret sauce of great team coaches, whether you’re talking about the leader or a peer-to-peer coach. Particularly when the going gets tough, a team can’t thrive without healthy interactions, trust in each other and trust in their leadership. Emotional Intelligence produces traits such as stability, persistence, the ability to stay calm under pressure, and resilience in the face of challenging situations and change — conditions that describe the daily reality for most teams today.

The good news is that unlike IQ, which is essentially fixed, Emotional and Social Intelligence can be developed.

Getting into the Team Mindset

There’s no denying the power of teams in the workplace today, and particularly for your advisors who are used to working solo, this represents a significant mind shift. Make sure the coaching and culture is in place to support a successful transition.

Below is a list of questions to get your team off on the right foot so they can collaborate and coach each other to success:

  1. Where are we now as a team and where would we like to be?
  2. What does that look like? How will we determine success?
  3. What about our team goal(s) excites you? Motivates you?
  4. What about our team goal(s) de-motivates you?
  5. What progress have we made with our team goal(s)? Are there revisions/changes we need to make in any goal(s)?
  6. What incremental mini-goals have we already achieved?
  7. What new mini-goals do we need to set?
  8. How will we build belief that our goals are possible?
  9. What prior successes can we build on? What new beliefs will we need to build?
  10. What new attitudes, habits, skills, and specialized knowledge do we need to develop?
  11. What affirmations will strengthen our belief and desire?
  12. What can we do today that will take us one step closer to our goal(s)?

By Terri O’Halloran

Re- Blogged From:- Integrity Solutions

Source:- https://www.integritysolutions.com/insights/3-secrets-unlocking-high-performance-teams

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