Coaching the Art vs the Science of Sales

Yesterday, I was debriefing a call with a rep. He told me that he did his rapport thing and proceeded to set his "Up Front Contract". He asked, "Are we still good for 30 minutes?" Then he started, "I'll have a lot of questions and I'm sure that you'll have a lot of questions..." I interrupted him and asked if he thought any of his prospects saw his attempts to use the Sandler System? When he said, "Yes.", I asked do they like it? He said, "Not usually."

Yesterday, Dave Kurlan made a distinction between the Art and Science of Selling.

Go back and re-read the first paragraph. Notice that the rep told me that he did his rapport thing and proceeded to set his "Up Front Contract". Do you think his prospect saw him change hats? The rapport step was done. Now we make our Up Front Contract? Do you think that the prospect also saw my rep put on his "Finding Pain" hat, his "Qualifying for Decision and Money" hat. Coaching involves way more than teaching your rep the steps in the process.

Specifically, my rep asked, "Are we still good for 30 minutes?" I told him not to bother. If they showed up for the call you have 30 seconds to make it interesting and about them. If you don't, they will check their email, mute themselves and talk to somebody else or magically discover a conflict and you will never speak with them again...... 30 seconds. What if you asked, "Where should we start?" or "Would you like to start or should I?" How many different scenarios have you role-played with your reps?

Remember that my rep started, "I'll have a lot of questions and I'm sure that you'll have a lot of questions..."? His prospect doesn't care about my rep's questions. They only care about getting the answers to their questions. Let your prospect get to it and help your rep get good at listening to their replies and asking questions directly related to their reply. For example, I have 8 questions that I need answered before I'll do business with someone. So, I start with, "Where should we start?"

They say, "I was hoping to find out how you coach, how much it costs and get some references."

Me: Cool. Can I ask, what's going on now?

Them: I was hired as the first sales rep and the owner and I did all the selling. We've recruited two AE's and a BDR and it seems as though we're burning through leads fast and not getting deals done.

Me: Are you getting more leads than you were? Is there a quality difference?

Them: Our marketing department tripled the number of leads coming in.

Me: Wow. Tripled the leads... , but sales hasn't tripled?

Them: Worse. Sales are down.

Me: What are your salespeople saying about sales going down?

(end for now)

I typically have my rep play the prospect and I play the rep. If you want to get your people having good productive conversations, role play listening and asking in different situations 2-3 times/day.

When they get good at this,

  • your prospects will trust and respect your reps
  • your sales cycle will shorten because the prospect will drive it
  • your prospects will stop hiding
  • your prospects will close themselves.

Mark recommended me a few days ago on LinkedIn saying in part,

One week left in January "$0 for the month and no path to quota. Rick helped us shift focus and we applied several techniques over the course of a week. By the end of the month, that rep not only got to quota, but finished over 130%."

The secret was asking the right person the right question at the right time. Imagine if Mark's guy could do 130% in one week every month. Do you think he might ever try for two weeks in a month? The secret to getting Mark to be able to help his rep was to help him understand the Science of the Art of Sales.

If you want to ask about a specific situation, start here.


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