If you haven't read my first three articles on the first 6 steps in my coaching process, you can catch up here.
1-6 establish our mindset as well as the tone and rhythm and cadence of our calls. 7, 8 and 9 are the meat of every day.
#7 - Keep it real.
#8 - Get down and into it.
#9 - Back it up.
Keep it real.
Every day I ask myself, what would I do TODAY if I were this rep. I need to know what they did yesterday that needs to be addressed today. Do they have scheduled calls or meetings today? Do they need to get a referral from somebody? Do they have a networking event or trade show to prep for? Do they have leads to follow up on? PICK ONE THING! (preferably the most important) You may have to look at their calendar to see what's coming up or what they've done. You may have to look at their CRM to look for meaningless updates, or missed follow-up dates. I'll sometimes pick a lead at random and ask what they've done with it. It's not unusual for a rep to want to talk about something that they think is important and they want you to confirm that they're on the right track. You want to find something that they're stuck on or gave up on and help them get it moving. Keep it real life, not theoretical musing or teaching for teaching's sake. Coaching a real opportunity will have immediate feedback and reward and the learning and growth will stick and remember that if you pick the one, most important thing to work on every day progress will be made on the most important things.
Get down and into it.
When I coach, I use very few periods. Everything is a question. EVERYTHING! I might ask...
- Why is this the right thing to talk about today?
- What else do you have going?
- Where are you in the process?
- What did you do before that?
- Why are they talking to you?
- Who is the decision maker?
- What is their timeline?
- Have they answered each of my 8 questions?
- What are the consequences of doing nothing?
- How long has this been going on?
- Who else cares?
- How did they get there?
- What did they say when you asked...?
Every question has to be answered. Every answer needs to be asked about. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Here's an example.
Me: How did you get the lead?
Rep: They filled out a form.
Me: How did you start the conversation with them?
Rep: I called them.
Me: Did they answer?
Me: What did you say?
Rep: Who I was. Company. Following up on form. Did they get what they needed?
Me: What did they say?
Rep: They didn't need anything else?
Me: Did they complete the form?
Me: What form field answers did you ask about?
Rep: They weren't interested in answering questions.
Me: Were you happy with the call?
Rep: They weren't a real prospect.
Me: Why did they fill out the form?
Rep; I don't know.
Me: What do you think might have happened if you asked them why they answered (a specific form question) the way they did?
Rep; I don't know.
Me: How might they have answered it?
and you can start a role play. Make sure that you address both do they know and can they.
If they did have a substantive conversation, you should drill down on finding the compelling reason, decision making issues, timeline, cost of consequences, budget. Try asking about starting points of various parts of their process.
Finally, I'm probably gonna ask if they have any similar leads that they'll be able to use this on. Then, I'll remind them that they can and that they should let me know how it goes.
Back it up.
Hopefully, you've adjusted your communication style to align with the way they want to learn by mixing in visual, auditory and kinesthetic messaging during your sessions. Remember in school, you got homework. Homework backs your coaching up. It gives them a reminder after the call is over. It allows them to read your lesson in someone else's words (or you on a different day). It let's them absorb at their pace. So, share articles on the topic of the day with them. They'll also be able to re-read and remind before they make their next call. When you're coaching, you have great material to write about. Do it and reuse your articles. Keep a library of 'go to' articles. I share mine, Pete's, Mark's, and various other's articles on a regular basis.
One more...the grand finale...the glue that makes it work. Next time!