Imagine your favorite sports team without a coach.
It’s pretty hard too, right? A coach is absolutely critical to the success of a sports team.
That’s why they’re normally in the firing line when their team is underperforming!
A great coach can make the difference between a team doing poorly or doing well.
Take the NRL’s South Sydney Rabbitohs for example. In 2017 they came 12th out of 16 teams. The next year, with largely the same team but a new coach (who would go on to win Coach of the Year), they came third and made it to within one game of the Grand Final.
A great coach can also make the difference between doing well and winning it all.
The Golden State Warriors were a good NBA team in the 2013-14 season, winning 51 games and the 6th seed in the Western Conference. They were narrowly knocked out of the playoffs in the first round.
With a new coach the next season and the same core group of players they won 67 games (the best record in the NBA) and went on to win their first NBA Championship since 1974. They’ve made the Finals every year since winning a further two Championships.
So, what does this have to do with sales?
Well, just like coach has a big impact on the success of their sports team, a sales coach can help you have the increased success with your sales results.
The Difference Between Sales Coaching and Sales Training
Sales coaching and sales training are not the same.
While they will both help you get better and improve your results, they focus on different things.
In short, a coach is focused on the present and what you can do now to improve and achieve better results. Whereas, sales training is designed to develop specific sales skills and techniques.
They often go hand in hand, with coaching identifying particular areas that you may need training in.
A good coach will help you solve your own problems and issues and point you in the right direction, so you can go out and be successful. They also tend to focus on your strengths rather than weaknesses.
My boxing coach was extremely influential in not just helping me in the ring, but also helping me grow as a person.
I would be worried about the competitions and fights I had coming up, but he would help me focus on the fight that was right in front of me.
What actually is Sales Coaching?
It is easy to picture a basketball, rugby league or boxing coach and how they help their team and players succeed.
But what does a sales coach do?
Coaching is already prevalent in the business world – think business coaches. But sales coaching has a lot more similarities with sports coaching than business coaching.
Like a sports coach can’t step into the ring and win the fight for you, a sales coach can’t get out there and make your sale. Instead, they work with you to put in the best position to go out and win or close the deal.
Sales coaching is normally one-on-one and tailored to you and your situation. The sales coach’s job is to understand how you are making sales now and help to tap into your inner strengths and beliefs to reach your potential.
For example, fear is a common reason why salespeople struggle to sell as well as they could.
It was the same for me stepping into the boxing ring for the first time. Seeing the size of my opponent and watching how hard they could hit left me absolutely terrified.
Just before the bell was due to ding, my coach looked me in the eye and calmly said, “Sharn, fear is like cancer. It starts small and if you don’t get it out, it will grow and destroy you. Don’t worry about him, if he is stupid enough to get in the ring with you, then that is not your fault.”
My coach believed in me, so I started to believe in myself and I overcame my fear.
A good sales coach will help you overcome the barriers that are holding you back from reaching your sales potential.
The Benefits of Sales Coaching
Sales coaching has a number of benefits. Here are four of them.
1. Improve Sales Skills
Sales training is normally fairly general and covers the basic sales skills all salespeople need.
However, due to the personalised nature of sales coaching, specific sales skills can be focused on depending on your needs.
2. Improve Win Rates
Since sales coaching is directly targeted to you and your situation, specific deals and opportunities in your pipeline can be focused on.
Just like my coach would break down the strengths and weaknesses of my next opponent, a sales coach can help you assess a particular prospect’s needs and how best to approach them and close the deal.
3. Help You Grow and Develop
Ultimately, coaching is about you and helping you grow and develop. While a sales coach is focusing on how you sell, what you learn and understand about yourself through the process will be applicable in other areas of your life.
Yes, my boxing coach helped me win a lot of boxing matches, but he also helped he discover my own inner strength and unlock my potential.
4. Improve Sales Results
This goes without saying. Improving your sales skills and win rates and growing and developing as a person will improve your sales results overall.
Investing in a good sales coach will pay itself off many times over.
In summary, sports teams & athletes need a coach to help them reach their potential.
It’s no different in sales. A good sales coach can help you and your sales team reach their potential.
The one-on-one nature of sales coaching allows different things to be worked on compared to sales training with the focus on helping you maximise your results right now.