Should I Hire A Sales Coach?

I received this question the other day and I started to reply and then realized that the answer would be really useful for many of my readers…

I follow your regular updates with interest. I’m doing some work on goal setting at the moment both personally and for clients. One of the personal goals I’m toying with is the idea of hiring a personal sales mentor/coach.

I was interested to know if this was an area that you had an opinion on?

Do I have an opinion? I think all my readers will know that I must have. To try and help, I have broken the question down into several sub-questions…

Who should hire a sales coach?

  • Salespeople who want to increase their skills, their sales strategies and their sales approach.
  • Non-salespeople who want to ensure that their sales systems and processes are the most effective that they can be.
  • Sales managers and team leaders who need to recruit, manage and motivate sales teams, both small and large.
  • Sales leaders and business owners looking to develop powerful sales systems and productive sales teams.

When should I hire a sales coach?

Better question. Now, this is where I disagree with many people because many people would say, “All of the time!” Not surprisingly, most of them have coaching services to sell!

For many people, constant sales coaching loses it zing and may suffer from co-dependency issues. Personally, I think most if not all people involved with sales would benefit from having a coach or coaches at times but not all of the time. Maybe most of the time but certainly not all.

Coaching is great for salespeople looking to break through barriers, stretch for new sales goals, get unstuck orwho are taking on new projects. Here are some classic examples where a sales coach can help?

  • Setting new goals, life plans and strategic direction.
  • Setting out a sales and new client acquisition strategy.
  • Developing new sales skills and sales processes, practising sales techniques and approaches and trying out new methods.
  • Creating realistic systems and plans for achieving unrealistic goals.
  • Getting out of comfort zones and motivation traps and re-motivating and re-energizing salespeople not firing on all cylinders.

Who should hire a sales coach?

  • Salespeople and non-salespeople taking on new challenges where support or experience is limited.
  • Team leaders, sales managers and sales leaders facing promotions, new responsibilities and new challenges.
  • Anyone wanting to achieve quantum leaps in their sales results…. fast!

When should I not hire a sales coach?

  • When you don’t want one.
  • When you are looking for someone to sympathise with your “plight”.
  • When you don’t believe in them.
  • When you want them to do the work for you.
  • When it’s forced upon you.
  • When you don’t want to hear the truth (although this is, of course, just when you do need one!)

What are my alternatives to using a sales coach?

Sometimes there aren’t any but sometimes there are many options available and all of them may well be right at one stage or another of your sales career. Here are just a few alternatives…

  • Self-learn from your own experiences.
  • Read a book, listen to an audio, watch a DVD, join a sales progamme.
  • Set up a Sales Champions group.
  • Buddy up with a friend.
  • Attend a seminar or a training course.

How do I choose my sales coach?

  • Do some research, join some newsletters and watch some videos from sales coaches.
  • Get referrals and advice from friends and colleagues who have used a sales coach.
  • Ask some sales coaches some questions and facilitate a few conversations.
  • Find someone you can trust and who has credibility and the credentials to help you.
  • Make sure that they challenge you… this is not about blowing hot air up your rear end.
  • Choose someone who inspires you.
  • And feel free to use different coaches for specialist situations. This is not a one-size-fits-all scenario.

Will you be my sales coach Gavin?

Great question. I don’t know yet.

For many years, I have wrestled with the constant challenge of not having enough time to do everything that needs to be done. I only have limited time and only a small amount of that is allocated to very (very) committed clients who want to achieve extraordinary results in their sales and in their lives. If you have a desire to be average or, worse still, mediocre I’m not interested.

If you want want to consider coaching with me, spend some time reading the blogs and watch some of the free videos. Better still, read a few of my books, listen to an audio, watch a DVD or attend a seminar. If that juices you up and you’re up for making a quantum leap in your sales or taking your sales teams to the next level then use the contact form to tell me why you think I should work with you and we’ll take it from there…

APSCo Members Conference, 2010, Brave New World

I am delighted to have been invited to speak for the 2nd time at the APSCo Members Conference on Thursday 30th September at the Hilton London Tower Bridge. I spoke at the APSCo (or ATSCo as it was then) conference in 2008 (ATSCo 2008) and it was a great event. I know this isn’t for all of my readers but if you are in recruitment and you’re a member, then why not come along? This may well be the only recruitment specific event that I attend in 2010.

The APSCo Members Conference is firmly established as the largest sales conference in the recruitment profession in the UK and is market specific, content rich and enlightening day for both sales and sales management professionals in the recruitment sector. The focus is on providing information, techniques and tactics that will help to improve the consistency of success for even the most experienced of recruiters. Speaking at the event this year are…

  • Ann Swain, Chief Executive, APSCo.
  • Anthony Hilton, Financial Editor, Evening Standard. The Business Lessons of The Post Credit Crunch Recession.
  • Chris Matchan, The Chris Matchan Partnership. Engagement in a Brave New World.
  • Me, Gavin Ingham, How to Make Quantum Leaps in Your Sales Results.

There will also be several break out sessions away from the main stage with options for managers (Charles Bates, Know Why & Keep It Right & Duncan John, Transactional Analysis & Communication), salespeople (Graham Smith, How to Let Other People Have Your Way & Colin Forster, The Sales Relationship in a Brave New World) and executives (Rob Gee, Authentic Leadership).

The conference will the finish up with a panel discussion on “How Can Recruiters Adapt to Provide the Service Clients Need in Today’s Environment – And Still Make Profit?”

You can see the full APSCo Members Conference brochure here. And you can find members and non-members booking form on the APSCo website here.

How Not To Sell High Value Products & Services

At the back end of the year last year I moved house and over the last few months we have been gradually putting our own touches to the house. I don’t have a lot of time (what with speaking at sales conferences and writing sales books and audios) and I don’t do things myself and I am very much of the belief that if I can pay someone to do something and I can get on with my life then that’s great. This makes me something of a salesperson’s dream because if the deal’s right I don’t shop around and I will make a decision fast… and not one based on price either.

Or so I thought…

One of the things we need are some fitted cupboards for one of the bedrooms. It’s not a room we use and it’s not the main visitor’s room so it really is a case of find a good company and get it done. We ideally wanted to support a local company so when we saw a company with signage on one of the local roundabouts we rang them and they offered to send a “salesperson” around.

A few days later Steve, I have changed his name to protect the totally inept and ridiculously incompetent, arrived at the house. He was scruffy, his clothes were tired (jeans, trainers, t-shirt) and he looked a little dirty! He had no interpersonal skills and his sole “sales pitch” was to measure the wall (‘cause you know, I can’t do that) and then tell us to go to the showroom. Every question of any kind was met with the answer, “I dunno. You’ll have to go to the showroom!”

He left.

Now, at this point, I really should have cut my losses but, determined to support a local company and interested in what the showroom sales experience would be like, we did venture there on Saturday. Not a good decision! They had no idea who we were and made no attempt to find out anything about us or tell us anything about the company or their products. They simply quoted a ridiculously high figure and then let us walk out after I pointed this out to them (to which I got no response).

Now I was telling a friend about this this morning and he said, “Well, I thought you said it wasn’t about price, it was about value?” Well, yes, I did and I do and he was right, but there wasn’t any. Value cannot just be assumed because you decide it is so. Value has to be uncovered, value has to be built up, value has to be understood and value has to be about the customer, not you.

So I thought that it would be fun to look at how not to do it, so here follow 7 Rules For How Not To Sell High Value Products & Services.

  1. Pay no attention to your personal appearance, dress and cleanliness.
  2. Build no rapport with your prospects  – business, personal or otherwise.
  3. Don’t ask any questions about what is important to your customers.
  4. Don’t bother understanding what your prospects want or need.
  5. Make no attempt to explain what is special, unique or bespoke about your services and products.
  6. Don’t follow up on enquiries and fail to follow any proven sales process.
  7. Let your customers think that you don’t care and you’re not interested.

I’d like to say that I’d give them another try in the future but I doubt they’ll be there. Whoever is in charge of their business needs to do some sales training fast.

Talking about selling on value not price is one thing, doing it is totally another.