Fundamental #3 – Practices Guiding versus Telling, is part of our series, The Making of a Highly Effective Sales Manager.
I’m stepping through each of the 5 Fundamentals of a Highly Effective Sales Manager, offering depth around what each means to me. Catch up here and here.
Be it a deal or an opinion, sellers wanna sell. The great ones do it confidently and with what can sometimes be construed as aggressive conviction. This can work wonders in the field, but I commonly see that passion inappropriately applied in coaching conversations.
Take this example: A salesperson shares a scenario with their manager, who responds with “Okay, here’s where you went wrong …”, immediately launching into The Problem. The Solution. The End.
That’s a “telling” way of coaching.
Guiding, on the other hand, lets a person walk through what’s in their own head (rather than yours) to come to his or her own realizations about what the problem may have been.
Our instinct is to solve the problem when we can see the answer. But that instinct is exactly the wrong one, in reality. This fundamental is about making heroes instead of being the hero.
This is especially challenging for sales managers. Establishing a coaching framework based on key sales conversation skills and points is the best way to reign in the know-it-all and pace a seller’s learning curve in a way that allows for digestion of what happened.
If you walk into a meeting with a prospect and spend 90% of your time telling them how great your company is, does that work? Of course not. You’ve got to ask good questions, diagnose their needs, and align your solution to their problem. Coaching is the same way. Just as it is with your prospects, the only real change occurs when sellers come to their own realization about why they should change.
Once you get good at asking questions to help them arrive at that moment, make sure you’re ready to help them with the rationale before going from the “why” to the “what.” And remember: “Because I said so” works … until it doesn’t.
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