As a sales rep, you can read all the sales books and blogs, watch all the instructional videos, and become something of a minor theoretical knowledge expert. And while this is both valuable and helpful, what will likely make the biggest impact in your sales career is receiving expert sales coaching.
Why? Because expert sales coaching takes concepts and applies them to real-world scenarios, so you can clearly see the what and how of doing things more effectively.
But in order to get the full benefits from expert sales coaching, you need to be, well, coachable. And this article here is your guide to becoming that.
- Remember that coaching is an opportunity for an improvement, not a personal attack or a judgement on you as an individual.
Be sure your mindset is not defensive but more open. Remind yourself that first and foremost, this is how you can determine how to improve as a sales rep. Secondly, this is strictly about your work performance and persona. It’s not about your beliefs, interests, or your identity – so don’t take the suggestion that, say for example, you should speak more clearly in presentations, as a personal attack.
- Ask questions and don’t be afraid to seek help.
Many sales reps are wary of asking questions or seeking help out of fear of appearing incompetent. Remember, your coaching meetings are opportunities to probe your manager or other leader for their expert advice and knowledge. Take advantage. Ask about the things you need or want to know about, those situations or behaviors you could use some assistance with. Or simply just get their thoughts on things you’re considering. There’s the added bonus of cultivating a reputation for someone who is passionate about sales and wants to get better – which can only help your career.
- Tell your manager how you’d liked to be coached.
This might sound awkward, but it’s one of the best things you can do to improve both the quality of coaching and the benefits you derive from it. After all, some people prefer to hear praise alongside critiques. Others want to just hear the facts. You might prefer small talk before getting down to the meeting. (If you’re noticing this can be mapped to customer communication styles, congratulations. That’s exactly the case).
Otherwise, the manager could default to whatever their preferred communication style and mode of coaching is. That could work, but it could be suboptimal or simply just not resonate with you – in which case the coaching benefits will either be reduced or even potentially lost in the most extreme cases. So it’s important to make this a priority.
Keeping these three ideas in mind and employing them will help you get the most out of your coaching sessions. You also might want to review (or read if you haven’t already) our earlier blog post on what you should look to gain from coaching at different points in your career.