Do you coach the game-changer?
The game-changer is the one thing you pick up on when coaching a sales call that will have the biggest impact on the sales rep’s performance. In this blog and video (see here) we discuss the definition of ‘game-changing’ improvements; how coaches identify game-changers with their reps; and how the coach can navigate the path forward to implement game-changing improvements.
We believe game-changing improvements are easiest to explain when we think about it in a sports context. Roger Federer in his earlier professional days was critiqued as having a weak backhand compared to his other winning shots. He and his team decided that on reflection it would be a “game-changer” for him to alter and improve his backhand technique and make it a force to be reckoned with. In turn, this led to opponents fearing his backhand - and later rewarded him with numerous grand slam trophies.
Why is it important not to overload your rep with ‘areas for improvement’?
In sales coaching, we can look for game-changing improvements when listening to a reps meeting or sales call. It's likely you’ll hear many opportunities for improvement. However, if we share all of those areas at once, the rep will feel overwhelmed with the amount of improvement work they need to do - and this could knock their confidence.
Instead, when we highlight only the most crucial and impacting areas for improvement within a call, this is less intimidating. In turn, this one “thing” could be what is most likely to make a big difference to their sales performance - #thegamechanger.
How do you get your rep to discover their game-changer?
It’s fab when the coach and rep identify the same game-changer during sales coaching; however, sometimes it might not always be as obvious to the rep as it is to the coach! You can guide the sales rep by asking a couple of coaching questions. These questions will help the sales rep view their call from a different perspective:
- How do you think the prospect was feeling when you said….. in the call?
- What other approach could you have tried when…?
You can also guide your rep to the area for improvement, by asking them a question which gets them to explore different ways of dealing with the situation, like in the example above.
Even then, when the game-changer is realised, it might take some work and time to change the rep’s behavior to make this happen. Great sales performance coaching includes a mix of open-ended questions to effectively identify and address any issues that can make a big difference.
As sales managers, we want to work with our reps to make a realistic and achievable plan to achieve the ‘game-changer’.
How do we coach the path forward? Ask them questions like:
- What are they going to commit to doing to improve?
- Is there anything that might distract them along the way in doing this?
- How can I help you be accountable and make this plan work?
Once the plan is put in-place, make sure you follow-up on their progress by listening to new call recordings, and reflect on this in your sales coaching sessions. Make sure to reward them if they have taken the new game-changing strategy onboard.
Congratulate this aspect of the call with the rest of your team by sharing the call playback or audio transcription, to show the journey your rep has travelled to make this happen. And ask them how they think this strategy is going. Be open to discuss adapting their plan if it’s not working as you both expected it too.
6 Dos and Don’ts to focus on game-changer improvements:
- Do highlight the most crucial elements of the call that can be improved to make the most impact on their sales performance.
- Don’t overwhelm the rep with too many things at once. Focus on the game-changer!
- Do include a mix of open-ended questions to effectively identify and address any issues that can make a big difference.
- Don’t tell them the answers, they need to work this out on their own.
- Do work together to realise an achievable plan to action the ‘game-changer’.
- Do congratulate your rep on any work they do to implement these changes.