In The Journey to Sales Transformation, crafty old messenger Benjamin Delaney directs Chief Sales Officer Phillip Evan Hawthorne’s sales transformation journey. Ben reveals truths of becoming a trusted advisor and partner to his customers through observations and stories. In this fifth of a series of excerpts Ben is discussing how sales coaches correct gaps in seller behavior to help sales reps meet sales goals and targets.
“Excellent, Ben. So I’ve got setting goals, finding gaps in behavior, and figuring out the cause of the gap. What’s next?” Phillip asked as he raised his pen.
“Next is prescribing fixes. A good coach has to be able to tell a player what to do to get better. He can’t just say, ‘You gotta do better’, and hope the player finds a way. A good coach knows what resources are available to correct problems with commitment, skill, or knowledge.”
As soon as Phillip stopped writing, he put down his pen. “I can see where that would be a challenge for someone like Coach Dillon. If he doesn’t know the fundamentals of the game, how could he recognize what was wrong and tell someone how to get better?” Phillip looked down the first base line to Coach Cullen. “So where did Cullen get his training? Was it trial and error? Was he a ballplayer?”
“Before I tell you, I have a question. Are all your managers going through the training for your sales process?” Ben was pretty certain he already knew the answer.
Phillip turned to Ben with a knowing grin of his own. “Okay, Ben. I’ve gotten to the point where I recognize the times you’re setting me up. This is one of them. Some of my field sales managers may go to the sessions, but you can be certain anyone above that level hasn’t or won’t. The opinion is that this is training for salespeople, not for managers.”
“Well, let’s talk about Cullen for a minute, because it’s a funny thing, Phil,” Ben said as he scratched his head just above his left ear. “Cullen didn’t play baseball at all as a kid. He would watch a game every now and then on TV, but fancied himself more of a hoops player. Played high school basketball. He didn’t actually play baseball before he started coaching it.”
“You’re kidding,” Phillip said with a respectful glance in the direction of Coach Cullen Joseph. “So how’d he learn to be such a good baseball coach?”
“Remember I told you Coach Dillon sent his boy to clinics?” Ben nodded toward Dillon Porter.
“Yep.” Phillip nodded in return.
“Well, so did Coach Cullen, except he went to the camps with his kids. I mean, he couldn’t actually participate, but he watched and learned. He figured if he was going to reinforce what his boys were being taught, he better know what they knew, see what they saw. You see, Phil, the best coaches know what to look for. They can see problems in a swing or stance. They can help figure out what’s wrong and what to do to fix it. They’re always evaluating their player’s performance and helping them improve, always helping them get better.”
“So you’re saying my management should be going through training?” Phillip asked with resignation.
“Should Coach Dillon go to baseball camps?” Ben asked with his head cocked and his eyebrows raised.
“Duh,” Phillip said while displaying what could have been the goofiest look ever displayed by a C-level executive. Maybe not, but it was close. “So I’ve got goals, gaps, root causes for failure, and fixes. Anything else to add to the list?”
Excerpt from ‘The Journey to Sales Transformation: 25 AXIOMS for becoming a trusted partner to your customers.’ Available at AMAZON.com.