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We all know the mantra of sales leadership: find, recruit and retain top talent. But after recruiting, the most important role of a leader is to provide feedback and coaching. My guest in this episode of the Modern Selling podcast is an experienced leader who brings five amazing sales coaching tips you can use, whether you are a seasoned leader or just starting out as a sales leader.
Dive into the fascinating conversation with Scott Miller, Executive Vice President of Thought Leadership at FranklinCovey Co. Scott leads the strategy, development, and publication of FranklinCovey’s bestselling books and thought leadership, which provide the framework for the company’s world-renowned content and solutions.
He is the author of FranklinCovey’s Management Mess to Leadership Success: Become the Leader You Would Follow (Mango Media). He is also the co-author of The Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves A Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team, released in October 2019 (Simon & Schuster).
In his previous roles as Executive Vice President of Business Development and Chief Marketing Officer, Scott helped lead the global transformation of FranklinCovey’s brand to match the transformation of the company. Prior to that, as General Manager of Client Facilitation Services, Miller worked with thousands of clients and client facilitators in numerous markets in over thirty countries. He has presented to hundreds of audiences across every industry, and loves to share his unique journey as an unfiltered leader thriving in today’s highly filtered corporate culture.
He is definitely a leadership expert and you don’t want to miss the sales coaching tips he reveals in this interview.Five Sales Coaching Tips for Success
Many sales leaders were promoted to their current positions because they were the top performers in their team or because they had many skills and talents that helped them climb the corporate ladder. But the truth is that they don’t know how to lead.
Leadership is about building people and leaving a legacy and that involves continuous sales coaching with your team. The following five sales coaching tips will help you become a better leader.1. Develop a Leader’s Mindset
The first role of a leader or manager is to develop a leader’s mindset. The old mindset was, “I achieve results on my own.” That’s what people promoted into leadership did as independent producers, but they must realize that what they did as top sales representatives has no correlation to leadership.
Scott says that the new mindset is, “I get work done with and through other people.” And that requires a new set of skills.2. Nurture the Goose and get the Golden Eggs
According to data from a leadership training firm, the average promotion into leadership is at age 30, but the average age at which they receive leadership training is 42. That’s a 12 year gap!
The pressure for growth in many companies doesn’t allow leaders and managers to slow down and teach leadership principles. Scott says that sales leaders must be conscious of the type of growth they want to achieve so they don’t burn out their sales reps and balance that with sales coaching -- that way you nurture the goose (the sellers) and get the golden eggs (the sales).
The role of leaders is to enable, grow, pollinate and build their teams, which takes time and effort. So make it a priority to set apart time for sales coaching with your reps.3. Check your ego
Self-awareness is one of the most important traits of a leader. As a sales leader, you must recognize your strengths and also your areas of growth, your weaknesses. Listen to your team and own your mess.
Scott advises newly promoted leaders to sit down with their team and admit that they are scared and that they don’t have all the answers. That will create a culture of honesty and trust.
Understand that the leader is the linchpin of culture in any organization and people don’t quit their jobs, they quit bad bosses and corrupt cultures.4. Make it safe for people to tell the truth
One of my favorite quotes from this interview is “bad news is acceptable, wrong news is not acceptable.”
Wrong news means people are lying to you instead of telling you something that went bad with a deal.
As a sales leader you have to create an environment where it’s safe for your sellers to tell you the truth. How? Talking through the bad news, assessing what could be done better and finding teachable moments to coach your reps instead of shouting and getting angry.
Create a culture where each sales rep performs, learns, grows and owns his or her mistakes without fear.5. Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room
Scott says that if you believe you have to be the smartest person in the room, you will only hire people who are below your skill level and that will hold back the organization.
As a sales leader your job is not to be the best sales person, but to recruit and retain talent, put systems in place, coach, mentor, be patient and exit people when they are the wrong fit. That means you can have sellers that are better than you ever were without feeling threatened. Your job is to retain that quality talent and give them feedback on their blindspots.An Extra Sales Coaching Tip for Success
Many times, as a sales leader, you will feel tempted to jump in and save the day when a member of your team is in trouble. But what if you allow the sales rep to make a mistake and turn that into a coaching opportunity?
The fact is that if you don’t coach, you won’t be able to scale the business. If you are always saving the day, then the success of the business or the quota of the sales team will depend on you alone.
Scott says that leaders must calibrate their time. Sometimes they will have to step in and close a deal, but sometimes they will have to allow things to happen to have a teachable moment.
The job of the leader is knowledge transfer, not only from his or her coaching sessions, but also beyond that. The best leaders think, “How do I create capacity over time so that the person I’m coaching can then coach someone else?”
The secret to success then is to become a leader of leaders, where your mentees are mentoring others at the same time.
Listen to this episode to learn more about coaching sales reps and some great examples of teachable moments with our sales teams.Outline of This Episode
- [8:30] The Leadership Mindset
- [12:30] Nurturing the goose and getting the golden eggs
- [15:42] Checking your ego
- [23:00] Don’t try to be the smartest person in the room
- [27:30] More tips for coaching for success
- Connect with Scott Miller on LinkedIn
- Follow Scott on Twitter: @scottmillerj1
- Scott’s favorite movie: The Devil’s Advocate
- Scott’s book: Management Mess to Leadership Success
- Recommended book: Multipliers by Liz Wiseman
- Modern Marketing Engine Podcast - Bernie Borges
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