7 MORE Qualities of a Great Sales Coach

This is a follow-up article to 7 Qualities of a Great Sales Coach. Here are seven more qualities to help you become a great sales coach:

1. They know the value of incrementalism.

Incrementalism is any method of achieving a goal by means of a series of gradual increments, or small steps. True sales skills improve the same way – over time from consistent coaching, practice, and reinforcement. A great sales coach continually works with their reps’ on selling skills to make lasting changes. The sales process provides the structure for the coaching – prospecting skills, trust building skills, ability to ask good questions, presentation skills, negotiation, handling objections, closing the sale. However, without a well-defined sales process, systems sales skill development is difficult to achieve.

2. They know that every sales rep has potential for growth.

A great sales coach sees their sales reps as untapped potential ready to be unleash… if they hired well. For example, if your rep struggles with prospecting, you must first identify if it is a sales training issue or a personal development issue. They might understand the techniques required for successful prospecting, but lack self-confidence. By developing their confidence through role-playing, cold-calling, evaluation and adjustment, you can help them develop their confidence and take another step towards their potential.

3. They know how to break the habit of losing by setting small, achievable goals for their reps.

A great sales coach knows that small wins can offset defeat. If you have a sales rep who has experienced defeat, don’t allow it to derail their drive. As in the movie Top Gun, after Maverick’s wing-man “Goose” dies, his commanding officer gave the order, “Keep sending him up”. He had to get Maverick back in the cockpit and experience success in simple training maneuvers. From that, he could come back from defeat and was ready for real combat when the opportunity presented itself. Refocus your sales rep on highly targeted opportunities, focus on the fundamentals, and do more ride-alongs to help them regain their footing to get back in the game.

4. They don’t allow their sales reps to play outside the bounds of their roles.

A great sales coach doesn’t allow their reps to sell large deals outside their primary customer profile. Basing the majority of one’s sales quota on a single large deal is dangerous unless they are an enterprise sales rep. In addition, they don’t allow them to sell deals smaller than their target market. Transactions too small means more sales are needed to achieve quota. This breaks the false mantra that smaller deals are easier deals. That’s not always the case. Define your ideal customer profile and keep your sales reps focused on opportunities that fit that profile.

5. They know when to leave a superstar sales rep alone and when to intervene to improve performance.

Many superstar sales reps are motivated not only by money, but also autonomy. I’ve had to tell some sales managers, Give your top performers room to move, and they’ll call you when they need you. They desire freedom and latitude in their job. Give it to them. As long as they’re consistently meeting their sales goals, see them as a partner and not as a rep. Your job as a sales coach is to resource them well and support their efforts. If you see they might be falling behind, then you should step in. Until then, ask them how you can help them make more money. They’ll tell you.

6. They clearly communicate their expectations.

A great sales coach clearly defines and communicates their expectations to every sales rep. This is the standard by which to evaluate their performance and coach them. Ambiguous standards erode your ability to coach since your reps are unclear of specific activities, goals and objectives. For example, if your sales rep must generate leads, then be very clear about your Ideal Customer Profile. They need to know exactly whom they should call on and why. They should avoid low probability buyer outside of your target market. Otherwise, you end up with pipelines full of unqualified buyers and low closing ratios.

7. They are the first to celebrate their sales reps’ wins.

Too often people feel unappreciated. A great sales coach acknowledges wins helping to motivate their sales reps. Most crave recognition for their results. If justified, be sure to acknowledge their success. You can recognize them in a sales meeting, send them a congratulatory email or something much bigger such as a gift. However you choose to celebrate as a sales coach, make it count.