When you take on the services of a sales coach for the first time, you need to seek out a certain set of traits in order to know your coaching will be successful. Obviously, your coach needs to be technically competent or you will be losing out on the primary purpose. However, you also need to find a sales coach with the right mindset and adaptability so that your team will succeed beyond the technical aspects of sales training.
Proven Track Record
The first step you need to take when you are looking for a sales coach is that this person needs to have a track record of success. If they do not, you should not attempt to engage their services. While anyone can claim to be an experienced and successful sales professional, actually proving this is an entirely different matter. When they can demonstrate via their client list and a group of enthusiastic references that they are great at sales, this is the kind of evidence you need to make an informed decision.
The ability to adapt comes in a lot of forms. Part of it goes back to having a proven track record of success. What may have worked going door to door in the 50s may have been less successful in the telephone-centric 70s, and perhaps less so in the early days of the Internet. These strategies would likely be even less viable today. If your sales coach is not an adaptable person who has experience across a range of different times or geographic regions, it can be difficult to believe that this person would be able to succeed in your area. If they cannot, you would be advised to give the person a pass. What works in one place and time may not work in others, and you know your sales team is not a unified one trick pony. They each have their own skills, strengths and weaknesses, and this means working with someone who can adapt can also adapt their strategy to the group as a whole.
Contrary to popular belief, sales is primarily about listening to the other person and understanding their needs. The sales coach who does not listen is going to try and steamroll your needs into whatever “product” they are selling, and this will cheapen the training considerably. When you get professional sales coaching, you should know that the individual has listened to you and cares about helping your team be as successful as it can be. If the person will not listen to you, it is obvious that they will not help your team develop the necessary listening skills to begin understanding what your customers want and need.
Persistence comes in two flavors — the kind that happens “in the moment” and the kind that lasts a very long time. Firstly, your sales coach needs to be a persistent kind of person in individual negotiations, as this is part of what drives success in any selling situation. Listening to no answers is just a part of the process that everyone needs to go through. However, this is not the only sort of persistence your sales coach needs to embody.
Persistence also comes down to being a part of your extended team long after the initial training is finished. While most anyone can come in, give a speech and hold a work shop to get everyone pumped up for success, a real coach follows up later on to keep the effort moving forward. When you meet a coach like this, you can tell the person really cares.