Why waste time and resources hiring sales people who can’t or won’t grow on the job and end up taking up valuable space on your sales team?
Unfortunately, that happens far too often. It’s true that some reps are naturals and likely will succeed in almost all situations, but those self-driven top performers are more the exception than the rule. Most reps require sales coaching to attain top skills and performance — to thrive in your sales culture — and the time to determine a rep’s coachability is in the interview with the candidate, not way down the road.
The interview is the opportunity to uncover personality traits and other attributes that will identify candidates who possess the right willingness to learn and the commitment to make time to improve their skills. A pleasing personality and appearance of being a good listener doesn’t ensure a rep is receptive to coaching or capable of recognizing when to turn to a sales manager for guidance. The only true measure of coachability in a sales rep is this: 30-60 days after the coaching, have the changes been made and sustained?
So how do you assess coachability during the interview process? Start by asking job candidates:
To talk about a recent example of feedback they received and what they did with that advice.
To share their personal goals and see if “continued improvement” is part of the mix.
To describe a challenge they undertook in their current or former job and what they learned from it.
Their responses will help you determine if they likely will apply the feedback they receive from coaching and whether they are open to new ways of doing things. You will learn whether they are willing to try something they currently aren’t doing but that works for others.
“Coachable” reps show an openness to feedback and ideas from others for continued improvement, and the motivation to make the necessary changes to actually apply the coaching. If the interview leaves you lacking confidence in a candidate’s desire or capability to meet these criteria, it’s unlikely your coaching efforts will produce the desired results.
Once you believe you have the right “coachable” candidates, it’s up to you to communicate your company’s expectations that their willingness to be coached is just as critical for long-term success in your company as their sales skills. The will to improve skill – that’s what you want in your next new-hire!
Perhaps no decision is more important for a sales manager to “get right” then the decision to hire a salesperson. Mistakes are very costly. Here are some suggestions for making your next new-hiring decision one that you will one day congratulate yourself for.
Can you see this candidate, after training and effective coaching, ranking in the top half of your sales team? If not, don’t hire the person.
Each hiring decision you make will have an impact on your team’s culture – and you need the impact to be extremely positive not negative. Read more →
We’re near the end of 2014, which makes it a great time for self-reflection. What can you learn about how you managed yourself and your time this past year that could help you better manage your time and your team next year? To get started, think back over the past year and rate yourself on a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (great) on the following three statements: Read more →
The Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States was passed into law by President Lincoln in 1863 so now is as good a time as any to reflect on our 16th president. I recently read a couple of books on Abraham Lincoln—Founder’s Son by Richard Brookhiser and A. Lincoln by Ronald White.
Lincoln was one of the most unlikely people ever to become president. He had no management experience, attended no more than one year of schooling, and managed his paperwork by stuffing important papers in his tall hat.
It occurred to me, however, that Lincoln possessed an overabundance of qualities that all great salespeople have: ambition, empathy and people skills. No doubt, he would have been an excellent candidate today for an entry-level sales position! And certainly, because of his leadership skills, he would have moved up into sales management.
So that begs the question: what kind of sales manager would Abe Lincoln be? You be the judge… Read more →
There is nothing more frustrating for a sales manager than to have a senior-tenured sales rep resign.
Many companies are coming to realize that the #1 reason why productive salespeople leave is because of their relationship with their sales manager. The decision a sales rep makes to quit your company doesn’t occur in an instant. When there is too little coaching from the sales manager and very little feedback (other than negative), a salesperson becomes gradually disengaged with what is going on. He or she perceives they are not growing and they begin to wonder if the grass may be greener somewhere else.
Here are five things sales managers can do to prevent sales rep attrition: Read more →
Nobody, no matter how good they are at selling, has a 100% win rate. That means all of us have to learn how to deal with losses. As a sales manager, your job is to help your team learn from these losses. A lost sale is a failure only when we, individually and as a team, don’t learn from it.
Having a positive attitude is especially important in the sales profession. And when a salesperson loses a big deal, it is easy for them to get down. That’s a normal human reaction. But if your salesperson stays down, that’s not good. And one way to help salespeople process their lost sales quicker is to teach them how to “look for the lesson” in every lost sale. Read more →
Your transition from salesperson to sales manager is one of the biggest challenges in the sales profession. It requires a complete change in thinking. Overnight, you go from being in control of your own destiny to having your performance ratings determined by the results other people produce.
In fact, the more successful you were as a salesperson, the more difficulty you will have in the transition. Successful sales reps-turned-managers have a very hard time giving up the things that made them successful in their original sales job.
Many new sales managers understand they’re facing a big change. What they lack is a clear understanding of “OK, now what do I do?” Without guidance, they’re prone to making five big mistakes. Here’s an overview of those mistakes and what you can do to avoid them. Read more →
Recently I conducted a webinar for a large company whose sales managers had completed our Sales Coaching & Leadership Workshop a few months earlier. I started by asking them, “What is the most significant change you’ve made in your sales management style in the last 60 days?” There were two themes I heard about most.
The first was, “I start and end every day with coaching. Big change!”
Though coaching is something that sales managers tell me they want to do more often, they all seem to struggle with truly making it their #1 priority every day. Why? Because they’re too busy responding to emails, dealing with unexpected problems, answering calls and texts, finishing work from the day before, etc. Read more →
What is coachability? When I ask sales managers in my sales management workshop this question most of the time there is confusion as to the correct definition of coachability. Just because a salesperson seems to have an agreeable and receptive nature doesn’t mean they are coachable.
At one level, determining coachability is simple: if a sales rep changes what they are doing based on feedback and your constructive suggestions, then they are coachable. If they smile and nod and thank you for the great advice but don’t subsequently make any changes, they aren’t coachable. Read more →