Good, effective tele-sales coaching is a process which means it’s a repeatable event that you can learn and master.
Here are the 4 steps to developing a meaningful coaching program that will get reps to modify their behavior, apply the feedback, and become better at selling.
Coaching consists of four components referred to as SMAF: standards, monitoring, analyzing, and feedback
Perhaps the most important component of a good coaching program is setting the “standard.” The standard defines precisely what you expect from the tele-sales rep relative to the selling skills involved for the majority of the calls that are made.
For example, when your reps know what the ‘standard operating procedure’ for opening a prospecting call or handling knee jerk objections or qualifying a lead or presenting a solution or closing the sale etc., then there is no confusion. When you supply feedback relative to those standards, it’s not only objective it is anchored to a system or process. This fosters clarity and understanding. It makes compliance easier and more logical.
Sadly, most managers and companies haven’t identified their call standards. They let their reps wing it. And it explains why your feedback is lame and ineffective.
Do you have specified standards? Do your reps know what’s expected of them from a skills perspective?.
II. Monitor the Call
Monitoring the call means listening. Wander around and listen to what you hear on the floor. Or sit beside your rep and y-jack so you can hear both sides of the call. Or, if you can, record calls and listen closely. Better yet, do all three.
Monitor the call relative to the standard, not to what YOU think they should be saying. Monitor it to what they have been taught.
III. Analyze What You have Heard
After you have heard the call, stop and think before you provide feedback. Analyze what you have heard. Did the rep perform call to standard or not? So, for example, if you have defined 5 elements to an opening statement (e.g., full name, company name, reason for call, clearly defined benefit to the client, and a bridge to a question) ask yourself: did the rep implement the standard? If not, you have objective grounds for feedback.
If you have taught your rep that handling an objection requires four steps (Empathize, Clarify, Respond, Verify), you listen for those steps. If they are there, the process is ‘to standard’ and your feedback is not necessary (other than a pat on the back).
Take this time to craft how you want to present your feedback with each individual rep. Each of your reps has their own way of learning. Respect it and tailor your approach accordingly.
IV Provide the feedback
There are five steps to constructive feedback. First, ask your rep to provide feedback on how he/she though she did. Let he do the analysis first. Often the rep will know precisely what needs ‘fixing’ in which case, she becomes her own coach.
Second, concur with the rep or describe the behavior you observed. So if the rep is not aware of the non-standard performance, use questions to get them to focus e.g., “Janice, what were the 3-Steps we learned about handling knee jerk objections? And did you use the second step?”
Third, discuss ways to enhance, change or modify the behavior in question. “So Mark, what are some things you can do to remind yourself to add a benefit statement?”
Fourth, agree upon the action plan or task or idea to be implemented. So, if Mark though he should make a job aid to hang from his wall to remind him of a process, agree to it.
Fifth, and maybe most important, acknowledge the improvement. At some point during the day, monitor a few calls and see if the changes are being made by your rep. Drift by the cubicle to see if the job aid has been hung from the wall. If improvements have been made, provide praise. If not, provide a reminder. Either way, the rep will begin to understand that you are serious about the feedback and they will begin the process of change.
Your role is to help your reps modify their behavior and make changes that will improve their skill sets. In turn, this leads to more revenues.
The best feedback is objective based (hence, the standard) and interactive (hence, questions based). Start your coaching program today and watch what happens to your sales results. You’ll be pleased and so will your reps!