All right, welcome to the SalesGRID podcast. I’ve got Mark Landiak with us here today, and so welcome, Mark.
Hello David, Greetings
Greetings to you and Mark I think it’s true you wrote a book called Beat your Best, a manager’s guide to coaching high performance. The book describes some of the common mistakes that companies and sales managers make when trying to improve sales performance.
It also provides a bit of a process that your company actually guarantees will improve results. So can you tell us what is the theory behind beat your best?
What is the ‘beat your best’ theory?
Yeah, I guess one of the key things is to coach people based on what they’re capable of doing.
And we started this; I guess I’ll tell you a quick story about when I got moved over to the Chicago area to take over a new sales operation. We had a quota that was assigned by the company. And of course, you had people that were underperforming, people that were right at it and people that were over performing quota. So what we found was their performance was kind of static over time. There wasn’t a lot of underperformers who saw that their capabilities weren’t such or the excuse of, oh, my territory is not good enough or product or pricing or whatever it might be.
Whatever excuse there was not to be able to make that quota. That was a barrier, and it was actually a demotivator. We found for the folks that were kind of floating around the quota area. They were in what I call the safe zone. As soon as they got to meet that quota amount they were like, OK, I’m safe. So I can either sandbag for next month, or I can just kind of cruise through the rest of this month. And then there’s the high performer and really quota doesn’t make any difference for them because they’re usually surpassing it. And that’s not the driving motivator for them anyway. It’s either money or recognition or success or stuff that they want in life.
So when I looked at my sales team, when we moved over to this operation, I saw all of those categories. And all of those characteristics happening and one of the problems was that the quota was assigned by the home office. So if you get something that’s assigned by a home office, well it’s not mine. I don’t own it. You know, if you assign me a quota, David, Whose quota is that? Whose goal is that?
Yeah, yeah right
Improving the Average Level of Performance
It’s yours, right? Yeah, so it’s not my goal, so it has less impact if I don’t meet it, right?
And, I think the other thing we looked at was the importance of looking at what a person is capable of doing. We wanted to look at where they were at in each of the key profit driving categories that the company measures.
So where they’re at with regard to their current performance, with regard to their trends, are they trending up or are they trending down? – big problem Or are they just floating? you know, barely just treading water here.
The other thing we wanted to look at, was their average performance. Because one of the real goals of any coach, any manager, is to improve the average level of performance over time in every profit-driving category every month.
Now that’s a really important concept and if you break it down it’s, first looking at the average, right? And so a person, wherever they’re at with regard to quota, Everybody has an average. And if I start there with that average, well, the goal then becomes,
‘I want to improve that average over time.’
Because if I can improve the average level of performance of all the performers on my team, my store or my office or my sales operation, realize an increase in sales. And that’s kind of exciting.
So think about it that way, the first precept is to look at the average level of performance of every individual and then say, all right, we’re going to focus on improving our average level of performance. Because if I’m underperforming before I can get to that quota level, I’ve got to get to that next level, whatever that is, and that’s improving my average level of performance. Another piece of that is we look in every profit-driving category, all of the things that are important to the company and then also offer things that are important to my compensation. If in fact those two are aligned and they certainly should be.
So it’s Beating your Best or Beating the average across the table?
That’s the first goal to show an increase in the average level of performance. Then what happened was, I looked at all the stats for all of my employees and I computed their averages. And then I looked at what their bests were, and I asked my entire sales team if they knew what their bests were in all of those categories over the last year. And it was amazing that over two-thirds of them didn’t know what their best performance was.
So if you don’t know what your best performance is, and by the way, that’s what you’re capable of doing. If you proved it, you can do that in the past. Well then certainly you should be able to do it again, but it takes a little bit of conversation with that individual to say,
‘What did you do in that month to perform at this high level?’
Because if you look at someone’s best, somebody’s best is usually significantly higher than what they’re averaging. And in many cases, it might even be over whatever their quota is, that’s assigned by the company, whether it’s real or imaginary, something that they measure terminations by or whether they just kind of use it as a guideline. However, an important measure is reaching out toward the best because the best people are going to want to perform at a high level. Right?
And then the other thing was when I first got into this operation, It’s kind of a funny story. We kicked off a corporate contest, so they sent the contest, and I’m all excited, you know because it was a trip to the Caribbean. And so, I was kind of one of those managers who went a little on the wild side and I got fifty pounds of sand and I poured it all over the front of the sales area, some palm trees and stuck them in there, and some posters all over the wall had little drinks with umbrellas in them, all of that stuff. And the group came in and everybody was fired up for a few minutes. And then I put up the rules of the contest. And when they saw the rules of the contest, one of the guys yells out. I had one person who was a top performer. And her name was Carrie. And this guy goes,
‘Why don’t you just give it to Carrie? She’s only going to win it anyway.’
And I watched my entire sales team with the exception of one person get totally demotivated, right? Because they saw that this person was having the greatest chance to win. And by the way, she did. So she was one of those folks that had won salesperson of the month 11 out of the last 12 months.
So if you don’t think you can win, how hard do you try? So I watched my folks march out of the room, demotivated and one individual who was probably calling her husband saying,
‘hey, pack your bags we’re going to the Caribbean, three months after this contest is over because I’m definitely going to win it’
Because in her mind, she was one of those people that was wired that way. Her DNA was just, ‘I have to win’
And you want to motivate those people as well. But by showing somebody what their best is, and then helping them reach toward that every month. What you’re going to see is you’re going to see the average level of performance comes up and up and up and up and up. And occasionally when they meet that Best and they set a new personal record, it’s cause for celebration and recognition among the entire team.
So I recreated the contest so that everybody could win and it was based on achieving the best that you’ve done in any one of those categories. We had three key categories. So there was a pretty reasonable chance that everybody was going to be able to achieve their best at least every two to three months.
Yeah right, I think it’s a good, good principle. Thanks Mark. So tell us what is the relationship between coaching and compensation.
What is the relationship between Coaching and Compensation?
I think compensation definitely needs to be aligned with what the corporate objectives are and it usually is. But the coaching piece of that with regard to compensation needs to focus around behaviours. What are the behaviours that are going to drive that particular individual to meet the objectives of the company so that they can meet their individual income objectives?
So it kind of is one of those things where what gets done is what gets rewarded, right? So, we want to align our Comp with corporate, but we also want to align ours with what those individual objectives are. Now, just about every group wants to increase their income, right? So let’s go back to the ‘beat your best’ concept and say, what did you make when you had that outstanding month with your top performance? And then what are you making in an average month? And so if they say you know, I made eight thousand dollars in the month where I beat my best so well, that’s a great comp between your salary and your commissions and bonuses and those type of things. What are you averaging right now? I’m averaging thirty-five hundred. All right, well, take a look at that Delta, you know, that’s, That’s a forty-five hundred dollar Delta. What would you do if you had that extra income and how willing are you to work really hard to get there?
Because as your coach, if we want to keep working toward that as a standard or as a reach out objective, my job is to help you get there. But you’ve got to want to go with me. And so, you kind of use that as a coaching tool to be able to show that individual, hey, you know what, you’re capable of doing eight thousand dollars a month. You showed that you were doing in the past, but you’re floating around this thirty-five hundred a month. So as a coach, my job is to help you get there. If that’s where you want to go. Does that make sense?
Yes. yes, it does, so when you talk about coaching and you see it as very much as a line to not just coaching performance, but coaching towards getting a reward for that performance. And just, you were talking before about ‘beating your best’ and the monthly contest and If you’re coaching, someone who’s working on very long sales cycles. And maybe they’ve got to bring in three, four or five deals in the year to hit quota or exceed. They might logically go without a sale for a month, right. So how do you, sort of workaround that in your coaching?
How this principle works with longer sales cycles
Yeah so it’s a different type of coaching approach, right? You know, for somebody that’s working on larger sales that have a much longer selling cycle. But I’ll still kind of go back to all right. Well, let’s take a look back at last year. Let’s look at what we did, what we accomplished and how we accomplished it. And that’s kind of our standard, that’s our current position, in all of the things that we’re driving, whether it’s you know, product revenue, service, revenue, consultative, revenue, whatever those things are that we did last year. And so what should the standard be?
We have a point A, that’s our current position. This is where you were at last year and where you’re at right now. And then we have a point B. And that point B needs to be the desired state for that individual. So of course that desired state needs to be above whatever their quota is. But the problem with quota is it kind of becomes this shot for a number rather than a minimum acceptable level of performance. Which when you think about quota is in most cases, if you’re not meeting quota, you’re in the doghouse, right?
So there’s got to be a, maybe a new vernacular for it of hey, you know, this is the minimum acceptable level of performance. But for the folks that are already beyond that, Well, we need to kind of look at what they’re capable of doing. So we talk to them a lot about
‘What’s your desired state?’
‘What do you really want to accomplish this year?’
‘So you had landed this big account last year from an account retention standpoint, What do you think you’re capable of doing with that account this year?’
And if there’s a shortfall in revenue, where are we going to find the replacement revenue for that?
Who are the accounts that you really need to go for?
So let’s kind of go back into that planning step. Because, the line between point A, the current position and point B, the desired state. That line, if you kind of look at it as an arrow going upward, is those are the specific activities necessary to get that individual to that point B. And my job as a coach is to make sure that the person is proficient in each one of those activities so they can improve their performance every single year. And the definition of proficiency is to do a job with excellence.
So as a coach, my job is to help each one of the individuals on my team to improve their proficiency so they can in fact do their job with excellence. And when I look at all these little activities, I’ll be able to see what are their strong points, what are the areas where they might need help? And even the best person possible, the top producer on your team can benefit from this type, of coaching because it’s very collaborative. I mean, you’re talking with the individual, they’re actually doing most of the talking. Once you show them that, point A, hey, these are the facts, right? You can’t run from the facts, it is what it is. This is your performance. But where do you want it to be?
And that’s where you know, we can, we can bring in that compensation conversation. And then what’s the level of performance that is associated with that Comp. And then what are the specific activities that are going to get us there? And then It’s about defining the coaching process. And that’s where a lot of managers fall short. They don’t define what the coaching process is. When I’m training a group of managers, I said one of the best things that you can say to somebody is,
‘What you can expect from me today is…’
‘Or what you can expect from me this month is…’
And that way that individual knows that you as a manager are tying your coaching activities into their sales activities to help them be more successful to help them be more proficient and help them make more money or achieve whatever that other goal is that they want
I haven’t thought of it this way before, but there are some different dimensions here to coaching, that one dimension is helping their mindset around where they’re aiming for. Another one is okay, what are the activities you’ve got to do to achieve that goal. And there may be another dimension, like your saying, helping them become excellent at those activities. Is that a fair way of looking at it? You’ve got these three different themes. And then you’re encouraging sales managers to think about things like,
‘What am I going to do with this particular rep,’
‘What focus do they need’?
Is it one of those three things? All three?
The Different Dimensions of coaching
Yeah, I think you’re definitely tracking in the right direction there. And, you know, because you, as a coach, have to have all three of those pieces. If you’re operating in a vacuum where you don’t know what the statistics are, or the trajectory of that person’s trend lines are, then you’re immediately at a disadvantage. And I find that a lot of the managers, groups that we talk to, don’t do trends. They don’t look at the trends over time for this particular individual, whether it be monthly or annually or whatever it might be, they missed that piece.
So that fact-finding element, it’s just kind of like when, I said all right, I showed my sales team what their best were and they were like, oh my gosh, it was like, oh, what a revelation. I never knew that I was that good. So all of a sudden, you’re, building that person up. That’s another important thing about coaching. I got to tell you, I hate managing people. I hate it. I don’t want to be a manager. I don’t want to manage somebody. I want them to manage themselves and what this process does that we kind of take companies through, is we want to help their front line managers to become coaches. So that they can help their people manage themselves by giving them the information necessary and also the skills and expertise necessary to make it happen. And that’s where I come in as a coach, right? If my title is manager, I’d love to change it to Coach because my job is to Coach that person to improve their proficiency. And if I do that, sales go up, profits go up. That person’s income goes up, they’re happier, they stay longer.
And in this day and age my God, retention is such an important thing. You know, we’ve got a whole generation that jumps jobs like crazy. So it’s creating an environment where people can be successful and have fun being successful, which is a huge plus for our millennials out there. And as a manager that’s my job. As a coach, my job is to create that environment for people to be successful. Feel like they’re being successful, be rewarded, be recognized because it’s not all about the money, right? It’s sometimes those esoteric things that are off to the side that are really important to that individual. So I had one employee that came to me one time and they said, you know, I’ve never received a Thank you note for doing a great job before it’s just such a simple thing. Right. The person had a great month and I thanked him for putting in the effort for having a great month. And this person was so pleased with that, they let me know. And I walked back to their cubicle one day and that Thank you note was posted up in their cubicle. So those little things that coaches do can be enormously important and impactful on the performance of our salespeople. And it makes it fun, makes it a whole lot more fun as a coach.
Yeah, I think that people prefer to be coached than managed, but do you have any advice or some examples on what is the difference between managing and coaching. I guess both as a sales manager just managing is like just asking people about their numbers. Is that what you mean, or would that be the difference?
The Difference between Managing and Coaching
You know, well, you look at what the average manager does, right? And, sometimes they manage with negatives, something a manager will say,
‘I need you to be here.’
‘We need you to do this level of performance.’
Well, again, that’s not the individual’s objectives, right? You know, That’s the manager’s objectives. So that conversation in and of itself is negative and adversarial. And that’s the opposite of what we want to do as a coach, right? So as a manager, I’m concerned with numbers. But As a coach, I’m concerned with the performance of that individual’s success. Now that’s not to say that managers aren’t concerned with that too. Many of them are, but the difference, the nuance between being a manager in the traditional sense of what a manager means and being a coach is that a coach is much more human about the way they work with an individual to help them achieve their objectives.
Whereas I think managers oftentimes just focus on the store objective, the office objective, the corporate objective, and they use that to manage the individual rather than the coach who uses the individual’s objective, to coach them to a higher level of performance, To that point B that desired state. Does that make sense?
So I guess you’re advocating that sales managers need to be coaches instead of micromanagers. Have you ever seen in any sales organizations where they literally have, maybe someone who is the manager, they have a coach to the side that goes around working with people? I mean, just throwing that out there.
You know perhaps a trainer there, but you know, oftentimes – I might get myself into trouble here – Many times the trainer knows what the trainer knows, but they’re not in the job every day. So they don’t know the nuances of the job. As a coach, I’m not going to be sitting in my office and working on numbers or doing whatever I’m doing out there. I’m going to be there with the individual. If it’s, if it’s over the phone, I’m going to be listening to their conversations so they can be more proficient with their conversations. That’s pretty important, right. I’m in on those phone conversations. If they’re doing a zoom meeting, I want to be in on that zoom meeting so I can see how they handle it. And what are the things that they do?
I did one recently with a manager, a guy up in Hartford. Wonderful guy. Fantastic. But the background on the Zoom meeting was horrific. It looked like a garbage heap in the back of his head. And you’re kind of going, wait a second
‘If you call a customer and you’ve got that in the background, what’s the image that you’re projecting to that customer?’
And now just by asking that question in the way that, rather than saying it as a manager would,
‘Hey, you need to change your background because it’s really sloppy. It looks horrible.’
And so getting that rep involved in a sort of self-evaluation self-assessment is very important and that’s what good coaches do.
And that’s a good example, isn’t that the manager in me is going,
‘Oh my God, changing your background.’
You’re saying you should actually from a coaching point of view is, can we actually talk through how that’s going to help you achieve your best performance?
I’ve got another question for you. This is something that’s close to my heart, having been a sales manager and being frustrated with sales meetings, where you’ve got everyone in the room. It’s the weekly sales meeting. It’s all about the numbers. It’s all about the pipeline, and that to me, feels very much like a sales management-led discussion, right. To what extent do you think you can weave coaching more into the weekly sales meeting or what you’ve got in that team environment? Do you have any thoughts on that?
How to put coaching into the weekly sales meeting
Absolutely. Yeah. Part of the BYB process is, let’s just kind of rewind it and talk about what we’re looking at right now. So at that point A, their average level of performance and also their best performance. Now, changing the dynamics of the sales meeting. I can do that very simply by asking every one of my sales reps to have another column if you will. This is what I’m averaging. This is what my best is and then the next column is what do I forecast for the coming month, quarter semiannual period, whatever it is, based on that particular job. But I’m getting that individual to forecast now instead of using quota as the base. I am using their average, which in many cases is above or slightly above or a lot above what that quota is. Because if I ask a person to forecast based on quota, they’re going to generally give me quota. You know?
But if I say, hey, look, this is what your average quotas are down here. This is what you’re averaging, this is what you’re capable of doing. And by the way, if you exceed this best, we have some kind of reward recognition, cash, TVs, whatever it is that you’re going to give for that reward of somebody achieving that best. Whatever that is is, What’s your forecast for the coming month? And those forecasts are always going to be above the average. And sometimes if they feel like they’re going to be able to accomplish at or above what that best is.
And that Delta between best and average again is huge for the company. So every time I have a sales rep reach a new personal best. If you compare that to what their average was, you’ve got a lot of discretionary cash up, your profit, gross profit in that sale, to in most cases, unless I’m getting the discount, the profit out of a deal, which I do as a coach. So you’ve got something there extra to reward that individual. And then the sales meeting takes on a new dynamic because I can then say,
‘Hey David, what was your forecast for September?’
And you could say,
‘Well, I forecasted this in the activation category’
and say OK, well,
‘What are your results?’
And you can say, well, you know, “I met my forecast, which is four above what I had been averaging. And I was six short of my personal best, but I think for next month I think it’s realistic that I could attack that Best number. So my new forecast for October is going to be whatever that number is,’
What is right at their best or one better than their best. So it takes on a new dynamic plus when that individual says, yeah, I met my forecast or I beat a personal best. What do all my teammates do? Good job. They should be cheering me on. Snd, and as a coach, my job is to be head cheerleader. You know, it’s like, all right, well let’s hear it for David. He met his forecast, almost hit his best last month. Let’s give him a hand. So your teammates get to cheer for you. And the other thing now too is let’s go back to Carrie because now with this forecasting and besting in averaging category, I’m not competing with Carrie, right. Who am I competing with David?
That’s right. I’m competing with myself, so I don’t have to worry, but I can be happy for Carrie that she’s doing really well. And Carrie can be happy for me that I’m doing well right now. And so there’s an element of my son calls teamship, which you know is a bit of teamwork and sportsmanship at the same time. But that bit of teamship, if you will, really helps to build a connected sales team. And I’m a highly motivated sales team, and as people are all progressing, they’re going to be less likely to leave. Because as an individual, I want to see a progression. I want to feel like I’m growing in my position. I want to feel like I’m growing in my career. I want to feel like I’m learning things. And if I am, I’m less likely to leave. And I want to feel like I’m a valued part of the organization. So getting recognized on a monthly or quarterly or semi-annual basis, whatever is a very big positive.
Now for those longer sales cycles that you mentioned, those are good too because I can bring them in and I can say,
‘OK guys, let’s talk about how we became more proficient in the last month.’
Because I’m not worried about metrics in a monthly period. But I am worried about improving performance and having my people become more proficient. So to do that, my sales meeting can take on another new dynamic. It’s not me talking about the numbers and we’re behind on this. It’s talking about the proficiencies and the activities and the funnels and these types of things that are going to get us to our point B as a team and individually. So sales meetings can take on a whole lot more fun. I always tried to have a lot of fun with my sales. I didn’t bring in 50 pounds of sand every week though I will say.
Unfortunately, there are 15 in a year and most of them are fairly drab, but that’s really interesting. I guess. Yeah, you’re really taking a bottom-up approach of adding power to force people to shoot for their best. And I mean having that conversation continually, how does it compare to your average? Whereas I guess I’m guilty of this around as a sales manager, and as a business owner trying to hit numbers, it’s very much top-down. It’s all about my job. We’re going to hit the number who’s not hitting the numbers always. So it’s, yeah, it’s very much a mindset thing, isn’t it?
I’ve got another question for you. You talk a lot, what’s the average in there? And let’s ask them what the best should be. What do you do if I guess you have a new sales team and obviously got a lot of new sales rookies on the team. How do you start when you’ve only got a short amount of history you have to deal with?
The beat you best approach with new sales rookies
Yeah, well, again, you’re going to talk to those brand new people about this is the average level of performance of everyone on our team. The minimum acceptable level of performance Is this. And, you know,
‘David, you’re a talented guy. We hired you because we think you’ve got the ability to be one of our top performers. Yeah. And so what do you think you can accomplish in the next 30 to 60 days?’
And I get you to kind of come up with a forecast and new people are really excited, right? When somebody first comes into a position. If the company and the manager doesn’t do anything to step on them and demotivate them. They bring that enthusiasm into their job and my job as a coach is to harness that enthusiasm and whatever they tell me as a forecast, you know, some of them are going to give me a high forecast and some of them are going to kind of give me just above what the averages are or right at the average.
And you know what? That’s great. Because if I can get a brand new performer to be shooting for what the average on my sales team is doing, remembering it’s mostly the new performers that are dragging my average down. So then, once you tell me what your forecast is, as your coach, you’ve just given me permission to then ask you
‘OK, I tell you what, David, it’s not going to be easy to do that in your first 30 days, but it’s certainly possible and people have done it before. Now you’re going to tell me that you were willing to put in the work. And then if you are, we’ll develop a plan together to make that happen. Does that sound fair?’
And you say?
‘That sounds incredibly fair and empowering and unusual. So I thank you.’
And it’s different, from the job they just came from right there where you know,
‘Oh you didn’t, you didn’t fill the grease in the fry machine again?’
Or whatever the negative is there, or,
‘Oh, you didn’t make enough calls today’
You know, it’s not about that it’s not negative. it’s all, it’s all focused on the positive.
Now that’s not to say, because the other half of your question is, what if we have somebody that’s, that’s not performing, that continues not to perform right?
Well, you know, certainly that becomes a coaching session that has counselling aside as part of it just saying,
‘Hey, listen, you know, we’re not meeting our minimum standards. What do you think you could do in the next 30 days to meet those standards? And then if we don’t meet them, what do you think should be the next course of action?’
So there it’s not, it’s not me saying to you,
‘Hey David, you know you need to be at one hundred thousand dollars and if you’re not at one hundred thousand dollars, well, you know, we’ve already got you on a probationary plan. And if you don’t meet that next month, you’re going to have to let you go.’
Well, how motivated is that person at the beginning of the month? If that were you start, what would you think are you going to be fired in 30 days? That’s what you’re thinking, right? So what do you do? You go out and you find another job and you leave the company. But if you do it using that first kind of technique where you’re talking to them and you’re asking them what they think they need to do to stay on board with the company. Then I think, you know, you’ve got a plan in place that’s their plan. It’s their objective. And you know, that’s a fairer question to ask people who are consistently underperforming.
‘Is so David, if you’re consistently underperforming, here’s another great coaching piece.’
Instead of saying,
‘Hey David, you’re consistently underperforming.’
Because you already know that right? You already know that. So I don’t need to bring you in and beat you up more about that because you already know it. So when you come in, I might say something a little bit different from that. So if you’re underperforming, I might say,
‘David, looking at your performance over the last two months, And it’s not like you know, I looked at your trend lines and your trend lines from January through August were really good. And for some reason, September and October took a huge dip. And before that becomes a real problem, you know, I’d like to say, let’s get you back on track because you’re definitely capable of doing a higher level of performance. Don’t you think so, David?’
Yes, definitely, of course,
‘Of course you are. Well, and here’s the proof in the pudding.’
So I actually show you the evidence right now, and I say,
‘All right, so I’ll tell you what, let’s really focus on getting back on track in the next 30 days. I’ll help you in every way I possibly can. But let’s take some time now and really build a plan to get you back on track and help you make some kind of money that you were making back in March and April and May when you were really killing it. Because you were having a lot of fun back then weren’t you David?’
And I remember those days so, that’s what I’m doing. I’m bringing this person back to a place where they can be excited about the job again. Because right now when you come into my office and you’ve been underperforming for two months, you think you’re going to get beat up. But instead, I say you know,
‘Looking at your performance and it’s not like you, because you’re capable of doing so much more.’
Those semantics are really important and what the beat your best process does is it gives coaches those coaching conversations – I call them – to have with their people that are different than what a manager would have. Somebody who’s punitive instead of positive and, it makes such a difference and in that person, I may salvage them and I may not salvage them. And if I don’t, well, so be it. At least they’ve given their best over that next period of time.
Because we’re going to create a plan that’s pretty staunch, you know, we’re going to have daily conversations at the end of each day. And I’m hoping that positive things are going to happen. I’m seeing that increase in proficiency so that I can reward them and Hi5 them and tell them, you know, great job. You’re getting yourself back on track, pump this guy up, get him excited. Because as a coach, that’s my job. Keep my players fired up and improving.
I really like this idea of a punitive versus positive coaching mindset. I think it’s always like if you’ve got to end up with someone consistent and performing but they’re not getting up to speed fast enough. It’s just tempting to go into punitive mode and go, you’re not making it, you’re on probation. As opposed to, a positive conversation. They know they’re in a bit of strife, right? But what can they do? All right, let’s work together and agree on a plan or you tell me what your plan is to actually get to that level. That is a positive conversation, but it’s still transparent. It’s not being like a Pollyanna sign. Saying everything’s going to be great.
Yeah, I’m going to tell them they’re going to have to work really hard to make it happen. They’re capable of doing it. We’re going to have to work hard and we’re going to build a really strong plan to get back on track. But you’ve got to tell me, are you willing to go there?
And I’ve got one more question for you Mark. This has been great, a real eye-opener just thinking about the distinction between punitive versus positive versus managing versus coaching.
But just to finish off with covid, What impact do you think of it in all of this Zoom and everything. What impact has that had on coaching, I guess for sales coaches.
How has Covid-19 impacted Sales Coaches?
Yeah, I’ll tell you, we used to do a tremendous amount of our consulting face to face. And now we’re doing it via zoom, right. So it’s a, it’s a new skill that people need to develop. And also it means the presentations need to be a little bit different, right? They need to be faster, they need to be more researched going in. So they really have to have their ducks in a row, be prepared when they’re talking to a potential customer or an existing client with the information that that client is going to find valuable enough to want to either do business with them or continue doing business with them.
So I think there’s a new level of consultative, sales skills that are remote consultative, selling skills that We’ve been doing a lot of work on our end at our company. Because we’ve been having to train salespeople remotely. So we get them on the line and there are some tricks of the trade that we’ve learned by doing this that have been very effective for us. Taking some of the concepts that I’ve been talking to you about the coaching concepts and building those into what we’re doing in our sales team that becomes one.
But also I think with covid too, as things are opening up a little bit more and companies are having representatives back into the company or as retail stores are starting to see a little bit more traffic and they’re opening up as well. There’s got to be a continuing concern for safety. So that has to be blatantly obvious to the customer that I as your salesperson, and my company is doing everything that we can to keep you safe. And whether that’s letting them know what precautions you’ve taken and whether you’re vaccinated or not, you know, that’s an individual decision, right? But whether you’re safe or not, That’s an important thing to let your customer know.
‘Hey, I’ve been tested, I’m taking every precaution, I can, I’m wearing my mask here today if you want me to take it off, I’m happy to take it off, but I’m wearing it out of courtesy to you as, as my customer, so that you know, we’re doing everything we can to keep our clients safe.’
So those types of things have sort of changed the game for us as well. Because safety is now part of the sales process like it or not. And if you walk into a client’s and you have no mask and you’re not social distancing, and you’re shaking their hand, and that’s not what they want, then you’ve already started on the negative. So you’ve got to recover from that. It’s important to establish the ground rules and say,
‘Hey, our company has certain protocols, I’m sure your company does as well. When I come in to see you, what are the protocols that you would like me to follow? Because certainly I want to adhere to whatever you guys have determined is the right safety procedure when we’re conducting business together.’
It’s important, again, it’s an important coaching conversation to have with every one of your salespeople. Because salespeople will go in and, you know, if you’re acting like everything’s normal and the client doesn’t think it is, or they’re worried. You know, if it’s, it’s just different than the other thing too you know, that some salespeople are actually meeting at houses. So you know, that’s, that’s a whole other ball of wax, right.
Those would be a couple of things that I think are really important. And then of course the basics are always important, making sure people are just really competent and really proficient at what they’re doing.
Well, Thanks Mark. It’s been really interesting, I think, there’s this whole mindset of coaching versus managing. And you’ve given us some really good pointers today on how to think through the coaching situation, with the team and really building people up and helping them, I guess build themselves up to be the best as opposed to beating them down with a quota stick, I didn’t know that was really good. Thanks, Mark, appreciate you joining our SalesGRID podcast today. Thank you.
And I appreciate you having me, David, and I’ll throw one more thing onto the end of that too. With the covid piece, educating your customer, it has become really, really important as well. So sending them links about your company, about your product, about your services, those types of things about the way that you do business, even your safety procedures.
Another technique that’s really good, for coaches to get their sales teams to do and for anyone that’s interested in the ‘beat your best process.’ We’ve got that all on video now. And instead of doing face to face deliveries on it, and follow that up with, zoom coaching as well. So if anyone’s interested in that, certainly head over to our website. We’re happy to get that over to them.
Yeah, that sounds great. Thanks Mark.
You’re very welcome. Thank you. Cheers.