One of the most fundamental things we see in our business is something that I've coined assumptive management. Let me give you one of my most infamous examples. I will ask a salesperson what are they specifically going to say in the event of a price objection. Typically, what I get is a response such as:" what I try to do is leverage the relationship…" Here's the problem with that response it simply does not answer the question. You are not going to look at a customer when they give you a price objection and say "Bob, can we stop and back up and talk about us"? Hope you are laughing?
I hope that made you laugh but think about it in that moment do salespeople know specifically what to say? Are they following a specific process or set of statements that are assumed and/or assumed to be known? Have they practiced them? Are they confident in addressing such an objection?
Another example I love to share with you is when I was is in front of a sales team and their manager. The manager must have said 4 to 5 times the following: "we have to show customers a sense of urgency". I stopped the meeting and had everybody on the team write down their definition of what a sense of urgency meant. We literally received 15 vastly different interpretations and definitions. The result? You cannot coach what you cannot define and mutually understand.
One of the best things a manager can do is map their sales process or approach to a coaching strategy. How does a manager do this? First they must have a well defined approach or process written out. Second they must define the performance requirements specific to each attribute within each stage. Third, you must measure people's levels of knowledge, skill, and behavioral attributes specific to each performance requirement in each stage within the sales process or approach. Last, the measured results provide a path and an avenue to a manager to specifically coach not only to the process or approach but to the levels of competency within that approach per each employee.
We spend so much money on tools that allow us to properly hire salespeople. These tools are valuable but don't serve a long-term purpose when training, coaching, and developing salespeople for long-term talent development. It has been stated over and over again the key relationship is with the sales leader. The challenge this presents is often sales leaders will assume what people can do based on how people were hired; therefore, assumptive management comes into play. If we map our sales process to performance requirements and measure each employees level of knowledge, skill, and confidence associated with each requirement and then ultimately coach to it you will be ahead of the competition!
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