Your Sales Coaching Leaves Something to be Desired

Your Sales Coaching Leaves Something to be Desired

Top Reasons your Sales Coaching leaves something to be desired:

The Jedi Master Yoda, is a classic mentor/coaching figure in the Star Wars Universe and he is likely most renowned for training Luke Skywalker to eventually (SPOILER ALERT – do we really have to do “Spoiler Alerts” for Star Wars?  I mean, if you don’t know how it ends, then you probably should be catching up on your Star Wars Movies rather than reading a sales blog… but I digress) defeat Darth Vader.  There is a point in the movie where Luke feels very trained and ready to conquer anything.  There is a pattern there, too.  Yoda was trained by N’Kata Del Gormo, Anikan Skywalker was trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Obi-Wan was trained by Master Qui-Gon Jinn, etc.  The point is that behind every great Jedi, there was a great trainer who eventually got their trainee to the point that they could fight on their own.  However, part of the problem was that they were quite rushed for time when training and they did not continue to train and fight with their apprentices as time went on.  The end results in almost all cases (SPOILER ALERT…Again…) was that either severe injury (like being burnt to a crisp or losing an arm or even joining the dark side) or death almost always occurs at some point.  

Fortunately, the battles we face in sales coaching are not likely to have universe-wide good vs evil ramifications or severe injury, or death. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from the mistakes made in the Star Wars Universe by Jedi Masters.  (if this is too geeky, you can stop reading…).  Below are the top 3 reasons that something to be desired, your sales coaching leaves. 

Reason 1 – You are a human, bound by time

Time, that one thing none of us have more of.  If you have 8, 10, or even 14 hours in your day available, it’s still impossible to run a sales team by coaching everyone all of the time.  As a side note, if you work this many hours you probably aren’t being as productive in the hours that you work (at least according to this Stanford Study).  Why wouldn’t you trust your sales team’s intuition? That is why you hired them in the first place, right?  In many ways, conversational intelligence helps sales managers duplicate themselves in a way that still leaves your sales team’s natural intuition intact.  Fortunately, you can use sales coaching software to help multiply your force and help harvest your newest top sales performers!!

Reason 2 – You are not God’s gift to sales coaching

Don’t get me wrong, you probably have a lot of talent, but eating a slice of humble pie might make you consider that you don’t always get it right. Just because a mechanism worked for you doesn’t mean that it’s going to work for your reps, and maybe not even your customers.  At one of my first sales jobs, they trained us to do the pitch in a totally crass way that left the customer feeling attacked, not supported. It worked sometimes because the bullish method would help the customer see where they needed motivation to actually fix their problem of which our product solved. But sometimes it ostracized the customer and left them doing business with our competitors instead.  There was a sales rep on our team who thought of a better way to get better results without putting a customer’s feelings on the line.  Fortunately, the leadership and sales coaches wanted to give this approach a shot and we’re open-minded to changing the methodology. Because they were open-minded, they were able to take this strategy and reapply it to the entire sales organization. As a result, numbers shot up.  At the time they did not have call coaching software that helped with things like conversational intelligence for sales coaching.  But it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn from the positive outcome. If you are pushing your sales team to do everything exactly the way you say to the point that you are scripting them or making them feel nervous, you’re probably doing yourself and them a big disservice.  It is much more effective to be cooperative with your team and ask them where they think improvements can be made rather than prescribing consistent improvements to them that may or may not be taken into practice.

Reason 3 – Only so much sales coaching can be absorbed/applied

 If your sales team is like a sponge and can absorb knowledge, then don’t be the ocean.  There is really no way for a sales team to be able to take in a ton of coaching all at once and expect it to be applied.  If you are overloading your team with sales coaching… then like Yoda would say… “Something to be desired, your sales coaching leaves”.  This happens all the time when coaches of physical sports try to refine or teach a new skill. An example that comes to mind is golf.  When I took golf lessons for the first time, I knew that I had much to learn when it came to my swing and all the many things that I did wrong. The golf coach did not concentrate on all of the things I did wrong at once, but he instead decided to correct a couple of things that were critical and made the biggest improvement the most quickly. Although he probably wanted to say something like “there is so much going on that is wrong here, it might be easier if you just pick another sport”.  Then he told me straight up that if I didn’t practice those things that he had helped me correct would have wasted my money on the training.  Now I have the privilege of just being a “below average” golfer, instead of people thinking I’m trying to get famous on youtube by sucking so bad.  Sales training is really similar in that way, if you don’t practice and use your own skills you never actually get better. But it’s also not helpful when a sales leader shoves everything you do wrong down your throat and doesn’t allow for any absorption of the most critical things that could have made the biggest impact.  Conversation intelligence can serve as a gentle reminder during a call, in real-time, that something could be tweaked in the conversation without even needing to get the sales manager involved.


Greg Reffner - CEO

As one of the very first power users of Conversational Intelligence as an Account Executive, Greg fell in love with how technology enabled his success. As Abstrakt's leader, his vision and "why" is to help every sales rep and leader avoid the pain of missing their number.