This is a very interesting question and one that I will answer with scientific fact, but first let's look at the two different sides of this debate. When you look outside of sales at the likes of Lance Armstrong, Muhammad Ali, Jerry Rice and even Tiger Woods (pre scandal) you see performances that are so far beyond their competition you can't help but think they were born with the right DNA. This is how most corporation hire, they hire for talent. They look for the best and the brightest using a predetermined formula from past hires. Afterwards, little or no training is offered.
Then there is the side that believes top performers are created; that they are molded and developed. Much like a sculpture looks for the best clay, a company looks for the desire and motivation to succeed then molds them into top sales performers through ongoing training, development, and mentoring.
Obviously one takes more time than the other and more commitment from the employer but which one results in top performers more than the other? Through the work of academic researcher K. Anders Anderson and years of studying the top performers in a variety of different fields it was concluded that top performers are made far more often than they are born. The differentiating factor? Practice.
So, in light of this scientific evidence, that top performers are made and not born, what are you doing to develop your next sales superstars?
Developing Sales Performance
Plan For Productivity, Expect Results
Everybody has a different learning cycle, with each person at a different spot in that learning cycle. You have to ask yourself if this person will be groomed for possible promotion later and if they need to be developed for higher productivity or corrected to address performance concerns. Also, decide what the object of the coaching is, is it to motivate, expand responsibility or to increase performance?
From there develop a plan of action answering the above questions. Keep your coaching consistent and on track, write down goals and stick to them. Remember, top performers are made not born.
Also, don't write the plan on your own; in order to get buy in you must do it together. Why? Because employees that are included in creating their development plan feel empowered to achieve more. We all like to feel as if we are in charge of our own destiny.
Always keep in mind what your ultimate goal is, to help your new hire grow into a top performer. This is accomplished through dedication and should be one of your most important priorities. As a coach try to avoid telling people what to do, instead help them choose the best route to meet their objectives. Coaching should be a discussion, one that will leave your sales person feeling empowered.
Remember, your ultimate goal is to bring out potential, that's how top performers are made. Ask searching questions, offer constructive feedback and encourage self-enlightenment to bring awareness to their own strengths and weaknesses. Then, help them to build upon their strengths and weaknesses in order to create new skills, so that they can take on more challenges.
Review, Feedback and Follow-Up
Remember, there is never an end to the coaching and the development of others. Growth needs to be constant or your employees run the risk of becoming stagnant, which leads to under-performance. Follow-up consistently, give feedback and review performance... consistently.
Qualities Of A Good Coach
- High Expectation - A good coach has high expectations of the people they're developing.
- Interest In People - A good coach is interested in other people and their success.
- Ability To Prioritize - A good coach knows how to prioritize for the optimum growth of their trainees.
- Belief In Potential - A good coach has unwavering belief in the potential of the people they coach.
- Good Listeners - A good coach understands that the best way to coach is to have an ongoing discussion with their trainee, they must be good listeners.
What other qualities of a good coach can you think of?
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