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What Tiger Woods and Your Top Sales Reps Have in Common

Thursday, September 10, 2020
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What does Tiger Woods have in common with your top sales reps? They both need ongoing coaching to stay at the top of their games.

Woods has state-of-the-art simulation tee boxes in his house to practice his drives. In one mode he can examine data on speed, distance, trajectory, and more. In another mode he can see the ball flight and movement. But like most pros, he has a swing coach to guide him to perfection, correct errors, and regain form when he loses a step or is recovering from an injury. On the course, like every player, he has the benefit of his caddy for club selection and opinions on how the ball will break on the green.

The message: Even the best need to and do take advice from others. They’re coachable.

However, in the sales industry, there is a common trap that sales management consistently falls into—the assumption that top sales reps don’t want sales coaching. In an effort to avoid ruffling the feathers of their top performers, sales managers skip coaching the most valuable members of their team.

What Do You Really Think About Sales Coaching?

If most of your time as a sales manager is taken up coaching and managing underperforming reps, it may be that you are the one who thinks of sales coaching as uncomfortable, negative, or confrontational. If that’s the case, you are likely projecting your negative attitude about coaching onto your top performers.

Of course, you don’t want these sales drivers to be uncomfortable or feel picked on, so instead you check the sales coaching box with these folks by shooting the breeze or gossiping about customers.

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If this sounds familiar, check your attitude about sales coaching at the office door.

It’s important to make and keep your top performers happy, and you certainly don’t want them to feel micromanaged. But you’re not doing them any favors by skipping out on coaching sessions, and you may be giving them a reason to head for the door.

Think Your Top Performers Don’t Want Sales Coaching? Think Again

One of the biggest mistakes a sales leader can make is assuming that top performers aren’t interested in coaching. Yes, sales coaching can be time devoted to addressing difficult situations, including going head to head on performance issues. But that type of sales coaching is a far cry from the coaching sessions you should be having with your top performers.

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In fact, your sales coaching sessions should vary in content, tone, and goal depending on whether you are working with an underperformer, top seller, highly tenured team member, or sales newbie.

Coaching sessions for high-performing sales reps need to be tailored to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Like coaching a top athlete or actor, sales coaching is a time for individualized top-tier instruction and feedback. The more personalized, the better.

This is their time to get your assistance to further their development as sales professionals. Don’t waste it by just talking. Everyone has room for improvement, and the best people know they need coaching to stay on top of their game.

The natural assumption of many sales leaders is that top-performing reps don’t want coaching. Don’t fall victim to the biggest myth in selling. Elevate your game by taking the time to develop impactful sales coaching sessions and help your top performers continue their success and reach new goals.

About the Author

Nick Rini, a Sciolytix co-founder, leads the company's sales and marketing organizations and has extensive leadership experience in revenue development, sales forensics, sales effectiveness, and marketing. As a three-time tech startup CEO, Nick has delivered strong results for investors and customers alike. His tenure in tech includes sales leadership positions with private and publicly traded companies such as Candle Corporation (IBM), and Citadel, Inc. (Intel), and he is a Smithsonian-Computerworld Innovation Laureate.

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