The greatest waste within most organizations and high-performance individuals isn’t related to time or talent or money. The greatest waste (and opportunity) lies in potential. The potential for the organization overall to accelerate market share and growth, but also the potential of individuals within the organization to improve their skills, results, impact and success.
Salespeople are no different. With high-performance front-line reps as well as their managers and leaders, a great coach can identify both strengths and weaknesses that can be honed, converted and optimized for peak performance.
I believe we can all benefit from coaching. The most successful athletes and the world have coaches. But if you’re in sales (or have sales as part of your responsibilities), the following eight signs might be an indication that the potential in front of you is worth finding that coach sooner or later.
1. You are losing deals to competitors and you don’t know it
You will always lose deals to the competition, but if it happens and you don’t even know it, you’re missing a significant opportunity to plug a gap in your go-to-market strategy and increase your overall win rate moving forward.
2. You have no consistent, scalable sales process
Do you improvise on every deal? Do you scramble to figure out what next steps might be if someone shows interest, or asks for a proposal, or has objections to price? A consistent, documented sales process makes you more efficient and helps you leverage your own best practices to close more business. A sales coach can combine the unique elements of your business and market with your natural strengths to build and operationalize a sales process you will stick with.
3. You have no pipeline
When I asked one new client to show me a copy of their sales pipeline, I was handed a pile of Post-It notes and scraps of paper. That’s an OK place to start (at least they’re written down!), but unless you have a pipeline (that wholly contains your potential new business and sorts them by stage and likelihood to close), you’re wasting a lot of time picking up the scraps (literally!) and trying to remember where every prospect sits.
4. You treat every lead equally
Some prospects are interested and ready to learn more. But most either don’t need you right now, or just aren’t ready to talk shop. If you treat them all as ready-to-buy prospects (which may be easier), you’ll end up alienating the majority of your prospects and come across as just another pushy salesperson. An effective sales coach can help you separate the hot from warm leads, and create strategies for engaging, nurturing and (eventually) converting prospects at various stages of interest.
5. You’re waiting for the phone to ring
The fish aren’t going to jump in your boat. Every once in a while one will, but that’s no way to manage a long-term, growing and scalable sales program. Even without a dedicated marketing budget, there’s plenty you can do to proactively build market interest, stay in touch with thousands of prospects at once, and actively leverage a network of referrals to keep your phone ringing.
6. You’re losing deals to apathy and you don’t know it
The majority of deals are lost not to competitors but to prospects who are never convinced to make a change. If you lose a deal to apathy, you’ve failed to build more value than the prospect’s status quo. This is a value translation problem that can be easily addressed, with your coach, to ensure the right prospects discover, understand and can quantify the cost of the problem they have (and what it would mean to fix it, with your help).
7. You get nervous before every sales call or presentation
There’s nothing wrong with being nervous about a big meeting. But if you’re nervous before EVERY sales presentation, it likely means you’re not confident in what you’re about to say, the value your product or service provides, or your ability to translate your value to what the customer needs and wants.
8. Your sales pitch starts and ends with you
The customer doesn’t care about you. They’re not interested in buying the drill, they just want holes! Are you effectively converting the “me me me” pitch into something that grabs the prospect’s attention – based on what he or she cares about most – and converts a nice to have into a top-priority need to have?