In the last part of our three part series on first time reps we’re talking about sales coaching tips. Coaching new sales reps is a lot different than your all star veterans. Try strategies tailored to first time reps to help them develop into successful members of your team. Miss parts one and two? Learn about the five skills to look for in first time sales reps, and six onboarding tips to help get them trained and up to speed.
Once your first time reps have successfully completed their onboarding program, you’ll have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. As a leader handling first time sales reps, it’s important to remember they’re not walking into the room with the same experience and knowledge as your top performers. Slow down, take a step back, and use some of the following tips to coach your new reps successfully.
Help Them Help Themselves
One of the most critical aspects of sales training is giving your sales reps an opportunity to troubleshoot and problem solve on their own. With a veteran sales rep you may jump straight to the toughest challenges they’re facing, start a little softer with your newbies.
Build confidence by starting with simple challenges for your first time sales reps to tackle. When they have a question about communicating with a prospect, or dealing with the aftermath of a bad demo, help them find the answer themselves. Be patient, and ask the right questions to lead them to the answer.
Not only will these problem solving skills stay with them throughout their career, you’ll set an important tone of self sufficiency for your new reps and your organization.
Focus on Skill Gaps
Spend some time analyzing how your new sales rep performed during onboarding. Where there certain areas where they struggled more? What challenges and situations made them more uncomfortable? Doing a quick skill assessment will provide you with a roadmap for coaching success.
Once you’ve identified key areas for improvement, build some sales coaching activities around improving those particular skills. If they’re struggling with demos, have them practice by recording their performance so you can give direct feedback after, or try in-person role playing.
Focusing on their biggest downfalls will help turn weaknesses into strengths, and improve their overall confidence.
Stay Connected At All Times
First time sales reps are going to need more hand holding, and more of your attention. You can’t sacrifice your efficiency and other responsibilities to focus solely on them, so you should plan on using technology to boost your effectiveness.
Mobile coaching technology like LearnCore’s Mobile Manager allows you to coach and give feedback to your reps directly from your iphone. You can continue to provide one-on-one communication and give extra attention to your new reps, without having to be constantly with them at the office.
Keeping the lines of communication between you and your new reps clear will encourage them to ask more questions proactively, instead of making embarrassing mistakes down the line.
There’s nothing worse than getting a first time sales rep excited about having one-on-one coaching time with their boss, and then forgetting to show up. Plan your sales coaching schedule well in advance and book it out on the calendar to make sure you stick to your commitments.
Keeping your appointments with first time sales reps will help make them feel like they’re a significant member of the team, and that you think they’re worth investing in. Constantly cancelling or moving them around will crush their ego and drain their confidence.
Planning a structure sales coaching program will not only help you manage your schedule, it will ensure that your new sales reps are getting regular quality professional development opportunities that will give them a competitive edge.
Sales coaching new reps takes extra care and consideration. Help them learn problem solving skills, focus on their weakest areas, stay accessible and keep to your schedule to create high performing reps as efficiently as possible.