Worried about retaining your best people? Stressed about hitting your quarterly objectives? Feeling overburdened by underperformers? Wondering how you can develop a more self-motivated team of sales champions?
Keith offers a suite of customized programs for salespeople, partner account managers, account executives, sales managers and executives. His award winning programs offer proprietary methodologies and a tactical framework in order to create the desired long term culture shift that individuals and companies want.
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Gerhard: You’ve traveled globally, delivering your management coach training program based on your best seller, Coaching Salespeople Into Sales Champions. Any cultural differences?
Keith: It’s been amazing traveling to over 40 countries on five continents, working with global sales organizations like Microsoft and Oracle as their exclusive provider of management coach training; teaching managers how to facilitate a coaching conversation that consistently achieves business objectives faster. While there are subtle cultural differences, both regional and organizational, the same challenge remains: “How do I manage and motivate people to perform like champions and achieve business objectives – with less stress?” Our coaching framework is the universal language that resolves this challenge and it’s what top companies do to win more sales.
Gerhard: Why are these companies investing time and money in your program?
Keith: Years ago, I’d deliver sales training and hear, “Great training, but some people reverted to their old ways.” What was missing? Effective coaching by the manager to make the sales training stick. We were the first to pioneer management coach training while remaining the global leaders, and our clients realized that sales training alone isn’t enough. The solution to boosting sales isn’t more sales training but better coaching from management which makes their people more valuable. After coaching thousands of salespeople and managers, most managers use coaching as a buzzword but don’t change their directive approach. They never learned how to coach, nor do they have a proven coaching methodology and framework. Sales training doesn’t develop sales champions – managers do. If you want to make your salespeople more successful, first make your managers great coaches.
Keith: Managers report that other management/leadership training programs talk about coaching without teaching HOW to coach. They don’t provide a tactical coaching system specifically for sales leaders that’s proven to drive more sales. We provide our proprietary L.E.A.D.S. Coaching FrameworkTM that’s leveraged to facilitate any conversation, including deal reviews, performance reviews, even turning around underperformers. It also creates buy-in around change or new initiatives by aligning each individual’s personal goals with corporate objectives. Now the quality of output increases exponentially, since everyone’s working toward a shared vision. Our research shows there’s no other program that delivers this – and we welcome the challenge!
Gerhard: What gets in the way of effective coaching?
Keith: Being the Chief Problem Solver. Instead of developing people, managers jump in too soon to problem solve or save a deal, sending the wrong – and paradoxical – message: managers create what they want to avoid most. Managers want their people to be more self-driven and accountable. Conversely, they’re compelled to provide quick answers rather than empower people to create their own solutions. This creates more dependency on the manager and robs people of the accountability they want to instill. And you can’t scale dependency.
Gerhard: You mentioned the number one cause of a weak, unhealthy pipeline, forecast inaccuracy and lost sales. What is it?
Keith: Assumptions. The assumptions we make around what we perceive are the facts are the number one cause of the majority of communication breakdowns, lost sales, poor performance and inefficiencies. These are the costly assumptions made by the manager as well as their salespeople about their prospects, customers, their buying habits, as well as the assumptions made by the manager about their salespeople around their capabilities, knowledge base, abilities, execution, commitment and skill set. And of course, the greatest assumptions of them all, the cultural assumptions people make around what can and cannot work based upon their company, country or geographic location they live in.
Gerhard: What else gets in the way of delivering effective coaching?
Keith: In one word, trust. Without it, you can’t coach effectively. And the most effective way to build, rebuild or establish trust is by setting and managing clear expectations, while being clear with that person what’s in it for them. Instead of being directive, setting and managing clear expectations around what coaching is and creating authentic buy in around the coaching process by aligning it with how each individual can benefit is something managers need to master. This is achieved through a specific type of conversation I wrote about in my book called, The Art of Enrollment. It’s the most effective way to truly create alignment around the person’s personal goals and your business objectives. When done effectively, the quality of output increases exponentially because you’ve effectively mapped out how each individual can attain their own personal goals and agenda by achieving their business goals and corporate objectives. They’re in sync. Now, the manager and each individual on their team are working towards a shared goal and vision that benefits everyone.
Gerhard: What’s the ROI companies realize from your “coach the coach” program?
Keith: Managers report that they’ve improved forecast accuracy, increased sales and profitability, turned around underperformers within 30 days, retained top performers, accelerated their sales cycle, created a positive environment and reduced problems. When managers coach effectively, they reduce their workload, make their job easier, have more time and most important – build trust.
Keith: Absolutely. And there are so many great managers who are doing a fantastic job coaching and couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. Why? Because coaching generates better results on so many levels. Unfortunately, after talking with many other manager’s direct reports, there’s a small population who actually deliver world class coaching and do so consistently for everyone on their team. I find more managers think they’re coaching but they’re really not. I know this to be true because after they participate in my two-day management coach training program, they wind up admitting, “I thought I was coaching but now realize that what I was doing was something totally different.” When it comes to delivering really powerful and effective coaching, you can’t give what you don’t get yourself. So, as a manager, have you had a positive experience being coached, a negative experience or no experience at all? And if you don’t receive good coaching, never had a positive coaching experience or know what good coaching sounds like and how it can benefit you, then it’s more challenging to be able to give it. This leads to a fundamental breakdown of what coaching is through the eyes of your direct reports as well. After all, if your direct reports had a great experience being coached, they’ll want more. Conversely, if they did not, they’ll be more apt to shy away and resist coaching based upon past experiences. The solution? Set and manage new expectations with each person on your team around what good coaching really is, your role as a coach and the coaching process. It’s an amazing opportunity and a gift for me to observe these managers go through this powerful transformation from manager to coach.
Gerhard: What should managers be doing more of?
Keith: Aside from consistent coaching? More observation and delivering feedback that results in positive behavioral change, because people can’t change what they don’t see. Think sports and where the coach is during the game: the sidelines, because players can’t self-diagnose in the middle of the game. They’re playing to win, and so are your salespeople. While many try, you can’t manage from a spreadsheet. Data only provides activity and results, not insight into the quality of output, which makes the difference between the “A” and “C” player.
Gerhard: Any final thoughts?
Keith: Managers: you CAN change a culture, one person and one conversation at a time. Coaching is a language, a more powerful way of communicating to make a positive impact. Remember the new ABCs of leadership: Always Be Coaching!
Keith’s Tactical Coaching System is used by Managers and Executives around the world to drive more sales. 1-to-1 coaching and corporate training available.
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