“I see the value in spending time with my sellers in the field coaching them, but I just don’t have the time.”
We’ve heard this a lot from sales managers over the years, pre-COVID and during COVID. Finding time to watch sellers in the field is a challenge to time-starved managers. The average time to coach a seller on a typical 30-minute, face-to-face appointment is actually around two hours when you factor in things like travel time to and from an appointment.
One of the positive outcomes of COVID is the ability for managers to sit in on appointments with sellers when they conduct virtual meetings with customers. These virtual coaching opportunities—also known as Zoomalongs—provide an extremely efficient method of coaching at a fraction of the time of a face-to-face coaching call (30 to 45 minutes versus two hours).
Here are some thoughts and tips on how to get the best ROI on virtual coaching opportunities.
Why and How to Get the Best ROI with Virtual Coaching
- Coaching helps sellers improve sales performance, sell more, solve more problems, and cash bigger commission checks (this leads to retention and reduces turnover)
- Customers appreciate it because sellers with a high level of expertise provide awesome solutions and don’t waste their time
- Four eyes and four ears during an appointment produce a better outcome because sales opportunities are missed less often
- Most importantly, it tells sellers that you care about them—this will strengthen your relationship and enable the activation of their talents!
- Make coaching a priority for all sellers (not just rookies), especially when it comes to things related to virtual selling
- Look for opportunities during your weekly meetings with sellers when you review their weekly sales plan and appointments for the upcoming week
- Focus on virtual meetings when sellers are conducting a needs analysis or presenting a proposal
- Select at least one virtual coaching opportunity per seller each week.
Below are a few tips from the pros to get the most of coaching time (virtual or face-to-face in the field):
- Set up the meeting properly with the customer—let them know you are on the call to watch the seller in action and provide coaching afterward to help them improve (not on the call to conduct the meeting)
- Keep your eyes and ears open and mouth shut—let the seller conduct the meeting and coach afterward (if they miss something significant, they can get back with the customer and address it)
- Take notes during each appointment
- Some managers record virtual meetings to review with sellers (be sure to ask the client if this is OK prior to doing this)
- Provide feedback after each appointment using this formula:
- This went well—review 4-5 things the seller did well to open the coaching window for improvement opportunities
- This might have gone better—address an area requiring improvement
- I wish I would have seen—provide an improvement tip.
- Keep the notes to review prior to future calls to monitor and recognize improvement.
A New Year’s Resolution
It’s time to stop making excuses about field coaching. Virtual selling provides an opportunity to coach without leaving the office. Your sellers deserve, expect, and appreciate your coaching time. Your customers will value it too.