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3 Reasons to Have a Sales Coach

OctNov2016-Clockadale

After consuming mass amounts of Olympic action this summer, it occurred to me that athletes like Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and Michael Phelps have at least one thing in common—they all have a coach.

And having a coach in the world of athletics is not unusual—every professional athlete (and most amateur athletes for that matter) has some type of coach. Unfortunately, very few sales professionals have a coach.

Funny thing is, most of the pursuits we followed as young children, teenagers, young adults and college kids involved a coach.

For example, when we played little league softball or baseball, played youth soccer or youth basketball, took a golf lesson (with a club that was always way too big for our 9-year-old body), took a piano lesson(s) or had a tutor help us with certain subjects in school, we had a coach.

When we played high school sports, played in the band, joined the debate team or math team, or began the search and application process for college, we had a coach (sometimes we called them a counselor).

When we moved onto college, most of us had a career counselor or a professor that guided us through the semester as well as helped us through some of those tests that we surely would have failed if not for their coaching and advice.

No matter who coached you or when they coached you, every coach helps us with one or more of the following three things. These are the reasons we should all have a coach:

1. A coach teaches us the basics.

(i.e. how to pitch a baseball or softball, how to grip a golf club, how to research for a debate, etc.).

Some sales people, whether new to sales and early in their career, or somewhat experienced in sales but new to an industry, could stand to have a coach help them build their foundation with the basics.

Sales people often want to go it alone, learn the hard way or use brute force to try to be successful. It’s time to stop reinventing the wheel. Get a coach to guide you early on.

2. A coach teaches us how to apply the basics. A coach gives us feedback on what we do well and corrects us on what we missed.

Imagine being a softball or baseball pitcher. You know how to pitch (yes, you learned the basics of getting the ball across the plate), but now you have to learn how to pitch with two people on base, two outs and the game tied at 2-2 with the possibility of a “hit and run” or a bunt.

Coaches help us develop the acumen to face this type of scenario as well as provide the advice and feedback after we have dealt with these types of scenarios so that we can learn from our mistakes as well as build upon our successes. In essence, coaches help us objectively look at our “game” film.

3. Coaches tweak our actions to maximize our potential.

Usain Bolt, the world’s fastest human, has broken the world record in the 100 meter dash three times with times of 9.72 seconds, 9.69 seconds and 9.58 seconds. Usain can’t see himself launch off the blocks, get up to speed during the first 50m and accelerate in the last 50m (unless he sees the video) and if he does see his video, he will see it through his own eyes and not that of a neutral observer (i.e. his coach). Despite his world record speed (three times!), his coach finds the small tweaks that make him even greater than he is without the help.

I often hear from seasoned sales professionals and newbies (those newbies who have achieved success through no fault of their own) and they all make similar comments, “I’m doing great and hitting my numbers, why do I need a coach?”

This comment derives from part arrogance and part blindness. Usain Bolt may look arrogant on TV (although I find him quite confident, entertaining and purposeful about his business of running) but he has a hidden humility that allows him to understand that he can be better and knows he can’t get there on his own (i.e. he needs a coach).

And he is not blind. Unlike many of the sales professionals I run into, he is not blinded by his success but his success fuels him to see if there is more to achieve than what he has already achieved (his competitive spirit helps as well!).


JD Clockadale JD Clockadale, works with national and international sales teams to help sales representatives more effectively engage prospects and clients, and more importantly, increase both the size of their sales opportunities and their long-term revenue. JD started his career as a commission-only insurance representative with Prudential Insurance Company of America and is now a senior sales consultant with Aslan Training and Development, a Selling Power magazine Top 20 nominee. Learn more about JD and M.A.D. Time OwnershipTM at www.MADTimeOwnership.com.

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