The best coaches of Counselor Salesperson skills say they talk CSP skills and language almost daily, a habit that improves results and CSP’s adoption. Sales coaching is easy to them now, but it wasn’t always. Some of their lessons learned:
- Don’t flood the team with forms. CSP has great planning tools but use the ones that matter most to the salesperson, or more importantly the right situation.
- Spend five minutes on CSP every day instead of 90 minutes at a quarterly sales meeting.
- Always tie coaching to the skills you’re certain will generate more sales. Results, attract the commitment of both new and veteran salespeople.
How will you coach? Which of these sales manager/coaches impacted you most?
The Commander: I get results by setting clear goals, and training the team on our products and process. Their sales technique is up to them. Hitting targets matters most.
The Steward: I get results by making sure the team knows their goals, and is trained to achieve them. I expect them to use the skills, but I don’t micromanage. I help if asked.
The Modeler: I get results by walking-the-talk of the skills we train, and asking the team to do the same. They know our goals, and we talk best practices regularly.
Experienced salespeople will say the ‘best’ manager offers the right help at the right time. CSP coaches agree, but making it a habit takes an intentional plan. Effective coaches use a combination of Drips, Documentation, and Drivers.
In the professional dance world, Artistic Directors coach by ‘correction’ (industry term). A Director’s correction pinpoints an often subtle improvement need observed in a dancer’s delivery. This ‘drip’ approach is specific, unique to the dancer, and bite-size. CSP is full of drip moments that serve as a fork-in-the-road to deeper opportunities:
- A Discovery question not asked, that might surface deeper information next time.
- Forging through your meeting agenda without addressing Relationship Tension in the room.
- Advocating without confirming your customer’s priority objectives and concerns.
- Managing an objection by restating your pitch vs. confirming underlying concerns.
Best used: When you observe or discuss a single difference-making skill for a situation.
The key: Don’t shower your salesperson with drips. One at a time is far easier to apply.
Imagine doing business without contracts, invoices, or purchase orders. They’re as essential as a transcript to a college or a playbook to a football team. CSP’s most essential document, and most fertile coaching tool, is the Discovery Agreement (DA). Why? A concise DA should tell you the level of trust the prospect feels, their challenges, needs, objectives, motives, and preferred experiences. It has all the information needed to demonstrate real opportunities and pipeline movement. It is all the more powerful when confirmed by the prospect. When the manager uses the Discovery Agreement as a coaching tool:
- The salesperson’s Relating and Discovery effectiveness or gaps become self-apparent.
- It reflects real customer engagement and real bottom-line opportunities.
- You can see best practices emerge as the CSP skills are put to optimum value.
Best coached: Prior to Advocating, when a salesperson feels they’ve Discovered enough.
The key: Your coaching prism should look at the degree to which the Discovery Agreement content puts the salesperson in the position to make the highest value proposal for both parties.
Whether you’re cooking a great dish or hanging a picture, the right tool matters. A sharp knife or the perfect power tool are drivers of success because they save you time and ensure a high quality result. The CSP coach uses two drivers:
- The business driver: At a recent quarterly earnings call, the CEO of a CSP client mentioned that the sales team will be challenged this year to maintain margins due to pricing concerns caused by inflation and supply chain issues. CSP is made for this business issue as sales managers can coach teams to use Ben Duffy’s and LSCPA to surface and discuss these concerns.
- The competence driver: These drivers are the skills the salesperson wants to strengthen to optimize their results. From typical listening skills to Discovery depth, a self-aware salesperson grows in confidence and day-to-day results when they seek coaching in areas that matter to them most.
Best used: In 1:1’s when you both are on the same page with development needs.
The key: Write a succinct plan for business and salesperson’s skill growth. At SEG we call this the The Covenant, a personal and simple pact and plan to help the salesperson’s skills and results grow.
CSP Coaching Summary
- The way you coach.
- Bite-size tips tied to your observation of the salesperson in action.
- These are skills you identify that, if improved, lead to better results.
- Unique to the salesperson, and especially helpful to new salespeople.
- The salesperson provides a written assessment of their CSP skill use and value.
- Use of the Discovery Agreement to assess the effectiveness of the salesperson’s CSP skills.
- The Discovery Agreement helps you coach to Relating, Discovery, and Advocating skills, and tie them together.
- Affirm a salesperson’s preferred development areas, the skills they wish to improve.
- Reinforce the priority business-critical skills the sales team must improve.
- The coaching plan evolves as skill strengths emerge and business conditions change.