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Sales Eye - Coaching by e-mail (March 14th, 2005)

2013-02-19
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Coaching by e-mail

14th March 2005

 

Last time we wrote about the essential ingredients to the successful field visit.

 

Since as managers, we are not able to visit branch offices as often as we'd like, we have compiled some pointers and reasons for coaching by e-mail and telephone.

 

It's fast and easy

When you visit branch offices, you probably spend more time traveling than you do actually coaching your sales reps. E-mail allows you instant access and communication with reps. It also allows you to request the help of other departments quickly who can be pulled into the process with the simple click of a mouse. You have a question about the delivery time of an out of stock item, CC the purchasing department, and get a response in minutes.

 

Coach with questions, not answers

Sales reps already know everything (they think), which is why it is best to coach with questions and not just answers or statements. You can help them prepare for big meetings or proposals by asking simple open-ended questions. We recommend limiting your questions to about 2-3 per communication, this will make your e-mail conversations seem more like a dialog with useful back and fourth discussion.

 

Before a meeting, ask some key questions that will help them during the meeting -both about the client as well as their preparation for the meeting. After the meeting, you can ask some questions about how the meeting went and what they discussed. You should ask them what their follow-up plans for this meeting are, and also address issues that need improvement. They can take what they learned here and apply it during the next meeting.

 

Top reps

A common misconception is that you should be spending your time with new reps in the field since they have the most to learn. Truth is, your top reps are the ones who can bring in the most sales and will benefit most from coaching. If you have several reps in a branch office, they can all benefit from having interaction with your top reps everyday-since they sit beside them and listen to their phone calls and talk with them every day.

 

Schedule coaching sessions

Just like regular meetings, you should schedule your key coaching sessions. This will allow reps to prepare for them and start to realize that this is a useful forum for them to address their issues.

 

Improve writing skills

E-mail coaching will also allow you the opportunity to evaluate the writing skills of your sales reps. If they are unclear and long winded when they write to you, you can be sure they are the same to their customers. Your customers! Comment on their writing skills, and start training them to be efficient when writing. E-mail should not be thought as an informal method of communication with customers, misspellings and mistakes should not be accepted.

 

Analyze reports and offer feedback

We recommend that your really spend some time in reading sales reps weekly reports. Who are they meeting each week? Is it the same companies over and over? If sales reps know that you are paying attention to their reports and ask about specific actions, there is a much higher probability that they will take these reports more seriously, and they will become a more valuable tool to analyze their activities.

 

So if you are tired of spending all your time in the car or on the train, start making better use of your time by effectively using e-mail to stay in regular contact with your reps. And don't forget to pick up the phone once in a while as well, e-mail is a great tool, but at times it can seem very impersonal, and nothing makes a sales rep know they are being watched than a call from the boss.

 



From Warsaw Business Journal by John Lynch, Matt Lynch -"The Sales Brothers"