Every sales leader, sales coach and CEO wants their sales people to be successful and close as many deals as possible. The most effective way to do this is to ensure your sales people develop mastery of sales process, sales skills and the products/services they are selling. Sellers who attain mastery on a particular subject are consistently higher performers, feel more fulfilled, and earn promotions faster than those who haven’t.
When striving to cultivate mastery in your sales team, you need to first assess how skilled they currently are. This invokes an important distinction between comprehension and mastery.
According to Merriam-Webster, comprehension is defined as the act or action of grasping with the intellect.
A salesperson with comprehension will be able to describe and define each stage of your sales process, how your product/service works and how to approach a sales interaction.
On the other hand, Merriam-Webster defines mastery as possession or display of great skill or technique.
A salesperson with mastery will not only have comprehension of a particular topic, but they will be able to implement that knowledge flawlessly.
A salesperson being able to comprehend something does not necessarily mean they have attained mastery. Understanding and execution are two very different things!
For example, I can tell you all the rules of golf and how to play golf (comprehension), however, when I get out on the course and execute on playing golf, my score is embarrassing (mastery).
Another example: your salesperson can perfectly describe the steps and approach to a successful discovery call (comprehension), however when they get on the call with an actual prospect, they do not execute that approach correctly (mastery).
There are four different things you can be doing with your team to help them attain mastery: coaching, role plays, reinforcement, and teach backs.
Establishing a coaching culture with each of your sellers and maintaining a consistent cadence is one of the most effective ways to help develop mastery. Research has shown that managers who invest an average of 30 minutes per-month, per-seller on focused coaching, guided by metrics, achieve tremendous results.
Coaching can consist of call coaching (either before, during or after a sales call), asking questions to help them think more critically on a certain topic or having the team work together through a set of scenarios. Sales people like to learn and improve, so give them tools to do so.
Role plays are an invaluable learning method for sales people, and one that we frequently use with clients. You can do sales role plays directly between you and your seller or assign role plays to the team to do with one another. No matter what approach you take with role plays, keep in mind these four tips:
- Be consistent with your role plays
- Make the role plays realistic
- When playing the buyer, be fair
- Focus on one skill at a time
Putting a reinforcement plan in place is critically important to ensure your salespeople don’t revert to old behaviors. A reinforcement plan may contain scheduled coaching, role plays, team meetings to go over a particular topic, gamification, teach-backs and a whole host of other activities you can be doing to help reinforce your team.
When considering reinforcement, remember, anything is better than nothing and reinforcement doesn’t always have to occur during a planned time – it can be spontaneous!
Ever heard the old saying: “If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it.” – Yogi Bhajan
The industry term for this is teach-backs. When your sellers are learning or revisiting a specific concept, have them check their own understanding by teaching it back to you in their own words. If you believe a seller has mastered a topic or skillset, have them lead a session where they teach it to their peers.
Using teach-backs not only ensures your salespeople have comprehension, but also helps them attain mastery.
Implementing coaching, role plays, a reinforcement plan, and teach-backs in your organization will help your team attain sales mastery. As you embark on this initiative, be sure to track measurable and objective metrics to ensure that you sellers are on the right track to sales mastery!
Are you building a reinforcement or coaching plan for your sales team?
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