By Keith E. Smith
Like many of you reading this, We have had the responsibility of coaching a small sales team. We have learned a lot, but the most important thing we have learned is to never stop looking for ways to encourage, support and strengthen my team. We also learned that there is only so much one person can do when it comes to coaching a group of people. This is where peer coaching comes in. In fact, we have seen this take a team member who was having a less-than-stellar month, and within two weeks they had turned it around. By “turned it around” we mean that team member more than doubled their closing ratio in less than fourteen days.
Let’s face it, after a while they expect to hear certain things from you because you’re the manager, and your coaching can begin to have less of an impact. There are several ways to prevent that from happening, or at least limit it to a certain extent. Changing up the location where you coach and the topics you coach about are a couple of ways that have worked for me. However, the most effective method we have found so far is to have the team coach each other.
*It is important to pause here a moment and make an important point. In order for your team to be in the right headspace to coach a fellow team mate, you must have already created a culture in which encouragement, support and good will thrives. There have been dozens, if not hundreds, of books written about business culture, and I cannot even begin to touch on that topic in this short post. We encourage you to read up on it, study it intensely, and intentionally create the culture of your business. If you need some suggestions on where to start, just ask and we can help you out.
If you have been in management for any length of time,, then you know that you can’t do it all. Often, when you begin to be overwhelmed with responsibilities, coaching the team is one of the first things that gets put on the back burner. Here’s some good news: You don’t have to be the only one coaching your team!
If you have successfully created a work environment like we described above, then you have a team of knowledgeable coaches already on staff. Your sales team are on the front lines every day. They know what is working and what is not working. Put that knowledge and experience to use! Tap into their team mentality, encourage each team member to reach out and lift up anyone they see struggling. Remind them that a rising tide lifts all boats. We did this, both individually and as a group, and stood back and let it happen. The results began to show up in a matter of days.
You see, we all are influenced by our peers, and often more so than by those who lead us. It’s simple psychology, but it works. Another great thing about your team reaching out and helping one another is that they become a tighter-knit group. They will come to work knowing that their coworker has their back and will help them when they need it. When you have a team that thinks and operates like that, everyone will reap the benefits.