Great Sales Coaching Will Lead to Great Sales Results

I wanted to share with you a recent sales coaching success story with one of my clients, a seasoned B2B sales professional, who I will refer to as Tom.

Tom calls me a few months ago and says, “Paul, I’m generating a lot of leads but not closing any business. With two daughters in college, I need to generate revenue or I won’t be able to pay their tuition.”

During our first sales coaching session we immediately pinpointed where Tom needed to improve. He cited a recent meeting with a prospective client, Sylvia. They had talked at length, and Tom thought the conversation went well, especially when she said, “I like what you have to offer, and you impress me as someone who would be great to work with.” Tom’s jubilation evaporated with Sylvia’s next sentence: “But having said that, I still want to look at other options and get back to you next week.” Well, two months had now passed and he was still trying to reconnect with her.

We’ll Get Back to You

So often, salespeople like Tom find themselves having great rapport with prospects, like Sylvia, who appear interested, and ready to take action–only for them to suddenly back-pedal and not be able to make a decision. Here are some typical prospect responses:

  • “We want to hold off this year.”
  • “I need to think about it. Let me talk to my counterparts.”
  • “I’ll get back to you.”
  • “I need to look at other options.”

Tom mistakenly would let the prospect off-the-hook by saying, “OK. When’s a good time for us to talk again?” What Tom needed to do was discover the real reason why they could not come to a decision — to discover the prospect’s real decision-making process. This would help him overcome any hidden objections, allowing him to eventually QUALIFY the sales opportunity. But how?

Great Sales Coaching to the Rescue

Over the next 8 weeks, I continued to work with Tom using a series of proven coaching strategies, tactics and role-playing exercises. I was able to help him recognize that when prospects have concerns and want to put off a buying decision — you must give them an opportunity to voice those concerns. And, the best way to do this, is by asking them descriptive, to-the-point, targeted questions. Take a look at what he asks his prospects now:

  • “I understand the importance of making the right decision… So tell me, based on what we’ve discussed, what is the criteria you’ll be evaluating?”
  • “Could you take me through your evaluation process to ensure you’re making the right decision?”
  • “Could you share with me your decision-making criteria?”

The Results. Tom’s closure rate has improved by more than 40% and he has generated more than $175,000 in new business — all through the power of great questions–and great sales coaching.

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Paul Cherry

For over two decades, sales expert and author PAUL CHERRY has helped B2B sales professionals close more deals in all major industries. As a recognized thought leader in customer engagement strategies, Paul Cherry has been featured in more than 250 publications, including Investor’s Business Daily, Selling Power, Inc., Sales & Marketing Management, The Kiplinger Letter, and Salesforce.

Performance Based Results

Paul Cherry is the president of Performance Based Results. PBR delivers intense, customized sales team training programs and sales management coaching to companies throughout North America. Paul has worked with more than 1,200 organizations, including 175 of the Fortune 500, plus more than a thousand entrepreneurial, small to mid-sized, cutting-edge businesses looking to dominate their niche markets. Clients typically get 7 times their return-on-investment (ROI) or better.

Questions That Sell

Paul Cherry’s top-rated bestseller, Questions That Sell: The Powerful Process for Discovering What Your Customer Really Wants (AMACOM) has been listed on BookAuthority’s “100 Best Sales Books of All Time” and has been published in four languages. He is also the author of Questions That Get Results (Wiley) and The Ultimate Sales Pro (HarperCollins Leadership).