No matter how successful a sales rep is, they’re inevitably going to hit slumps – fallow periods of famine where they just can’t close a deal or have much success with their pipeline. These troubled times are periods in which your sales coaching can have a tremendous impact in getting these stalled sales reps going again.
- Figure out the source of the problem.
It can be tempting to look at the numbers – such as fewer deals won, smaller average deal size, lower conversion rate from lead to opportunity – and say that’s the source of the problem.
But the reality is, the numbers are merely symptoms and not the malady in and of itself. To find out the true root, dig deeper. Talk to the sales rep and see if they have any ideas where their struggle is coming from. Listen in on their sales calls with an eye towards pin-pointing an issue in skill or communication.
Maybe the sales rep has gotten complacent and is taking shortcuts in their sales process and conversations with buyers. Perhaps they’re feeling a lack of challenge in their work and are bored. These are just a couple of numerous possibilities.
- Determine the best strategy to tackle the root cause.
Once you’ve determined the source of the problem, you can use tailored, specific coaching to address the actual issue. For example, if it’s an error in communication, utilize customized role-plays and go over some of their sample sales calls with the sales rep to recalibrate how they converse with clients. If they’re taking shortcuts, go back to basics and have them go through your sales process step-by-step.
If they need new challenges, consider some type of individualized sales training, followed by your coaching to and reinforcing that specialized training. You might also want to think about switching them to a new sales territory, if your organization uses that model.
- Be consistent with your coaching.
In Fantasyland, where elephants fly and pumpkins turn into carriages, one coaching session will be all that you need to remedy the issue and have a freshly productive sales rep. Sadly, unless we’re camping out in a Disney property, we don’t live in Fantasyland.
In the real world, you’ll need to have several coaching sessions before the change you’re seeking takes permanent effect. Consistency is critical – if possible, try to strive for one session a week that focuses on the issue you’ve identified, then gradually shift from issue-intensive corrective coaching to reinforcement and finally maintenance.
- Have patience and empathy as you and the sales rep work through the problem.
Remember, as frustrating as it is for you to have a stalled sales rep, it’s just as vexing for the rep themselves to be going through these struggles. No one likes to feel as though they’re stuck spinning their wheels in a rut.
So be patient and be empathetic. This problem didn’t just suddenly and randomly pop up out of the blue. It’s the result of a slow, steady process and buildup. The issue was created this way, so it only makes sense that its reversal will proceed along the same lines.
Stall-out is never an enjoyable state for anyone – sales reps or management. But with careful time and effort to identify the cause of the stall, apply the appropriate method to address the found issue, and consistent, patient coaching will pull the rep out of the rut and back into revenue-generating success.