Many sales people will not make changes unless they are made to feel uncomfortable.

EXAMPLE - If your team feels comfortable forecasting numbers below their quota, or reporting numbers below their forecast they will continue to do so. Unfortunately, that means you must be able, when necessary, to make them feel so uncomfortable that they would rather do anything other than report bad numbers. They must feel that doing the hard work, or prospecting, or telemarketing etc, is the more comfortable option.

If you have something to say to an employee, say it. If you just attended an appointment with them and they did something that you did not like just tell them. The same integrity and honesty you have coached them to use and elicit from their customers must be uppermost in your coaching of them.

If you know they will be disheartened or disappointed with your feedback use that to your advantage. You will probably have a temptation to make them feel better. That is exactly the wrong thing to do, at least initially. Most people only make changes when they feel a certain level of discomfort - how can you make them feel that discomfort if you start the coaching session by telling them how good they are at a different aspect of their job?

You should be coaching them to bottom-line the conversations they have with their customers, to get to the point, to ensure they set the tone for the relationship. Their one-on-one or coaching session needs to be conducted in an identical manner - it is the most effective way to make your point and can be used as an example of how they should be interacting with their customers.

Let us, for sake of argument, say you need to explain that they talked all over the customer and failed to use their ears and mouth in the ratio they have been provided on their head. Above anything else avoid starting the conversation off by trying to make them feel comfortable - "John, the agenda you set was very good, you got there on time, you sounded professional and ended the meeting well". The entire time you are trying to make yourself feel better about the coaching you need to deliver AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, YOU ARE TRYING TO MAKE YOURSELF FEEL BETTER, John is thinking "Okay, it must be bad if he waffling this much before telling me what I did wrong".

If there is no way I can convince to completely do away with the "touchy feely" comments, then at least put them at the end of your meeting. In the same way all sales meetings must always start with the "numbers" coaching sessions must start with the reason for the coaching.

Trust me, and please learn from my mistakes, doing it any other way simply dilutes the coaching. Your employee must leave the session with a clear understanding of what happened, what could have been done better and some tips on how to do it better next time. They should fully understand how making the change will help them sell more, they must feel grateful for your honesty and - where necessary, must feel that no matter how hard it may be for them to change it is a lot more desirable than having to explain to you why they have not made the change.

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