Sales managers are not always present in small businesses, so we are often asked what…
If we want to help and support our sales teams to be more accountable and self manage we need to up our coaching game. We don’t need to improve our selling skills but we do need to improve our leadership and coaching skills. Improving our listening skills is critical to reach this goal so here are 7 tips to improve your listening skills.
1. Know the Purpose of the Meeting
What are you helping this individual to do or to accomplish? Usually for me it’s about helping them sell more. Maybe it’s about developing a certain area in their sales process and in their craft that they need to work on. For instance, it could be listening skills.
2. Don’t Bring Teaching Points
You don’t want to come to a coaching meeting with teaching points already planned out to teach. Remember, this isn’t a teaching meeting, so you can leave those teaching points for another meeting.
3. Turn off your problem solving mindset
Turn off your problem-solving and decision-making mind set. Personally, I love solving problems. Give me a puzzle or some mechanical thing to fix. I love that. But you’re not here to solve their problems or make decisions for them that will make their life easier. You’re here to strengthen them. If you can resist the temptation to problem solve, you’ll find that you’re going to hear so much more from your people.
Once you’re in the coaching meeting, keep the following 4 “permissions” in mind.
4. Detours in a conversation are OK
Don’t be so focused that everything has to stay in a line and you’re asking a hundred questions to keep it on track. You’re not in control of this coaching meeting. You are, but you really want to act out of control. Let them speak more. Detours are OK.
5. It’s OK to ask questions that lead to a dead end
Sometimes you have a hunch and you’re going to ask a question. For instance, “Do you think you’re losing the trust of the client?” And they might say, “No, I checked on that. I asked this and that and no, I’m not.” Okay, go in another direction. It’s okay to ask a question that might lead to a dead end.
6. Ask the questions that come to mind
Now you’re starting to trust yourself. They’re getting better at making their decisions and solving their problems. The more you practice listening, the better you’ll get at it. And you’ll have great questions to ask because you’re going to have a wider perspective to present questions from. So ask them.
7. Don’t be in a rush to ask questions
As a coach, we may believe that we’re here to ask a bunch of questions to help our team discover. But we don’t allow them to discover because we’re asking so many questions. We end up being a doctor and diagnosing them, versus allowing them to solve their problems and make decisions. You don’t want to be doing a lot of diagnosing. However, you do want to help them discover.
To conclude, know your purpose. Don’t come with teaching points. Turn off your problem-solving mindset. And then while you’re in the meeting, detours are okay. It’s okay to ask questions that could lead to a dead end. Ask the questions that come to mind. And don’t be in a rush to ask questions. Use those reminders and if you’re using them and you want to share some ideas with me, give me a call or set up an appointment. If you’re going to share something that you’re applying through these videos, you’ve earned a free coaching session with me. Just go ahead and schedule it.
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