The Coaching Effect Blog

The Coaching Effect Blog

    Step One to Being a Great Sales Coach:  Building Strong Relationships with Reps

    by Sarah Wirth / February 10, 2016

    Connecting is the first step to coaching – it’s a simple adage we espouse here at EcSell Institute.  This is because our research shows that strong relationships are a necessary foundation for effectively coaching and investing in sales reps.  Without strong relationships, sales managers do not have the level of trust they need to give reps honest feedback, challenge them to improve their skills or guide them in their careers.  Now this may seem like an obvious concept, but ask yourself the following question – if you believe that personal relationships are essential for coaching people most effectively, why haven’t you created this level of relationship with every rep you manage?

    The potential roadblocks to creating a personal relationship with reps can be numerous.  Some sales leaders struggle with the physical distance between themselves and their reps.  Others find it hard to set aside the time necessary to create a stronger relationship.  And still others face the very real obstacle of simply not enjoying spending time with particular members of their sales team.  All of these obstacles to connecting with sales reps are genuine, but yet the fact of the matter still exists… without having this strong relationship, it is nearly impossible to coach reps to top performance levels.  So what can you do when close relationships with some of your reps don’t come naturally?

    In those instances, a process or a structure for deepening your connection with your rep is likely the best solution.  While a more structured way of strengthening your relationship may feel a big awkward at first, oftentimes the structure helps people discuss needs and goals that they otherwise wouldn’t.  A structured conversation can also speed up the process of connecting with a rep as well, especially when you are not able to be with them in person on a regular basis.  Check out our Professional and Personal Goals Discussion as a structure you can use to know your reps better.

    Whether your relationships with your reps have developed naturally or you need to be more systematic in trying to create them, know that your investment to build stronger rapport is worth it.  You simply must have a trust relationship in place in order to coach your rep to the highest possible performance levels.  And connecting is the first step to coaching.

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    Attend our upcoming Sales Coaching Summit to learn more ways to build strong coaching relationships with your sales reps!

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    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth

    Sarah Wirth is the president of Ecsell Institute and has over 20 years of experience in employee assessment, leadership development, sales executive coaching, and customer service. She has presented to executives from across the globe with organizations such as Mercedes Benz, Estee Lauder, Ritz Carlton, Cheesecake Factory and many more.