A couple weeks ago, I discussed the importance of not only coaching your reps’ skills, but also coaching their mental performance. To keep your reps performing at their peak level, you have to ensure they are always mentally engaged with their work. To that end, I introduced three key coaching principles that you can use to help improve your sales reps’ performance mentality:
- Creating relationships of trust with those you are coaching
- Asking powerful questions to drive effective learning
- Facilitating growth experiences for your team to maximize their potential.
In today’s blog, we are going to further explore the first coaching principle of creating relationships of trust.
According to data from EcSell Institute’s Through the Eyes of the Rep survey, there is a strong relationship between rep sales performance and reps that report their manager cares about them as a person, not just a sales producer. This data indicates that a personal relationship with their sales manager is important to top-performing reps. So in order to coach your reps effectively, you must first connect with them as an individual. For some managers and with some reps, this relationship will come naturally. But other relationships can be more difficult to form. So how do you create relationships of trust with all the reps you lead?
The first step is to simply spend time with them. If you need to connect with a rep, the easiest way is to schedule a ride-along with them. Ride-alongs are always a great coaching opportunity, but they also present a great opportunity for relationship building. When you are with them on the road, make sure to ask questions about them as a person and pay attention to the subjects they talk about the most. If possible, try to find an area of common interest, as this help connections form more naturally.
The next step in creating a trust relationship is to be open about yourself. Many leaders hesitate to share information about themselves on a personal level, believing perhaps it’s inappropriate to do so. But if you want to create a genuine, trusting relationship with someone, you have to be wiling to share too. Make sure you ask lots of questions to get to know the people you are leading, but also make sure that you talk about yourself openly when they ask you questions.
The third key aspect of building trusting relationships is to be reliable. Many people think of being honest and keep confidences when they think of creating trust. These are important concepts, but it’s just as important to be consistent and reliable. When you follow through on your commitments and do what you say you will do, people are more likely to trust what you say. So show up to meetings you say will attend, respond to people’s requests in the timeframe to which you agreed, and generally follow through on your commitments. This will help your team members know they can count on you.
The above ideas are not the only ways to create trusting relationships, but they are three key ways to build a genuine connection with your team members. And if you want to be a coach that helps them perform at a higher level, you must have a relationship of trust as your foundation. Take these steps with your reps and see how the level of trust increases with those you are leading.
To learn more about creating effective coaching relationships, attend our October Sales Coaching Summit in Dallas! http://www.ecsellinstitute.com/summit-fall-2014