Take a moment to ponder through your last 24 hours. Think about the conversations you had, the meetings, you attended, and the information you heard. For a sales professional, you probably spent a large portion of your day taking in information in some sort of auditory form. Now, think about it one-step deeper. How much of those interactions did you hear and to what portion of them did you listen?
From our Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep survey, reps tell us that listening is a highly important trait of an effective sales coach. In fact, rep agreement that their manager always listens to them strongly correlates (has a relationship) with:
Feeling as though their manager cares about them as a person
Belief that their manager is an excellent sales coach
Feeling as though their scheduled one-to-one meetings are beneficial
Belief that their manager is an excellent leader
Positive overall rankings of their manager’s ability to effectively coach
A good portion of what we need to do in this modern world is filter and extract information. As sales managers, we may get to feeling overwhelmed with all the needs and best practices that can help us to become better sales coaches. With this in mind, our data indicates that a powerful first step to improving your coaching skills is starting simple: listen.
When I was in college, I studied abroad in Spain. I still remember the blanket of exhaustion from those first few days in a foreign speaking country. The mental effort needed to communicate with the people and environment around me was profoundly tiring. Simple things like ordering food in a restaurant became deliberate. I couldn’t just wander through my day and conversations. My brain had to shift from just hearing things around me to actually listening and processing them.
I use this as an example, because I think it makes us think differently about our typical day. We hear stuff. People around us talk. But how much do we really listen and engage? Our brains do some self-preservation work and are already wired to hear, filter, and move on. We take the action of really listening for granted because we are pelted with things to hear all day long. Taking the time to really listen is work and involves conscious behavior.
But as our data indicates, listening is an important piece of effective coaching. It is work that comes with rewards. The reps and the data have spoken; are you listening?
For opportunites to listen to experts in the field of sales coaching, join us at our Sales Coaching Summit this spring: