Last week’s coaching quiz answers—did you get them all?

Last week I gave you a short quiz to help you analyze performance problems by determining if the deficiency was a Know issue (K), a Do issue (D), or a Feel issue (F).  Let’s look at it again along with the answers.

  • One of your sales reps has worked for you for three years. She has recently attended a training program in making referrals in which she performed very well.  Now back in the office, she has not made a single referral to any customer after four weeks.  This is clearly a Feel issue, or F.  You have evidence that she can do the work, but she isn’t doing it, so there is some attitudinal obstacle.  Maybe she’s afraid to ask questions or make recommendations.  How will you find out what’s in the way?  When you coach her, simply ask!
  • The company has introduced a brand new product, which is fairly complex. You held one brief sales meeting to go over the highlights of the product but none of the staff is very familiar with it.  You overheard one of your sales staff give a customer an incorrect explanation of how the product works.   This is a Know issue, or K. The product is complex, you haven’t taught it adequately and the team doesn’t yet understand it fully.  There are lots of remedies here:  training, sales meeting product reviews, designating an expert in the office to teach the others, learning tools, such as quick “cheat sheets” and other interventions.
  • Your new customer service rep has been on the job for only six She is trying to use a Customer Needs Assessment form but is having some difficulty listening to the customer, recording information on the form and then asking the next question.  It sounds very awkward to you as you listen to her customer conversations.  This is simply a Do issue, or D.  She’ll get better at it with practice, just as all of us do the more we work with an unfamiliar activity.  Here’s an example. Ask someone to remove his jacket, and then put it back on this time putting the other arm in first.  Most of us put the same arm in first.  People have a hard time with it!
  • You have conducted several sales meetings in which you have stressed the importance of taking time to understand the customer’s needs before mentioning products or discussing features and benefits. Nevertheless, one of your sales reps launches straight into a presentation of all the company’s products and features the second the customer says, “I would like to speak to someone about opening a new”  I tried to trick you here. You don’t have enough information to answer this question. It could be that the rep doesn’t know what questions to ask, is unskilled at framing questions or hates to ask questions at all.  You must have a conversation and find out what’s in the way before you begin any remedial intervention.

Gregory at Medtronic 10-2010 CroppedNotice that with Know and Do, the solutions are pretty straightforward, but with Feel they are often complex.  In selling we know the power of the feelings issue, as it’s the biggest driver in sales.  Same goes for coaching. You must understand how feelings can interfere with job performance and then understand how feelings can influence the coaching conversation.

We’ll continue this discussion next week with more ideas on performance analysis and coaching best practices, following the same principle in coaching an employee as selling to a customer.   In other words…

Think Like Your Customer

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About Gregory LaMothe
I teach people how to sell things. I own the company ActionSystems. Visit my website at www.actionsystemstraining.com.

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