By Gregory Ferrett
Welcome to Monday
I was listening to the commentary of the Australian Open tennis this week and the
commentators were debating the wisdom of one of the players entering the competition without a coach – the only player in the competition without one. This got me thinking. I researched the statistics of success in sports over the past fifty or so years and I struggled to find a single case where a person had risen and maintained elite level performance without a coach.
Yehudi Menuhin, the most gifted violin player of our time, was asked by a newspaper reporter for an interview. He agreed, but it would need to be straight after his violin lesson during the week. The reporter was surprised that even at the peak of his career he still had regular violin lessons. Menuhin said “To continue to be relevant and engage with my audience“, Menuhin said “I need help to regularly develop my skills and techniques.”
In my second year of high school I was failing maths miserably. So much so I was placed in the slow or remedial class. I was fortunate enough that the teacher of this class, long before there were textbooks on the subject, understood everyone had a different learning style. In just a few weeks I was back on track, loving maths, and from that day to this I have always loved the subject. There was nothing different being taught in the more advanced classes, she was just acting as a coach and helping me reconnect to the subject.
Recent research (Gallup Management Journal research – over 10 million customers, 3 million employees, 200,000 managers) found that successful business owners and sales people rarely achieve greatness on their own! Great sales performers invariably have great coaches and mentors close at hand. The very best performing sales people and business owners need – and deserve – the most gifted coaches. In fact, many elite performers will have multiple coaches focused on different aspects of their life or game.
Sales and Business Fitness
When you start a fitness program at a gym the very first thing you do is undergo an assessment. The fitness instructor evaluates your fitness levels in a number of areas – aerobic fitness, cardiac fitness, muscle strength, abdominal strength, body fat etc. In general there are a few key dimensions of fitness.
Business and Sales fitness is the same. There are five key areas of fitness that a business or sales coach needs to assess. As a coach we work with the individual and develop a plan to develop their fitness in these key areas and then to maintain peak fitness for long term success. These key areas are:
- Relationship Building
- Gaining Commitment
- Getting things done
- Understanding and solving customer problems
Take motivation as an example.
While being highly motivated is not enough to achieve success in business or as a sales person, having motivation is fundamental to success. Motivation, however, comes in many forms.
If your emotional style is ‘The Mover’(1) then communication is the form that drives your motivation and you are drawn to talking, storytelling and discussing concepts. As a coach I would touch base regularly, use positive words to praise you for your accomplishments; listen to ideas and check to be sure you understand what needs to be done before our next conversation. Even if times get tough, taking the time to touch base with you is vital for your ‘sales fitness’
If your emotional style is ‘The Politician’(1) then winning is the form that drives your motivation. I would turn things into a competition feeding your emotional need to win. If you have clients where there are lots of smaller orders this will fuel your motivation. If there are fewer and larger orders I would help you break this down into many more wins. Regular communication and direction is not a priority and investing time in idle conversation is a definite negative. Even in tough time breaking down achievements into ‘wins’ maintains ‘sales fitness’.
A great sales coach knows and understands how to read the fitness form of each of their team and design a fitness program to keep each one of them motivated to achieve.
Today’s Question and Actions
Great coaching does not happen by accident. It is wonderful to have a friend, spouse or colleague to talk things over with. When it comes to achieving greatness, however, you need to ask the following questions;
- Is this person objectively evaluating the five key areas of my business or sales fitness and planning strategies to help build and maintain those fitness levels?
- Do they understand how to deal with me on an emotional level?
- Do they focus on wins relevant to me?
What coaches do you have in your life?
Have a great week!
Exceptional Sales Performance
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