When my kids ask me how to spell a word for their homework, I don’t tell them.
When they were younger, I would just tell them, eager to show them how smart I was because I could spell the word “guarantee” without looking it up in the dictionary.
But now, I never tell them.
They used to then go to their mom and ask her, but although she used to do what I once did and just outright tell them, she now does what I do. She doesn’t answer either.
Sure, they didn’t like it at first. In fact, they never liked it and now that I think of it they still don’t like it.
But now they don’t ask me how to spell words nearly as much as they once did. They just wanted the answer, they wanted the easy way out. They didn’t want to have to go through the trouble of THINKING.
No, we don’t ignore them when they ask, and no, our kids aren’t failing spelling in school either. In fact quite the opposite.
My oldest son holds the second grade school spelling test record for 13 consecutive perfect spelling tests of 100%, while my other son is now currently working on a streak of seven 100%s in a row.
All parental pride and the inevitable “my kids are so smart” gloating aside, they are not slouchy spellers by any stretch.
But they are far from “natural spellers” either.
So when they ask us how to spell a word, we do one of two things:
1. Have them go to the family dictionary and look it up.
2. “Coach” them through how to spell it
Number one is easy, you just have to make sure the family Websters Dictionary isn’t hidden in a closet somewhere or you’ll be asked the “where’s the dictionary” question over and over and that gets old fast.
Number two is a bit more tricky because it requires a bit more effort on your part.
Answering them is easy. Coaching them is more difficult. But the payoff for you and them is far greater because the actually LEARN something.
Sales Management Coaching
When your sales reps ask you how to do something do you always give them the answer or do you tell them to find the answer or coach them through the answer?
If you give them the answer, they will continue to keep asking you over and over the same questions.
If you teach them to find the answer or you coach them through the answer, they learn HOW to do it almost on their own.
My salespeople used to ask me all the time how they could get a new and creative deal through upper management. At first, I did it for them and with them. I modeled it for them, then I had them do it themselves and guided them through it.
Two Steps in Good Sales Management Coaching
1. Model the behavior by doing it while they watch
2. Coach them through how to do it
So the next time one of your salespeople asks you a question like these, ask them instead: “what do you think you should do?”
This should be your very first question.
After they answer, then ask a follow up question like: “so of you did that would that solve the issue?”
If they say no and I agreed I would ask her: “then what else could you do?”
What will eventually happen is that the salesperson starts to THINK and learn their way through the solution.
You can keep asking your salesperson the above question as many times as needed until they reach the answer or until they run into a total roadblock.
If the salesperson reaches a roadblock in their answers and you cannot prompt much more out of them, then say:
“If I were in your shoes, I would consider doing…”
This will start them back up with a whole new line of thinking, prompting further solutions and questions. And eventually, together you and the sales rep will come to the conclusion together. A conclusion and solution that they crafted for themselves with a little assist for you.
And its a solution that they “own” now because they thought of it.
The Pursuit of Sales Management Nirvana
Eventually, your sales team won’t call you as much. And when they do, chances are good they will be really stuck, so coach them through it all again.
This will give your salespeople more confidence and empowerment as well as leave you with far fewer calls to answer so you can get on with other things.
Ah, sales management nirvana.
However, the next time your salesperson asks you how to spell “perspicuity”….tell them to look it up in the dictionary.
How do you spell sales management coaching?