Three Handbrake Moments to Self-Coach

One of the most challenging things in life is changing habits. In sales, it’s not different. Those trained on how to Sell with the Buyer’s Perspective recognize this without any doubt. What you learn in theory is all good, but applying this in front of Customers is one of the biggest challenges. It requires a change of your habits.

To make continued progress, I believe in being coached (by your sales manager) but also in the power of self-coaching. Why Self-Coaching? Simply because you, as a front-line salesperson, are on your own for most of the time. Ideally, with your manager, you determine during your monthly (or more?) one-on-one what you have been doing well in terms of the new way of selling and what you need to focus on, in particular, on changing habits like skills, mindset, and attitude.

Self-coaching is different because you can reflect instantly on these focus points after a call or meeting. You don’t need to wait for your sales manager. Key trades of self-coaching is being open to self-criticism and discipline. Ask Tiger Woods or any top athlete. After a meeting, it would be best to recognise mistakes and quickly analyse what went wrong and what you could do better next time. Slow down, stop and pull the Handbrake for a moment. What happened? Why didn’t you get the outcome you wanted?

Self-coaching is not a natural thing to do when you are on your own. So here are three Handbrake Moments to help you:

1. You Go Too Fast

This is the main reason why opportunities stall. You are going faster through your sales process than your buyer is going through their buying process. So while you think your stakeholder is ready to receive a proposal, they have not even considered precisely why or what needs to change. Do you recognize this? How can you save these opportunities from going silent and eventually dying?

Do more research about the customer and their challenges. Use your own experience with similar customers you have helped. What insightful information may your stakeholder not have seen yet? Would that bring a different perspective to their challenges? Do you see a risk for the company of doing nothing? Will their competitors advance faster than they do? Shouldn’t they be worried about that? How can you help? What information do you have? For this, you need to put your Business Acumen hat on. Build your opinion, call your stakeholder back, and share your insights, ideally through a story. Wait for the Aha… Moment.

2. You Think Too Small

Another reason your opportunity doesn’t progress is that one stakeholder rarely makes decisions. While you think your proposal was well written and summarizes the benefits of change, your stakeholder will not get back to you with a decision. So you got to help your contact to involve and influence others.

You can do two things: 1. Ensure you enable your contact to influence by sharing the link to your insight or emailing your data findings. 2. Ask: “Based on our previous discussion, where we explored new growth opportunities for you and your company, who else would be interested in being part of the next conversation”? I bet your stakeholder has a pretty good idea of who that other person may be.

3. No Consensus

As it is, we are all humans specialized in something. This is even more the case in the business world. The Finance Director knows every number, the Commercial Director wears dollars and euros lenses, and the CEO wants to see a profit. No wonder they focus on what they know best when you talk to them individually. They feel their responsibility is to carry that weight for the whole company. The risk is that they may see obstacles through their lenses when making a change.

Instead, drive consensus in your conversations to what they have in common and where you can help. In most cases, every company is looking for profitable growth. It helps with paying the bills and keeps staff happy with bonuses. So, it makes sense to build your insights around that. For example, get them together and say: “Wouldn’t make sense to adjust your strategy and capture this profitable revenue stream we have discussed ASAP? It would feed your top and bottom line very well”. None of them would argue with that.

Self-Coaching is powerful to move forward. Stop running and stop so now and then to reflect on these three Handbrake Moments.

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