The single biggest obstacle to consistently achieving goal in our industry is sales leadership, or more specifically, the lack of consistent, value-add coaching.
Probably not a profound revelation for most of you. But if you're not convinced, do a quick Google search on the impact of coaching. I did one moments ago and immediately found a CEB Study with two statements supporting this contention:
- The manager activity most closely associated with sales rep success is coaching. However, of the skills that managers possess, the ability to coach individual sales reps is relatively the weakest.
- Quantitative analysis finds that core sales reps receiving great coaching, on average, produce at 102% of goal, in contrast to sales people reporting poor coaching who achieve only 83% of goal.
So what would your year-end results look like if every Advisor, on average, increased their production by 19%?
Why the Coaching Gap?
The three biggest reasons:
- Lack of Time
- Lack of Training
- Complicated Coaching Processes
Addressing the first obstacle simply requires more time and/or re-prioritization. The second takes budget dollars and a commitment from Executive Leadership to ensure adoption and sustainability of the training (click here for previous blog, “Don’t Waste Your Training Budget …”). Addressing the third by SIMPLIFYING and systematizing the coaching process can help solve all three.
In front of me is a copy of a coaching program implemented by a large bank wealth management division. Not unlike most of the coaching processes we see, this “deck” is 17 pages (small font) with a 6-step process and multiple steps under each, scripting for how to coach in a myriad potential situations, forms requiring documentation and follow-up, and 22 tightly-defined leadership and coaching competencies. No wonder coaches don’t have time to do it - the training doesn’t stick and advisors/bankers fail to see the value in it!
It’s not only possible to simplify the Coaching Process, we MUST do so if we want to break through on this challenge and drive more consistent production.
We recommend a focus on 5 key, practical steps:
- Define the Key Competencies
These are the non-negotiable competencies you want to ensure are effectively employed by your advisors in every prospect/client interaction. Keep it simple; just 1-3 in each step of the sales experience that, if skillfully employed, will drive results.
- Know What “Good” Looks Like
To add “coaching value”, the leader must know what good looks like in terms of the Key Competencies… and be able to model it.
- Employ Key Leader Questions
Equip your coaches with a limited number of questions aligned to each of the Key Competencies with which to engage advisors. This requires no extra time as it can be employed in the normal course of business (team meetings, pre-call meetings, 1:1 meetings and hallway encounters) and enables the leader to assess in short order whether the advisor understands the importance of a particular Key Competency and has the ability to skillfully incorporate it into their engagements with prospects and clients.
- Transfer Accountability for Personal Development
This is a significant time-saver and productivity driver. Too often the leader “owns” the advisor’s development, thereby spending so much time teaching, training and cajoling his or her advisors to enhance their skills. Instead, shift that responsibility back to the advisor, holding him or her accountable for meeting the Key Competency standards. They own it; you, as the coach, simply support and guide them in getting there. (Note: A key to being able to do this is providing a resource for the Advisor to turn to in order to develop, practice and hone their skills … which we do for our clients via an online Sustainability and Coaching Platform that Advisors can access 24/7.)
- Establish a Culture of Practice and Joint Calls
Just like an athlete, advisors need practice repetitions to develop skills. Utilizing mini role-plays allows the leader to observe their ability to effectively engage clients regarding the Key Competencies. And if able to commit to a culture of joint calling, the leader can confirm first-hand whether these competencies are, in fact, translating into more effective client/prospect meetings… and therefore enhanced productivity.
Of course, there is more detail required behind this to ensure it is executed most efficiently and effectively. But from our experience, these simple tactics implemented with consistency will lead to increased productivity, improved coaching credibility, and an enlivened culture.
At Greene Consulting, understanding that every single contact you have with your clients influences their opinion of you, our purpose is to empower OUR clients to deliver a more engaging and effective client experience with THEIR clients… so as to deliver on the promises they make.
For more detail or insight on this topic or any others that may be a challenge to you, feel free to contact me at 404-324-4600 or email me.