The final installment in Vertical IQ’s free fall webinar series was last week—a presentation entitled High-Tech Coaching in a High-Tech World, presented by Tony Cole of Anthony Cole Training Group, a company that specializes in banking, financial advisory, and insurance sales and management training. 

The technology conundrum 

From ordering dinner to booking a flight, technology is our go-to solution to problems today. In this webinar, Tony discusses how, as a result, technology has forever changed the buying process—the steps a person goes through in order to make their buying decision. 

A salesperson’s initial instinct may be to use all the technology they have at their fingertips in order to try to close a sale with a prospect or client—technology makes solving problems easier, after all! But when they do this and neglect to hone their more traditional selling and relationship-building skills, they risk losing out to a competitor.

High-touch selling

Tony then went into the concept of high-touch selling. Selling, he says, should be about connecting with people. It’s should be about giving something to another person—not trying to convince them to take or buy something from you. Technology and business intelligence, like what is found on Vertical IQ, can help salespeople make their selling tactics all about the customer. 

One effective approach, Tony explained, is to choose a specific niche to target and become a specialist on that particular industry using the information available on Vertical IQ. By doing your industry research and educating yourself prior to calling on a business in that sector, you inevitably differentiate yourself from your generalist competition. Using your industry expertise, you can create more meaningful conversations. You will be able to talk with small to mid-sized business (SMB) owners about the unique challenges and opportunities facing them within their industry. 

Tony suggested RMs “think presidentially,” that is to say, like the president or CEO of a company would think. Business owners aren’t thinking about the best way to structure a loan…but they ARE thinking about the best way to manage their cash, make payroll and deal with employee turnover, improve invoicing and accounts receivable, and manage payables. By understanding the things that are going on with a person’s business, and helping them solve those issues, it deepens your relationship with that customer. And it gives you a competitive edge.

High-touch coaching

High-touch selling is often dependent on high-touch coaching, which can be a great motivator for RMs. It’s the responsibility of the sales leader to coach their RMs on how to win more business and to reach their professional and personal goals. Yet only 32 percent of sales people say they have written goals, and only 2 percent say that their manager is a good coach. Ninety percent say they don’t have a clearly defined/effective selling system.

Among the ways that sales coaches can improve, Tony advises them to have regularly scheduled coaching hours blocked on their calendars, in addition to the in-the-moment coaching that occurs throughout the week. These scheduled hours can be used for coaching to change behavior and improve skills. To keep RMs motivated, you need to understand their big, long-term goals, yes, but you also need to understand their smaller goals so you can help them have victories day in and day out. 

5 keys for sales coaches

To conclude his webinar presentation, Tony covered the five keys to becoming a better sales coach (and there is more information about this on Tony’s website).

  • Insight—Look at the data you’re collecting on your RMs and compare it to a success formula. Go on joint calls to observe your RMs in action.
  • Feedback—Provide constructive guidance to the RM based on the insights you’ve gathered. The key, however, is that they have to agree to the feedback.
  • Demonstration—RMs can learn from a good coach who models effective selling techniques.
  • Role play—Engaging in mock sales sessions is a great way for RMs to learn and practice good techniques as well.
  • Action plan—RMs should leave each coaching session with a concrete plan about how they are going to improve their performance based on your conversation with them. Be sure to close the loop by having the RM report back on their action items.

To see a full replay of this webinar, please email us.