January 10, 2010
Riding Shotgun = Sales Coaching
Many of you have already had the same thought as I have; "shouldn't he be paying attention?"
If you have gone through this process with a teenager, you know the answer is clearly 'no'. I'm learning as the father of a 17-year-old; to give space, observe, and only take action to avoid potential tragedy; and I’m not just referring to the driving.
Come to think of it, this challenge is similar to coaching fledgling sales professionals; when you have been doing something for so long that its second nature, it’s hard to not comment on every small infraction.
Today I am trying to take my own medicine. Prior to this drive, I asked my daughter to:
- Pick a clear destination,
- Understand the directions,
- Review the various roads which we will travel, and,
- If she has questions about challenges we may find along the way; to make sure that we discuss ahead of time.
So here we are barreling down I-95 South. Sure, there have been a few hiccups, yes, I would rather her not actually turn the car into oncoming traffic, yes, it would have been nice to give the poor old man out walking his dog a few more inches, or possibly things may improve when she understands the that “Yield” does not mean “stop completely”...
But that is why I sit here, texting this blog; peripheral vision in overdrive, heart rate pegged, and palms so sweaty I can barely type.
I am doing my best to promote a healthy learning environment, without saying it, letting her know that I have confidence in her, to not over coach, so that ironically she can relax.
Will I point out later that “Speed Pass Lane” is not for literal interpretation? Of course I will. But I will do that at the right time, not in the middle of “the deal”, not when she needs me most.
Like my daughter, the budding sales pro needs similar guidance:
- To explain the value of establishing a clear destination,
- Assistance in building a roadmap to keep them focused,
- The teaching of required sales skills, and most importantly,
- The leadership to build the confidence required to drive revenue in these toughest of times.
When sales coaching, remember to ride shotgun, not drive.
-- Tom Scontras, VP Sales & Marketing