Are You Coaching Professional Development?

As any experienced sales manager knows, professional development is essential to a salesperson’s growth and effectiveness. The professional development that salespeople demonstrate with others often affects their clients’ willingness and desire to refer them. Yet sales coaches often don’t include professional development in their sales coaching conversations with their salespeople.

With this in mind, consider adding a discussion about what each of your salespeople does for their professional development followed by an exploration of what they can ask, say or do to demonstrate they have gained the knowledge and skill from their professional development.

Most organizations spend more time focused on the knowledge development of their people than on the skill development of their people.  Be aware of these two components in your professional development coaching of your salespeople. And put the emphasis on skill development as this will give your team the best results.

Step 1 – Set Learning Goals to Acquire Sales Knowledge

Brainstorm with each of your salespeople what they can do to increase their knowledge.  These areas of knowledge can be selected based on knowledge gaps that are discovered during coaching.

Explore the kind of learning your salespeople will do. Discuss the type of professional or industry journals/magazines they could read, what newsletters they might subscribe to, the books they could read, the videos the could watch, which LinkedIn groups they could join, or which courses they could take.

Step 2 – Plan How to Use the Sales Knowledge

Then the next step is to help your team members with what they are going to do with the information they glean. This is to help them develop their skills of applying the knowledge.

Discuss with your salespeople how they can the leverage the information to help clients. Explore how they might position the information in a conversation with a client. Have them determine what issues a client might have that would find the information helpful.

By engaging your team with what to do with the information they gain from their professional development, you help them determine how to share the information in a way that is an advantage to and has value for clients. You will help them avoid being information robots and time wasters with clients.