3 Ways to Fix the Biggest Mistake Managers Make With Their Sales Teams

By Ryan Taft

Two weeks ago, Shore Consulting held our annual Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit, where sales leaders from across North America and beyond gathered to learn new techniques, adopt new processes, and acquire new tools.

​It was an honor to be able to teach how great coaches get the best out of their teams. I want to share part of that process with you now.

First, let’s all agree that no matter what your title is, you are a coach. You are responsible for your teams development, not just directing them.

​That being the case I first want to share with you the biggest mistake managers make when coaching their teams.

Managers “Tell” their teams what they need to do.

I know what you are thinking, “Uhhh…Ryan, what’s wrong with that?” Good question.

​Let’s look at Edgar Dale’s research on how adults retain information for the answer. In his famous Cone of Learning, Dales states that only 10 percent (of training content) is retained after two weeks of only hearing what to do. So if you are telling your team how to improve their skills, not much is going to change.

​So how do you increase the retention?

Dale says you need to get people actively involved in the training. In fact, if you do one of the following three things you will escalate the retention to 90 percent after two weeks:

  1. Do a dramatic presentation
  2. Simulate the real experience
  3. Do the real thing

I don’t know about you, but for me, I agree that doing any one of the three things listed above helps me to learn better. So how does this apply to you and your sales team?

1. Dramatic Presentation

I love encouraging managers to incorporate sales professionals in their meetings/rallies. Why are you doing all of the work? Ask sales professionals to teach different aspects of the selling process in your meetings/rallies. I promise that when they do this, they will perform whatever they are teaching more proficiently.

2. Simulate The Real Experience

Two words should come to mind here: ROLE PLAY. If you ever attend any of our training sessions, we are big on simulating real life scenarios. You should have your team practice specific skills continually. At Shore Consulting our favorite words are, “Do it again.

Not only should you have your sales professionals simulate the real experience, they should simulate variations of the real experience. For example, practice how to handle a mean customer, how to recover from a specific objection, or how to talk a customer off the ledge from canceling. In the words of Joyce Meyer, “Don’t get prepared…Stay prepared.”

3. Do The Real Thing 

I am not a big fan of sales professional “practicing” on customers yet there is a tremendous amount to learn from executing techniques or strategies live. The key to this one is that your sales professional has to evaluate how well they did the technique along with thoughts on how to do better the next time.

I encourage sales managers to be present (if possible) to help with that evaluation. This provides an excellent coaching environment to improve the sales professionals next encounter with a customer.

If you want your team to blow past your competition, identify the skills they need and have them practice again and again and again and again and again.

When you finish with that, do it again.

That will change their world.

If you want to take your sales team to the next level, and learn more about how to build a top selling sales team, then join me next year for the Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit 2019.

While hanging out in sunny San Diego, we will challenge your mindsets, elevate your strategies and equip you with hard-working, real-world best practices. Join my Priority Plus VIP List to not only be the first in line when tickets go on sale, but also to get the best price possible by clicking here.


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About the Author: Ryan Taft

Ryan Taft
Ryan Taft is consumed with a passion for helping others achieve breakthrough results in sales, business and life. With a career spanning two decades training and coaching sales teams from call centers to new home sales to Realtors®, Ryan combines his knowledge of human performance, psychology and sales skills development to deliver extraordinarily engaging, energizing and insightful training experiences that drive peak performance at all levels.  Learn more at jeffshore.com and follow Ryan on Twitter.