My 27 years of business experience revolved around helping organizations increase turnover by generating sales income. As an extrovert, aggressive, and vocal person, I am always eager to provide a solution, believing this is what the customer desires.

When the opportunity presented itself to learn about coaching, I jumped at the opportunity with the intent to improve as a sales leader. I thought it was easy and I would never have imagined it would go beyond the process and steps. It goes deeper into self-reflection about who I am, and my true purpose, and this coaching have transformed me into a better salesperson and leader.

“Coaching in Sales is about the other people, but it starts within me to understand them via trust and relationship building to a recognised problem with mutually agreed-upon goals to get measurable improvement as an outcome.”

In commercials, instead of focusing on getting sales incentives, I am now more conscious of the goal of helping customers solve their organization’s problems to maximize performance improvement. It also assists them in achieving their professional and personal goals, which is a blessing.

How does coaching influence sales conversations, and how do I act as a coach to both customers and my sales team to increase winning in sales?

STAGE 1: Create Differentiation

This requires that I listen attentively and ask the right questions with an inner world of consciousness within me to make a difference. The customer wants to see the unique selling advantage that makes us stand out, otherwise, we are regarded as commodities without qualitative differentiation. This requires an open conversation to find a mutual answer through a relationship of trust.

Now, rather than moving to the solution and trying to sell the product in the early stages, I start by making connections to increase their awareness and understanding.

Powerful questions:

  • What is a specific problem you want us to deal with?
  • Why is the problem happening?
  • What is your goal? Why does it matter?
  • What is the importance of the outcome?

I now concentrate more on what is being said and I dive into their response and the emotion that comes with it.

STAGE 2: Gaining the insight of customer

This stage requires guts to challenge customers to what they really want that lead to the most desired outcome. I’m used to doing just what customers ask for without trying to figure out whether it’s a need, want, or nice to have, and the impact on their organization. Customers are looking for measurable improvements.   To make them feel heard and understood, I will ask questions with curiosity to diagnose their real problem, desires, and blockers before exploring answer and solution.

This is also intended to increase customer awareness to make them less price-sensitive and more focused on improving outcomes.  I am now practicing coaching conversation with open-ended questions:

Powerful Questions:

  • What is the most important outcome you would like to see as the result of your investment?
  • Why is this important, and to whom is it important?
  • When and for how long do you want the result with payback?
  • Who are the others you need for support?

STAGE 3: Motivation to buy

Using customer’s business goal plan to demonstrate profit and business performance outcomes with continuous tracking. This will lead to the final decision-makers’ approval for an investment as a deal breaker.

Powerful questions:

  • What is likely the issue your organization faces that could prevent the goal’s achievement?
    • What are the roadblocks in progressing to the desired outcome?
    • How committed is the team to ensuring success with the new method and solution?
    • What needs to change to make it successful?

New Learnings

  • Before coaching others, I must first develop a mindset that includes understanding and accepting myself as the most important step toward the change I desire to see.
  • I must listen with all five of my senses—ears, eyes, heart, and head. That’s a valued relationship with them.
  • As a leader, I now coach my team towards guidance with intuitive conversation rather than pushing to hit performance goals. 

It is still a journey for me to keep practicing within my current organization and use this knowledge and skill to coach and support my team and customer.

Written by Fauziah Abdullah, a Certified Professional Coach (CPC) graduate

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