This month’s Ask A Sales Leader is Preston Foreman. Preston is the Regional Sales Manager for Pioneer Steel Corporation. He also has experience as a sales trainer and shares multiple perspectives from the different roles in sales.
1. Describe how your customer facing teams use your organization’s sales process.
• The team uses the sales process in three different ways: Opening / Background questions, Value proposition (added services beyond materials), Closing and follow through.
2. What is your Management’s approach to Coaching sales reps?
• I approach coaching in a mentor role as opposed to a subordinate / Manager role. I make sure my team feels we are all in this together. I ask what ideas they have first then analyze those ideas and add my own experience and expertise to make a custom fit coaching session to that individual Rep. It is important the Rep. does not feel like they are being “told” what to do. Having a stake in the coaching process gives them ownership and motivation to try the new approach.
3. How do you reinforce sales skill development for sales reps?
• The best way for me to reinforce sales skill development is to stay involved and be a mentor. The “sandwich” approach is what I use. First, it starts out with positive comments and telling what they did right, second, identify areas of growth and changes that need to be made. The second part is critical as it must be specific to what did not work. Generalized comments are NOT effective. Third, end on a positive note and make a new plan moving forward then a follow up of how the new plan worked. This is a constant cycle that must be continued so the Rep. knows management is involved and cares about their development as a salesperson.
4. What advice would you give to other sales leaders ?
• The best advice that I can give is to make sure the team feels PART of the process and not just subordinates to carry out orders. The role of a Manager is to motivate, inspire, and develop. Being a Manager is not about the Manager. It’s about the team and individual development. Listening is key as well. Some of the best sales ideas I have received are from new Reps.