Coaching your salespeople is never successful with cookie cutter techniques. Yes, you can ask an array of standard questions for each person, but the interaction and the way you go about connecting effectively with your people is directly related to their personality style. Your goal as the manager should be to build trust, open communication and provide the right kind of details based on their style. That is one critical way to help your people achieve the results everyone seeks. Let’s look at how you approach each person based on their style.
But first, remember that using and understanding personality styles is a foundation for relationship selling, and relationships in general.
The high-Blue salesperson is relationship-driven. Each opportunity is built on trust and credibility. Blues are patient and typically not in a rush to close the sale. Why? Because it might offend the customer. They believe the customer will close when they’re ready. Blues are great at communication. They are open and transparent and sell themselves before the company or the solution. Blues are in it for the long-term.
When you are coaching your Blue salesperson, you need to get them to open up. Start with small talk. Ask them what is going well. Thank them for their contribution to the team. Pressuring a Blue does not work well. There’s a good chance they will go silent. Conflict doesn’t work well either. Get them talking, thank them for what’s working well, and then offer your insights and suggestions. Keep your communication ongoing with your Blues as much as possible. Blues like to know where they stand. They are your most loyal when they trust you.
The high-Gold salesperson is good at selling your company, its products and services and the benefits in financial terms. Golds are decisive and are good planners. Their strength is giving organized and polished presentations. They have no problem asking customers for their commitment and are focused on their results. Golds are loyal to the organization and the company they work for.
With the Gold salesperson you need a completely different approach to coaching. Golds want you to be direct and get to the points you are trying to make. Golds want concise and regular feedback. Golds like structure and like coaching to be a specific format each time conducted. With the Gold get right to the points you want to make. Praise them for their planning, organization and their decision making. Golds can be rigid, so flexibility is where they can improve. Always schedule a follow-up meeting after coaching your Golds.
The high-Green salesperson is great with the details of your products and services. Their strength is solving problems and coming up with the right solution. Greens are innovative and futuristic. They will look at a variety of customer options since they take pride in their expertise. Greens are calm with customers and will not push a customer into a position they do not desire.
When you coach the Green salesperson, compliment their knowledge and expertise. Be prepared with details to justify your opinions on where they can improve. Greens can be skeptical and will play the devil’s advocate. Greens also like to a follow process and have no problem engaging with a CRM system. They are great at digging into the details on how the system can be an advantage to their sales efforts. Perhaps you can ask them to help other sellers in the organization in taking advantage of such a system.
Your high-Orange personality focuses on winning. They will keep their eye on beating the competition. Oranges are big picture oriented and typically get distracted by too many details. They will share with the customer the immediate results of the solution and the benefits they can reap. Oranges are high energy, optimistic and enthusiastic. Orange people tend to move fast and have no problem asking the customer for the order. Of course, this can also be a disadvantage if the customer is a Blue or a Green.
When you coach your Orange salesperson, start with recognizing their achievements. Since they’re competitive, they like to keep track of how they’re doing. They typically will put pressure on themselves to meet their goals. You don’t want to threaten an Orange or they will react negatively. Be direct about where they can improve and remind them of the rewards. Oranges can be disorganized and may not have all of the details for a meeting. They tend to think on their feet. Remind the Orange to follow through, be on time, and probably most importantly, to improve on listening to the answers when asking questions. Help your Orange sellers see how their tendency to dominate conversations with customers can backfire.
We have found that the best sales team is one with all four personality styles. Having that diversity can help each team member leverage the strengths of each other and get a fresh perspective. One client I worked with in the financial services industry had two salespeople working with each client. This way they got two different customer perspectives and two different approaches to working with the customer.
The goal of coaching your salespeople is to improve their skills and their value to the company over time. A happy sales department will reduce turnover, resulting in higher sales and profits.
The goal of the sales manager is to have a successful sales team that delivers great results. This is much easier when the sales leaders put their salespeople first.
Good luck with your relationship selling!