Have Effective 1-on-1’s for Sales Success

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This is part two of our three-part series dedicated to sales enablement, sales training and sales culture. Our guest author is Niraj Kapur of Everybody Works In Sales.


What are your numbers?
What is closing this week?
What’s in the pipeline.

That’s not how you should start work at 9 am on a Monday. Not in 2021.

To clarify, I believe sales is the foundation of every business and it’s vital to be selling and prospecting every day. Without this function, you will be in trouble.

I observe all kinds of behavior from sales leadership all the way down from the CRO, VP of Sales, sales directors, sales managers, and even sales reps. Some of this behavior is inspiring. In most cases, it’s aggressive and downright embarrassing and concerning.

So many sales managers were top-performing salespeople. They wanted a pay raise and ego recognition so they were promoted to sales manager.

Being a great sales manager and being great at generating revenue are different skills.

Most sales leaders are not trained to be managers, just like most salespeople are not given enough sales training.

The importance of regular sales training and sales coaching is an ebook worth of material, so let’s focus on why is having 1:1 meetings with your team members is so vital?

There’s a wonderful saying often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

  1. Ask your colleague how they are and listen. Don’t ask casually like you do in a supermarket or in a coffee shop. Show genuine interest. Ask follow up questions, ask for details, ask about how it feels? (Just like a sales call) As a sales manager, you don’t need to know every intimate detail of a colleague’s life. You can, however, show you care about their whole being, not just their sales number. If they have a dog, you need to know its name. If they have children, know their names. If they have a partner, know their name, if a family member is ill, ask how they are keeping? 
  2. Ask about their mental health. Remember, mental health is different from mental illness. Mental health is just like phsyical health. We do things to keep our body healthy, we should do and encourage things to keep our mind healthy. According to research, 1 out of 3 people have suffered depression or mental health challenges. During the last year of lockdown, 2 out of 3 people have suffered loneliness, depression, or a challenge with their mental health. Bad mental health will affect sales and hitting targets. Recommend lunchtime breaks from technology. Several Zoom meetings back to back are not healthy. Meditating 15 minutes a day can do wonders. Even a good “walk and talk”. If the call doesn’t require a video. Take it on the road and simply walk around a bit, even inside is ok for a “walk and talk”.
  3. What further sales training or sales coaching do they need that you could help with? If they don’t know, then arrange a time to listen to their sales calls and do supportive sales coaching. Not “do this and do that.” That’s not sales coaching, it’s dictating. Listen. Support. Advise.
  4. How can I help support you this week? Pause for 5-10 seconds after asking this. Longer if needed. It goes back to Abraham Lincoln’s quote.
  5. Address their concerns and anxieties. While many people are returning to offices, others are not ready. Fear of what can be caught on public transport, offices, and with clients cannot be underestimated. We can now have networking events face to face, an important way of doing business, yet many events are staying virtual. So many people are not ready for face-to-face meetings yet. It’s important for them to know you have their back and their concerns are valid, very real, fair to have, and frankly pretty normal.
  6. What do you want to achieve this week that will make you happy? Naturally, some of this should crossover with their targets.
  7. Then you talk numbers and what deals are closing this week. If a client says no, barking out “try again” is not a solution. Closing deals is a problem because most salespeople can’t open deals. What research are they doing? What questions are being asked? What insight is being shared? Are they recapping? Are they pausing after the price is mentioned? This is your opportunity to coaching and support.

It’s like Brian Tracy said, “Imagine everyone has a sign around their neck saying, ‘Make Me Feel Important.’”

Will certain sales team members take advantage of your good nature or make excuses? 100% yes.

The good sales team members will perform even better and make you look as good as a rock star.

When your sales team wins, everybody wins.  

If you’re interested in hearing more about sales coaching and sales enablement, check out my conversation with Ashley Zagst, Galem Girmay, Richard Harris, and Scott Leese on the Surf and Sales Bonfire Session on-demand webinar, 3 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Sales Coaching Culture.


About The Author: Recently named a Salesforce 16 Sales Influencer To Follow Right Now, Niraj is a trusted sales coach, LinkedIn trainer, and author of the Amazon bestsellers, Everybody Works in Sales and The Easy Guide to Sales for Business Owners. You can follow his content on LinkedIn here.

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