Coaching approaches in the digital sales age

With the onset of the pandemic, a lot has changed for field workers. One of these is that communication with the customer can be maintained almost exclusively via the telephone or online conference systems in times of home offices.

On the one hand, the digital way of communication restricts establishing or maintaining a relationship with the customer. On the other hand, it offers opportunities for innovation (in addition to the cost and time-saving factor). An excellent example of this is using online coaching to work on one’s own sales skills.

Whether in digital or face-to-face customer contact; among the most critical operational sales competencies are the skills:

  • Asking questions
  • use the steps of a sales conversation
  • Understand customer needs and
  • to be able to create added value from this for both sides

Get feedback

Digital sales appointments, such as sales presentations or sales meetings and negotiations, are excellent for getting feedback. As feedback giver, you can use an external coach, colleague or supervisor who dials into the appointment with the click of a mouse and pays attention to the following:

  • Do they listen actively and summarise what they have heard in their own words?
  • Are probing questions asked?
  • How are objections handled?
  • Are you perhaps too focused on your solution and no longer listening sufficiently to the other person?
  • Is visualisation sufficient? Pictures often say more than many words.

What you should pay attention to

For their part, suppose sales managers want to further develop operational sales competences in their team in this way. In that case, they can do this themselves or, if this is not possible, they can rely on experienced coaches to support them and, for example, also identify further training needs.

For this measure to be helpful, clarify in advance:

  • Have an agreement between coach and coachee about the procedure (no ad hoc action. “I’m listening to you now”).
  • Voluntariness and the willingness of the coachee to accept feedback
  • Confidence of the coachee in the coach and his/her abilities
  • They are informing the client about online coaching. The client should have the possibility to consent to the online coaching in this specific conversation situation or should be able to refuse the accompaniment of their conversation partner by a coach. It could work similarly to the client’s telephone confirmation on service hotlines to record the conversation for quality assurance purposes).

If these points are ensured, “coached” online sales meetings offer an ideal and handy setting to get feedback from an observer and further develop their own sales competencies.