Sales

Leaders: How to Coach an Employee Out of a Slump

If you don’t run a car dealership… what a great time of year fall is! The time of year when parents are knee deep in their children’s school activities, and their kids 1st quarter grades. Sports fans are focused on baseball playoffs, and football season is picking up. The weather starts shifting from hot and humid to cool and windy. The night starts coming earlier and earlier causing people to hunker down in their homes earlier each day. On top of all that, throw in some holidays to take minds off of car shopping. All of this adds up to a fairly large probability you may have some salespeople or stores in a sales slump.

This article isn’t about giving your team excuses to be in a slump. The goal is to help you realize this problem.To inspire you to help each employee break free of the ill-fated downturn with performance coaching. Let’s get our team members mind out of the gutter and refocus their intentions on sales success using the DriveCoaching D.R.I.V.E.C3 coaching framework.

If your first instinct is to sit the employee down and berate them about not selling enough units, ignore this. If your kinder gentler approach is to tell them what you do to get out of a slump, turn away. Instead, we must understand their mindset, prior to offering any help. We do this in step 1. We need to let them know WHY we are asking them these questions. We MUST ensure our team member is open to the discussion.

Step 1: Discovery

Discover what they want to achieve regarding sales this month. Discover where their head is at. Discover the coaching opportunity. Discover if they even want your support.

A statement to recruit them to discovery:

I want to ensure you get what you want out of your career this month.

A few questions you could ask to help you discover how to recruit your employees to their cause:

What are you trying to achieve this month?

Are you on pace to accomplish what you want for the month regarding sales?

If the rest of the month finishes the way it has started out, will you be content with your numbers?

Is now a good time to sit down together and ensure you get what you want out of your business this month?

Step 2: Recruit

Help them understand what they get out of the deal. Create buy-in with a recruitment statement. After hearing what you want to accomplish this month, and looking in the CRM I see there are activities, opportunities, and possibilities we could create that would help you achieve the goals you want most.

Step 3: Inquire

Find out what they have already done. What they are doing now. What they plan on doing. Mission: Find the missing piece of the puzzle.

Why have you dialed back your daily sales activities? (looking into the CRM metrics)

Walk me through your daily routine, let’s try to uncover some opportunities.

What have you already tried this month?

Where is the biggest opportunity to increase your business for the remainder of the month?

Comparing this to your best month in the car business, what is different about it? What are you doing differently to account for the change?

Step 4: Verify

Verify it’s time for you to add value. You have found a hole in their actions, activities, or plan through inquiry: and now it’s time to make sure you add value through a story, statistic or new possibility.

After asking them enough questions to ensure you see the big picture, you should now know where you can add value to the coaching session.

Do it with a statement or question such as:

I think I see a few things that are getting in the way of what you want this month, and I have a story that may shed light on it. Is there anything else I should know about what you are saying or do you want to hear the story now?

Step 5: Educate

Now it’s time to educate your team member. We can share information that they were aware of. A story that is relevant to their situation. Stats or metrics that could provide inspiration. “What if” scenarios that allow them to think outside the box.

Remember…

What would be possible if you had tried X, Y or Z in addition to your current plan?

Another manager was in the same predicament as you.  Here is what she did to overcome the challenge…

What would it mean to you, if you could still accomplish that objective by you starting today? Based on what you told me, I would like to share some potential blind spots you have around this topic…

Step 6: Co-Create and Action Plan

Too often as leaders we tell people what to do. The problem here is that there isn’t buy in if it’s our plan. In addition, can they do it? Will they do it? Don’t tell them what to do. You have given them alternative viewpoints and perspective around their challenge. You have helped them discover new outcomes they hadn’t considered. Now it’s time to find out from them, what THEY are willing to do. Work with them to help them build the solution. They will take full ownership of their plan and commit to it. By having them create it, this helps ensure execution.

Here are some examples of questions you can use:

What are you willing to do differently, starting today?

It sounds like you have gained some key insights here, what is your plan moving forward?

Are you willing to create a plan with me to ensure you have the best chance for success?

Step 7: Care For The Plan

Being a coach doesn’t end with telling someone what to do, or helping them create a plan. “Trainers” take note of this please, a real coach helps the “coachee” by caring for the plan with them long term. Anyone can train someone on something. This isn’t necessarily supportive and without accountability and measurement, does anything change? As a coach, we need to ensure the forward momentum moves our employee out of their slump. What is the best way to care for their plan?

Ask them:

What can I do to help you ensure this becomes reality?

How would I support you around this in a perfect world?

What would it mean for you if I followed up with you to make sure this happens? How do you want me to do that?

Step 8: Confirm The Value of Coaching

Coaching is extremely rewarding, especially when making a positive difference in the life of someone who is going through a tough time at work. This is where you get to relish in the confidence you have instilled and the amazing coaching you just gave! Simultaneously, this ensures you have actually helped them. Make sure you covered what they wanted to be coach on. Then schedule the next coaching session. Just like going to the gym, coaching can make a massive difference if done regularly.

Here are a couple examples for you:

Did you see a ton of value in our discussion today? Great, why don’t we get a time on the calendar now for next week to continue the momentum?

Where is your head at now as opposed to 30 minutes ago? That’s great to hear, I am happy to do this again in a couple weeks if you want this same type of growth.

Now that you have a very simple coaching system to leverage, take advantage of this gift. Find out who is in a slump and coach them out of it! Dealerships that  DriveCoaching has worked with have seen large increases in profit, market share, lower turnover, and higher customer satisfaction, even in down markets.

If you are interested in accomplishing the same results, message Sean Kelley here on Driving Sales or email me at Sean@DriveCentric.com. You may also visit our website at www.DriveCoaching.us.

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