Why Sales Isn’t So Different from Coaching (And How This Realization Will Transform Your Sales Process)

by | May 30, 2011 | Business Coaching Systems

Many coaches struggle with sales. Sales feels exhausting, intimidating, even manipulative.

If I had a dollar for every time a coach told me that they LOVE coaching but HATE sales…well, I’d give Jeff Bezos a run for his money.

But what if I told you that sales is really just about helping people uncover their real, authentic needs, and find a solution to them?

Doesn’t that sound a lot like COACHING?

That’s because it is!

I’m serious!

Sales is NOT about convincing people to do things against their will. Sales is about helping people get real about their situation and helping them figure out what it will take to move from where they are to where they want to be.

As a coach, you should be coaching and building trust in every interaction…even in your sales calls.

Sales is NOT about convincing people to do things against their will. Sales is about helping people get real about their situation and helping them figure out what it will take to move from where they are to where they want to be.

Four Secrets of a Coaching-Oriented Sales Call

So how do you do it?

Here are the four secrets of a coaching-oriented sales call…along with some actual scripts you can use in your conversations with prospects!

Oh, and if you’ve ever been in touch with me or one of my certified Coaches’ Coaches, or even our appointment-setters, some of this might sound familiar. That’s because coaching is the beating heart of what we do. Even in sales situations, we show up as human beings here to help other human beings unlock their potential as coaches, and we find that when we approach any conversation with our coaching hat on,we’re able to get down to what is really going on so that we can be optimally helpful.

Try it. It will change your experience selling.

Okay, let’s dive in.

Be Human

Before you begin any sales or coaching conversation, take just a moment to check in. Ask them about how their week went. Tell them something about yours. You know, normal human talk. (Newsflash: when you get right down to it, sales isn’t all that different from normal human talk, either!)

Something like:

Hey – It’s Eric Dombach – How are you? 

Been having a good week so far?
Awesome – I was actually just ____ 

Where are you calling from? 

Great! Well – I know we got a limited amount of time, about 30 mins, so are you ready to jump in? Do you have a clean sheet of paper or something to take notes with? 

Keep the Pressure Low

The best way to maintain a coaching posture in sales calls is to frame the conversation as a helpful, solutions-oriented exploration that you’re taking together–NOT a high-pressure, hard sales experience.

It also really helps if you genuinely believe it.

Approach the conversation as if it really is open-ended–you might decide not to work together, and that’s okay!–diffuse sales pressure on both ends, so that you can have a real, authentic conversation. (This is what trust-based sales expert Ari Galper calls “unlocking the game.”)

Try something like this:

What I’ve found to work best on these calls is first diving a bit deeper into why you’re looking to grow your business, how that’s working right now, and what you feel are the specific challenges keeping you from moving forward.

Now once we get some clarity there, and if we can help you, I’m more than happy to walk you through what we’ve got going on over here. If not, we can figure out what else may help you better. I might refer you out to someone we know, or give you some homework to work on in the meantime, whatever you need.

How does that sound? 

Check Their Temperature

At various points throughout the conversation, check in with them to see how they’re experiencing it. If you sense any uncertainty at all, stop. Don’t plow ahead. Meet them where they are, just as you would in any coaching situation.

Try something like:

I hear ya and just to be totally clear… what’s really important to me is ALIGNMENT – when you come in and work with us, we’re rolling up the sleeves and getting in the trenches with you on this thing. I mean our team is ALL IN – so it’s really important to us that you feel GOOD about our partnership, know what I mean?

So just to be 100% clear.. On a scale of 1-10, 1 being “this guy’s a waste of my time” and 10 being “I’m all in right now, how can I get started?”, where do you feel like you fall exactly? 

Ask the Hard Questions

By now you’ve hopefully done enough to build genuine trust with your prospect–again, by being genuinely trustworthy!

But when your prospect isn’t totally bought in, it’s time to do what coaches do best: ask the hard questions. Avoiding them doesn’t actually help either of you.

Say something like this:

Gotcha, and I appreciate you being honest about that. Just curious, what do you think is keeping you from being, say, an 8, 9, or 10?

Now can I be honest with you for a second? You told me you needed to fix _______ but it seems as if you’re not totally certain about the coaching process. So, can you be honest with me? What’s really going on?

In the end, the authentic conversation you have might end with you deciding to part ways. But you’ll have helped your prospect make the decision for the right reasons–which is what coaching is really all about.

In many instances, though, the best thing for your prospect is to become your client–and your patient and effective coaching through the sales process will be the very thing that helps them see that!

Love this content? Get more training and resources like this inside our membership portal–including our full sales system!

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