What Sales Coaches Can Learn from Baseball Coaches Part Four


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In The Journey to Sales Transformation, crafty old messenger Benjamin Delaney directs Chief Sales Officer Phillip Evan Hawthorne’s sales transformation journey. Ben reveals truths of becoming a trusted advisor and partner to his customers through observations and stories. In this fourth of a series of excerpts Ben is continues to discuss how sales coaches identify gaps in seller behavior as the root cause for a sales rep’s failure to meet sales goals and targets.

a continuation What Sales Coaches Can Learn from Baseball Coaches Part One, Part Two , and Part Three

“So goals have been set and gaps identified, Phil. The next thing a good coach has to do is to figure out what caused the failure. Was the player not committed to bunting? Did he not know how to position his feet after the pitch or hold the bat? Or did he know what he was supposed to do but hadn’t practiced the skill enough to pull it off? Those are the questions a good coach has to answer. To fix the problem, he’s got to know what caused it.”

“So let me see if I get this,” Phillip said, continuing to write as fast as he could. “It sounds like you’re saying there are three reasons someone could fail: commitment, knowledge, or skill. Is that right?”

“No, Phil, there are actually five, but the other two probably wouldn’t apply to this bunter,” Ben said as he nodded toward the bench. “The environment could have come into play, but I don’t think the sun got in the batter’s eyes. Or another possible reason for failure is capacity. Let’s say the boy wasn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed and could never understand bunting, or he didn’t have the physical strength to lift a bat. The lack of capacity could also cause someone to fail.”

“So it’s environment, capacity, commitment, knowledge, and skills, correct?” Phillip asked while checking his notes.

“Exactly, Phil. Those are all of the root causes for failure. As a manager, you have an obligation to work on removing or mitigating environmental problems, and hopefully you are hiring people who have the capacity to do their jobs. So you’re really working with commitment, knowledge, and skills,” Ben said as he pointed to each of those words on Phillip’s notepad. “Those are root causes you can really help someone with.”

“Excellent, Ben. So I’ve got setting goals, finding gaps in behavior, and figuring out the cause of the gap. What’s next?” Phillip asked as he raised his pen.

Excerpt from ‘The Journey to Sales Transformation: 25 AXIOMS for becoming a trusted partner to your customers.’ Available at AMAZON.com.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Bob Nicols
Bob Nicols serves as Founder and CEO of AXIOM. He has 34 years of experience in sales, sales management, executive management and sales force development. He has managed and mentored thousands of sales people, sales managers and senior managers and been responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. For more than 21 years he has developed and delivered sales programs that have become the standard for many Fortune 100 companies including AT&T, BellSouth, Disney Enterprises, Alltel, Verizon and ESPN.


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