Why the best sales coaches will push you & how to respond
“Damn, my sales manager’s been on my case like crazy lately. I’ve been hitting my quotas every single month and they’re still pushing and pushing. What gives? And how do I get them to ease up on me?”
Sound like something you’ve said (or thought to yourself) before?
Put yourself in your sales manager’s shoes for a minute.
Now imagine that your entire sales team is so talented and confident that they hit their quotas midway through the month—every month.
Sounds like a dream, right?
That’s what your manager is working towards. That’s what they want to see—not just for themselves and the company, but also for the entire sales team. When the sales team is in a groove and bringing in great results, it’s a win for everyone.
And that’s why they’re pushing you to keep getting better.
Now step back into your own shoes.
If you have a sales manager or a sales mentor who’s willing to offer their time to help you grow, don’t sit back and roll your eyes when they ask you to work hard.
They’re in the position you want to get to. Instead of just assuming you know the way and their suggestions aren’t good enough for you—actually listen.
In this post, I’m going to break down four reasons why great sales coaches are going to push you, and share the best ways for you to respond.
Let’s get to it.
Good coaches want to see you reach your potential
If you’re still early in your sales career, I have some news for you:
You’re not the best salesperson on planet earth (yet).
You might have the drive to be the best. You might have natural sales skills. You might even have a few big closed deals under your belt that helped your company grow.
To put it simply, you might have the potential to become one of the best salespeople in your industry, or any industry.
But right now, it’s just that—potential.
Great sales coaches want to help you grow. They want you to reach the potential you have for your sales career.
If your sales manager sees that potential in you and they’re willing to offer coaching and advice, the best thing you can do is take it.
How to respond:
Listen to their advice, act on it and report back to them.
I know it sounds straightforward and obvious—that’s because it is. If you’re coaching someone and they constantly ignore your suggestions and advice, eventually you’re going to stop wasting your time. Simple as that. I wrote about this in-depth in my blog post on building relationships with influential people.
Put your ego aside, listen to what they’re suggesting, test it out, then be prepared to talk about the results next time you chat.
Good coaches won’t accept bad excuses
If your sales manager or coach is expecting you to get something done and you don’t—without reaching out before the deadline to talk about the situation if you’re seeing red flags—then you dropped the ball.
There are very few excuses you can use to justify missing a deadline without flagging it beforehand.
I decided to prioritize a different account/project this month.
Tell them about it, and explain why before the deadline passes. Don’t just run full speed ahead and try to explain yourself after the fact.
I forgot to write down the deadline/details of the project.
That’s on you. Great sales coaches won’t have any sympathy for you. Be better.
The leads were bad this month—that’s why I couldn’t close them.
Be proactive. If the quality of your MQLs or SQLs is low, talk to the marketing team or the person who’s initiating conversations with your leads. Try to learn more about the leads in particular and the process for qualifying them. Just complaining at the end of the day that the leads suck isn’t going to do a thing.
Great sales coaches aren’t going to accept these cop-out excuses for why you dropped the ball and didn’t achieve what you were expected to.
What can you do to avoid those awkward and frustrating conversations?
How to respond:
Leave your excuses at the front door.
When crunchtime hits and you can either put in the extra work to get the results you promised or come up with an excuse for why you didn’t make it—always put in the work. Always.
Nobody wants your excuses, plain and simple.
If you messed up and didn’t do what you said you would, that’s on you. Don’t try to shift the blame elsewhere. The best sales coaches aren’t going to just smile and say, “We’ll get ‘em next time”—they’re going to demand better.
Walk away from the bad excuses.
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Good coaches will demand results
When you’re working with a great sales coach, their ultimate goal is to help you achieve whatever future goals you set for yourself.
One of the biggest steps along the way?
Actually delivering results.
And I mean the type of results that jump off a dashboard and wow the rest of the sales team (and leadership team).
They want to see you sitting right here at the end of the month:
So when they tell you sitting in second place or being “just about on track” toward hitting your expected sales quotas isn’t good enough, here’s my recommendation:
How to respond:
Go above and beyond to get the results they’re pushing for.
If that means sacrificing some personal time in the evening or on the weekend, I’ll leave that decision with you to make.
For me, if the decision is (1) come up short of my targets so I can watch football on Sunday or (2) skip the football to hit my sales targets—I’m going with option one all day.
Good coaches will push you further
It’s easy to get comfortable.
Comfortable with the work you’re doing today. Comfortable with the numbers you’re bringing in. Comfortable with your output and work ethic. Comfortable with the career path you’re on.
The best sales coaches won’t let you settle for comfortable.
They’re going to push you beyond what you think you’re capable of accomplishing right now. And that’s where the real growth happens.
Let me share a quick example:
Your sales manager gets an invite to speak at a conference about your industry. It’s a fairly large conference, and a good portion of the audience will be your ideal customers.
They say no—and put your name forward instead.
You’ve never spoken at an event like this before, but it’s a huge opportunity to grow your on-stage skills, build your reputation in the industry and connect with potential prospects.
What do you do?
How to respond:
Actually step out of your comfort zone.
Do the conference.
Prepare for it and crush it.
True progress and career growth happens when you decide to step outside your routine to try something new. The day-to-day work you’re doing won’t get you any further than where you are right now.
When your sales coach challenges you to do something you’re not comfortable with, face that challenge head on—don’t make up an excuse or convince yourself it’s not possible.
Great coaches want you to succeed. They’re not pushing you just for the heck of it or to make themselves feel any better. They’re doing it for you.
Here’s the big takeaway: The best sales coaches…
- Want to see you fulfill your potential
- Won’t accept your B.S. excuses
- Will demand great results from you—beyond basic expectations
- Will push you outside your comfort zone
So next time your sales manager or sales mentor is pushing you to keep working harder and striving for even more output, don’t roll your eyes and complain—take their advice in stride and put in the work.
If you're looking to build and scale a winning sales team and process, I recommend downloading my book, The 2020 Startup Sales Playbook. It's available free!