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Jeni Wehrmeyer

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Sales Coaching DNA: A Critical Component to Achieving Sales Team Excellence

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Apr 26, 2024

DNA is a molecule called deoxyribonucleic acid, which contains the biological instructions that make each species unique.  So, what makes up the very unique and coveted Sales DNA?  Is there a genetic code for successful sales managers and if so, wouldn’t every company like to crack that code?

According to Objective Management Group, the pioneer and leader in sales evaluations, there are 5 Sales DNA Competencies that determine the degree of success for every salesperson and manager. It is a rare occurrence that a non-salesperson is hired into a sales coaching or management role and therefore, a sales leader always brings into their management role their own set of sales DNA based on past experiences. These habits can be supportive in many cases as they have led to their sales success. However, the role of coach is to teach and develop others to sell, which is a very different set of daily activities and sometimes, their learned behaviors are not conducive to achieving sales team success, through others.

The Sales DNA Competencies measure a sales manager's beliefs and actions that support or limit success in sales management. Sales managers are often unaware of how their biases can negatively impact their coaching of their sales team. Here is a breakdown of the 5 core Sales DNA competencies as they relate to success in selling and coaching:

  • Doesn’t Need Approval: As a salesperson, this means a salesperson is able to ask tough questions and challenge their customers to earn their respect. Similarly, as a sales coach, the manager will be able to probe and ask tough questions of the salesperson about their sales process to help them uncover choke points and improve skills. Successful coaches are not worried about being liked as they know that taking someone out of their comfort zone is often where the learning happens. This happens to be one of the toughest areas for a new sales coach to overcome. Most people do want to be liked but in the role of leader, it can get in the way of being truthful, driving skill improvement and earning the respect of the sales team.
  • Stays in the Moment: A successful salesperson is able to remain objective and actively listen to their prospects and customers. They are not thinking forward as to what they will say in response but are listening intently to learn so that they can ask further questions and probe deeper. A sales leader who is ineffective at staying in the moment may not listen well, jump to conclusions and fall back on their own selling approach, telling the salesperson what to do. To be successful at building sales team excellence, a coach must really listen, ask probing questions of their salespeople to help uncover areas in the sales process they may be missing or need coaching. To some degree, they are helping a salesperson self-discover what needs to improve, based on their questions.
  • Supportive Beliefs: Strong salespeople feel empowered to take positive action without being sabotaged by negative sales-specific self-talk. What is in the head often affects actions and behaviors. Certainly, an effective sales leader must have a strong self-image and believe they have the skills to impact the success of their sales team. And they must have supportive sales beliefs too. These beliefs in a coaching role must reflect the importance of teaching and coaching an effective sales process, helping their salespeople understand the buyer’s journey and how to help move prospects from awareness to information gathering to decision-making. Supportive beliefs may well be one of the primary reasons a successful salesperson is promoted into a coaching role. They believe they can and so they do succeed.
  • Supportive Buy Cycle: This means a salesperson has the ability to push back over price objections, competition, and indecision. They do not allow their own buying approach and habits to keep them from asking tough questions of prospects. Similarly, a sales coach will help their salespeople understand how their own buy cycle; how they purchase, may be getting in the way of how they sell and react to their prospects. All people have a buy cycle but truly successful salespeople and leaders are able to separate their own habits from those of their prospects, enabling them to address price objections and delays, instead of inwardly understanding and accepting those reactions.
  • Comfortable Discussing Money: Elite salespeople, or the top 7%, have learned how to lean into discussions about budget and find funding that isn't readily available. In life, talking about money issues is often considered impolite and a salesperson must overcome this reluctance that has been inbred. In a sales role, price objections are inevitable and instead of being taken aback, successful salesperson learn to anticipate and even flush them out. They are able to focus on demonstrating the unique value their product or service provides and how it solves the prospect’s problems or improves their lives in ways a competitor cannot. Imagine the importance of the sales manager’s comfort discussing money in their role as coach. If they are unable to role play, address budget and demonstrate to their salespeople the importance of discussing money, their salespeople will not become proficient in this critical area.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, sales training tips, sales tech

Required for Sales Success Today – A Strong Sales Technology Competency

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Apr 19, 2024

Technology is transforming businesses and disrupting entire industries, including the world of selling, which has traditionally been categorized as primarily a “people business”. From prospecting to closing, today’s mobile, social, big data, and cloud technologies are revamping the sales process in ways that would have been inconceivable a few decades ago. As a result, top companies and their salespeople are embracing new technologies to drive productivity, profitability, and gain a competitive advantage in the market.

As defined by our sales evaluation partner, Objective Management Group, the Sales Technology Competency measures an individual's ability to successfully leverage CRM, professional social media, and video selling tools. Being proficient with sales tech helps salespeople stay in touch and handle client conversations in a personal and relevant manner. Many sales tools integrate marketing, sales, and analytics data into one convenient platform which helps salespeople see what leads come from marketing and curate their approach to effectively target prospects.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the three-legged Sales Tech stack:

CRM Savvy
Most companies have invested in a CRM tool and using the cumulative data captured within, are able to provide revenue projections for the sales team and understand profitable customer segments. For the salesperson, the CRM is a helpful tool to segment clients into profitable verticals for them to pursue.  Some companies are investing in adding market research to their CRMs to help salespeople become industry experts. Additionally, a salesperson can turn to their CRM to review their sales pipeline and determine what needs to be done to further a prospect in the pipeline. Bottom line, successful salespeople today understand the importance of their CRM and embrace it as a necessary part of their sales process.

Social Selling
Social media platforms, when used strategically, can expand reach and enhance brand visibility. Focusing in on LinkedIn for example can help a salesperson develop a profile to attract the right target, follow and reach out to specific titled individuals and companies and share their professional knowledge in group discussions. LinkedIn is essential for any B2B professional. Most companies have also invested in some level of email and use automation tools to ensure consistent communication, nurturing leads through the sales funnel. In many cases a salesperson is able to see the “footprint” of the prospect as they consume content on the website which provides information as to their needs and interests. Success in today’s world, requires a passion and experience using social selling tools for business development purposes.

Video Proficiency
Video conferencing tools, such as Zoom or Google Meet, help salespeople communicate with prospects and customers in a more personal and engaging way. Video conferencing is very common today and it is essential for a salesperson to be comfortable using the technology. Video can help build rapport, demonstrate products or services, and address objections or questions. Companies have invested in video technology for salespeople to use as conferencing tools to conduct webinars, demos, or training sessions for prospects and customers. Video conferencing can also help managers communicate and collaborate with their sales team and share best practices and feedback. Bottom line – video is here to stay and successful salespeople utilize various video options as a regular part of their sales activity.

Mastering the use of Sales technology can seem overwhelming due to the many options available, however the companies and salespeople who identify the right channels and use them consistently to build a voice and a brand are able to differentiate from their competitors and achieve sales excellence. A salesperson’s focus is always about better understanding their prospect’s business, industry, challenges and aspirations for growth and effectively utilizing sales technology can help them along this path. In fact, it could be said that salespeople who use outdated sales approaches may become obsolete. Sales leaders must help their team find and develop the resources and skills needed for sales tech competency.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, sales training tips, sales tech

Achieving Sales Team Excellence – The Will to Manage

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Thu, Mar 21, 2024

It's difficult to choose what the toughest part of any sales manager’s job is and it can vary by company, industry or geography. Undoubtedly, it will be about people – finding the right salespeople, hiring and onboarding, coaching them on important deals and for skill development. And don’t forget about holding them accountable to the goals established and their activity to achieve those.

Sales managers must also keep their people engaged and utilizing the tools made available for pipeline management such as the company CRM. It is a known reality that salespeople would rather not… Then, there is the motivation factor – how to help each and every individual stay focused on attaining their personal and professional goals, driving effective sales meetings and huddles, to keeping the competitive juices alive. That is a long list, yet not exhaustive by any means. How does a sales manager succeed in this role and achieve sales team excellence?

We rely on the pioneer in the industry and #1 sales management evaluation by Objective Management Group to help understand exactly what skills and qualities drive success in the sales management role. Three key findings are identified and scored:

  1. The Will to be Successful specifically in the role of manager or sales leader
  2. The Sales Manager DNA
  3. The Sales Manager Competencies

The Will to Manage Competencies, as defined by OMG, measure a sales manager's overall drive to achieve success in sales management. Without a strong Will to Manage, it is difficult for an individual to change their habits or learn new skills. Now let’s break that down into the specific competencies within The Will to Manage.

  • Desire: Sales managers feel urgency to take action, prioritize sales results, or care deeply about achieving sales results. While there are many responsibilities that fall on their shoulders, great sales managers put the bottom line first, driving revenue and growth. Certainly, that means that they must be very good at delegating and making sure that they are not too immersed in operations, compliance, or HR issues.
  • Commitment: Sales managers persevere in selling to a difficult prospect, push forward despite their own discomfort, or do what is required to achieve sales quota. And, they help and coach their salespeople to do the same. This is where a sales manager’s own selling ability and learnings from the field can come in handy. Not to utilize those skills and experiences directly, but to teach with them and help their people try different and bolder approaches that have worked in the past.
  • Outlook: Sales managers feel positive, focused, and appreciative about their career prospects. This competency is so important in setting the tone, culture, and even the relationship the manager has with their team. Imagine the difference between a team that has a positive, we will prevail sales leader with one who is downtrodden and feels like the competition has a leg up and the company is behind. The sales manager’s outlook affects the very heart of the team.
  • Responsibility: Sales managers hold themselves accountable for any lack of sales results. One of the biggest problems in many companies is the tendency to make and allow excuses for lack of results and it typically starts at the top. If a sales leader allows excuses and makes excuses, it creates a culture that becomes complacent with not achieving goals and that very quickly affects the performance of the team. For example, if loan operations are slow to process a loan, the sales manager will not use that as an excuse for a long sales cycle. They will figure out what they can do to affect change, no excuses made or allowed.
  • Motivation: Sales managers have a compelling dream or goal to drive sales performance. Motivation is a personal, inside job and it will vary by person, making it difficult to manage salespeople who are motivated differently. Some will be pumped up with praise and kudos in front of the team while others will be motivated specifically by money and rewards. Of course, this also applies to sales managers and while there are differences in how they are motivated, the critical component for achieving sales team excellence, is that they have a compelling dream and can communicate that with others.

Take a few moments to evaluate yourself on these 5 Will to Manage Competencies. The hallmark of an effective sales leader or salesperson is the continual focus on becoming even better at what they do and finding resources to help them achieve sales team excellence.


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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips, sales team excellence

How to Respond to Common Sales Objections

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Mar 15, 2024

Sales objections typically arise in several key areas during the sales process. The first is when you’re trying to secure someone’s time during prospecting, attempting to schedule a meeting on their calendar and obtain a few minutes of their attention. The second occurs when you are delivering a presentation and seeking a commitment or decision.

It’s important to recognize that there’s no magic silver bullet that universally overcomes objections. Instead, objections are rooted in emotions, and when emotions take over, rational thinking often takes a back seat. The best approach when faced with objections is not to try to overcome them but instead, effectively deal with them.

Attempting to outright overcome objections is generally ineffective. Consider how challenging it is to convince a loved one, friend, or colleague that they’re viewing something incorrectly. Similarly, when prospecting for time, it’s crucial to assess whether you come across as someone worth listening to. Are your calls focused on your products, your services, or are you addressing the prospect’s needs and challenges?

Handling Sales Objections about Pricing

Objections related to fees, pricing, or comparisons with competitors are common. It’s essential to understand that objections don’t necessarily signal a refusal to buy. Prospects may present objections to test whether you are willing to adapt or make adjustments, especially in terms of pricing.

To effectively handle objections, we advocate the PAC method. The “P” stands for pause, providing a moment to collect thoughts and calm emotions. A well-timed pause may also encourage the prospect to share more information. The “A” is for acknowledge, expressing gratitude for the objection and validating the prospect’s perspective. People often feel upset when they believe they are not being heard. Finally, the “C” is for get curious. Understand the underlying motivations behind the objection and inquire about what the prospect is truly looking to achieve.

It’s crucial to avoid slipping into sales mode when confronted with objections. Whether seeking an appointment or responding to pricing concerns, maintaining a non-salesy approach is key. Resist the temptation to push back aggressively or launch into a sales pitch.

Dealing with Sales Objections about the Other Bank

Another frequent challenge relationship managers encounter is when prospects express loyalty to their current financial provider, citing years of satisfaction with their services. So, utilizing the PAC method; when a prospect declares, “I’ve been doing business with ABC Bank for X years, and I’m satisfied,” apply the PAC method. Pause, then acknowledge with a positive response like, “Thanks for sharing. I am grateful for our happy clients as well.” Next, get curious by asking questions. For example, inquire about the top two or three aspects that have kept them “satisfied” and loyal to the competitor. Is there a state beyond satisfied that they would be open to? If they could fix or change one thing, what would it be?

Use an approach like, “Mary, it seems you’re not ready to shift your relationship, and I understand. Could you elaborate on the key factors that have kept you with ABC Bank and contributed to your satisfaction?” Alternatively, express optimism for the competitor’s success but gently prompt with, “Mary, in a perfect world, what could they do or another bank do to take you from satisfied to ecstatic?”

Your goal is to position yourself strategically for future opportunities. Inquire, “Mary, what can I do to be your first choice if you encounter a problem that needs fixing that your current bank cannot address?” Once you gather insights, collaborate with Mary to create an action plan to stay in touch without appearing desperate. And remember, maintaining a robust pipeline ensures you can confidently address objections.

Addressing Sales Objections about Timing

What about an objection related to time – when prospects express the need to delay a project or a decision on a project? Timing is crucial, and learning about potential delays should happen early in the conversation. However, let’s focus on what to do when faced with the objection of needing to postpone a decision. It’s not an ideal situation, especially during a presentation meant to secure a decision.

Consider this perspective: aim to close 100% of your qualified opportunities. Closing doesn’t necessarily mean a positive decision; it means obtaining a clear outcome. Whether they accept your proposal or choose to stick with their current financial provider, closure is key.

In reality, many opportunities linger without a resolution. Deals seem like planes circling the airport without landing. When a prospect expresses interest but wants to delay, don’t settle for uncertainty. First, acknowledge their concerns. Then, inquire about the cost of inaction (COI). Ask them what will happen to their problems while they wait. Problems don’t usually vanish on their own; sometimes, they worsen. What could waiting cost them? Make sure and stay silent and let them answer those questions fully.

Dealing with this objection involves addressing the fear and hesitation that salespeople often carry – that inner voice urging caution. To quote Plato, “The first and most important victory is to conquer oneself.” Challenge the belief system that tells you to play it safe. Be a bit disruptive, respectfully questioning the consequences of delaying. Don’t be too quick to comply; rattle the windows a bit, get them thinking. When faced with a prospect wanting to postpone, ask why and explore the implications of waiting.

Remember, objections don’t necessarily mean a lack of interest. They might indicate it’s not the right time or a potential willingness to buy with certain adjustments. By employing the PAC method—pause, acknowledge, get curious - you can increase your chances of navigating objections successfully.


For 30 years, Anthony Cole Training Group has been helping community banks and other financial service organizations close their sales opportunity gap by helping them sell better, coach better and hire better. Utilizing science-based, data-driven research and working hand-in-hand with clients, ACTG evaluates the organization, the market, and current individual and company strengths. Our skilled and sales-experienced Sales Development Experts then help to align company strategies and implement customized Sales Managed Environment® framework that fosters sales growth and production. Our financial focus, customized programming, sales-experienced personnel, and owner’s perspective have made us the Community Banking source for revenue growth. Our Mission: Grow People, Grow Organizations.


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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips

Achieving Sales Team Excellence with a Coaching Culture

Posted by Jeni Wehrmeyer on Fri, Mar 08, 2024

Most sales managers spend less than 10% of their time on coaching, and only one third of managers actually coach their people on a weekly basis. Yet, the Coaching Competency is the most critical part of a sales manager's responsibilities; it is also the most difficult skill set to learn and master. There are many reasons for this, but among them are: the managers themselves were not coached or they had a bad experience with coaching; they were elevated to a team lead or manager position based on their sales success and not their coaching performance; and they have not had any coaching training, either formal or informal. The have no best practices or systems and processes to help them succeed.

Some sales managers believe that coaching means helping salespeople with pricing and technical questions on an ad hoc basis but these discussions, while valuable, do not focus on skill development. Effective coaching involves scheduling multiple coaching conversations with salespeople each week to improve their skills and help them win more sales. This is called Intentional Coaching and is the path to building a sales coaching culture.

The good news is that there are concrete steps managers can take to initiate high-touch coaching that will help develop the necessary sales skills in their salespeople and contribute to a coaching culture that will lead to sales team excellence. These must be executed well and consistently of course, to make an impact.

  1. Consistent and Frequent Coaching executed well, will lead to improved skills and bottom- line impact.
  2. Effective Debriefs on a regular basis, focusing on why they got a particular outcome and working backward to uncover the causes.
  3. Asking Enough Questions and understanding the importance of not dominating the conversation, by frequently asking questions.  Just as in selling, successful coaching requires frequent question-asking.
  4. No Need for Approval from your salespeople, meaning you aren't overly concerned with whether your salespeople like you, which allows you to coach them to be more effective.
  5. Able to Stay in the Moment while selling, you may find yourself becoming emotionally involved in situations, causing you to listen to your own inner voice instead of the customer. By improving this tendency, you will be able to more effectively coach your salespeople.
  6. Having and Coaching to an Effective Sales Process will help you address areas for growth in your salespeople.
  7. Passion for Coaching is possibly the most important component and as a coach, you must have a true inner passion to develop others to perform at their very best.
  8. Beliefs Support Coaching meaning you strongly believe in the role and importance of coaching.
  9. Uncovers Compelling Reasons to Buy while selling, you have been effective at uncovering prospects' compelling reasons to buy. As this is a critical factor in Consultative Selling, this makes you a more effective coach to your salespeople.
  10. Knows How People Buy involves developing a strength in getting prospects to tell you how they will reach a buying decision which allows you to coach your salespeople to be more effective.
  11. Doesn't Rescue the Salespeople means you are willing to let your salespeople fail giving them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
  12. Effective at Getting Commitments means you are adept at getting your prospects to agree when they will make a decision. By improving your personal skills in this area, you will be able to coach your salespeople to be better at it as well.
  13. Handles Joint Sales Calls Effectively means you go on joint calls, avoid heavy participation in the call and instead observe the call and then provide coaching feedback.

Here is the unfortunate truth. New sales managers, as well as the companies who promote them, believe that the very things that made them successful salespeople will make them successful sales managers. Then, continuing that belief into a sales manager’s tenure, sales managers don’t ask for and aren’t offered sales management training and coaching which emphasizes how to coach salespeople. As a result, new and growing sales managers must rely on the sales manager they reported to when they were in a sales role for what sales management is supposed to look like. That of course leads back to the beginning of this article that states the problem, less than 10% of a sales managers’ time is spent coaching their salespeople. To achieve sales team excellence and build a coaching culture, companies must put specific coaching activities in place consistently, and provide development opportunities for their sales coaches to achieve excellence in their role.

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Topics: Sales Training, motivating sales people, achieving sales success, sales training tips, sales team excellence, coaching culture


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    Anthony Cole Training Group has been working with financial firms for close to 30 years helping them become more effective in their markets and closing their sales opportunity gap.  ACTG has mastered the art of using science-based data and finely honed coaching strategies to help build effective sales teams.  Don’t miss our weekly sales management blog insights from our team of expert contributors.


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