There are always epic times that occur in any aspect of your life. You simply have to be open and aware to them happening. There are rarely one-man (or woman) successes in life. For a company or person to be successful they have to have a direction and in most cases it’s helpful to have a coach to help you find and direct your way.
As you may be aware, I’m a big sports fan and I live in Cleveland, Ohio. Just before the writing of this article our pro basketball team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, won the NBA championship. It’s the first pro sports title in 52 years. The Cavs reached the pinnacle of their game not only on the backs of some outstanding players, but also on some great coaching. If you track the success of anything you’ll find great coaching behind it. As an Ohio State University Alumni I follow Buckeye football and the team has had great coaching…Woody Hayes, Jim Tressel and most recently Urban Meyer, all taking the team to championship titles. My point is that coaching is important, even in canvassing. Unfortunately, what I’m seeing across the nation is coaching has all but disappeared from canvassing.
In this article I’m going to get to the point on how coaching is a direct responsibility of management and owners.
The question I hear a lot from owners and managers is, “How can I recruit better?” As if there wasn’t any good talent available to them, or the competitors have all the great talent. Or how can they find a manager who will manage the team to produce stellar results. Recruiting is important, but not to the extent where the owners, executives and managers are obsessed with it and forget they need to coach up the people they have!
As a top executive, manager or owner you have to make coaching a top priority. The buck stops with you. You’re at the top of the ship and people look to you to set the tone. You can’t expect to hire someone to do the job without equipping them. You have to have 2 things in place, a system for coaching and a system for disseminating that coaching. You can delegate the strategy but you cannot abdicate the responsibility of leading the coaching. Midway through the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season they fired their head coach and promoted the assistant coach to the role of leader. They fired the coach because he wasn’t steering and guiding the ship. The team didn’t have someone to follow. LeBron James may be the team’s star player, but without a coach to lead and corral the team, it will lose its direction. The Cleveland Cavaliers management had a vision and direction for the team, but they didn’t have faith in the coach so they replaced him. Without their leadership (management) the Cavs would have never won the championship. They needed a coach who could implement their direction. As an owner or manager of a canvassing team, you have to do the same. You have to lead, and coaching has to be a top priority.
People hire me to coach their teams for 2 reasons. First I have a canvassing system that works. Secondly, I have the skill to coach their canvassers on that system. Here’s the fallacy with that. Hiring me, an outside coach, works as long as I’m there to coach. The minute the management doesn’t take responsibility for continuing the coaching the results stop. You can be the owner of the company, but you have to be able to role-play the system with people. Yes, you have many roles and you’re not the day to day manager, but you need to be able to deliver the message. If you can’t promote your own business in a canvassing setting, I question whether you should be running the company. This may sound harsh but communicating in the face-to-face forum is the foundation of promoting and making sales for the company. No leads = No sales = No business.
The clients who are most successful with my system are so because they make it part of their DNA. They carry on what I implemented and taught to their teams initially. My onsite coaching and training is not cheap, but it works 100% while I’m there. If the owners and managers don’t continue the coaching after I leave I can guarantee the results will tank, quickly. It’s not because I have some super-human skills in coaching. No, it’s because I continue to coach. From the moment I show up at a client’s office until the time I leave I’m constantly coaching. Everything you do is coaching, or at the very least should be.
Also, my system is directly tied into the recruiting system. The same system I teach for producing leads and appointments is the same system I use and coach companies on for recruiting top job candidates. When you know the system forwards and backwards you understand the psychology and methodology behind it and can easily adapt it to recruiting those ‘elusive’ star canvassers. The message, the recruiting and the retention all fall into place.
So here are 2 questions to consider when taking an honest assessment of your coaching:
The first question – Do you study the outbound marketing game?
You’re asking your canvasser and face-to-face marketers to become engaged in the systems. They’re expected to know the scripts and rebuttals. You should know them as well if not better. Going back to a sports analogy, a coach who is committed to his team and the game will study more game film and do more research than any of his players. If you’re familiar with the story of Herb Brooks, coach of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team then you know that Coach Brooks had studied so much material and information about his opponents he knew them better than their own coaches did. If you study history this is true of all great coaches, General George Patton and General Norman Schwarzkopf. They were renowned as students of war. You and your team have to have a wartime preparation mentality everyday. Your competition is a minor threat. I often see the threat of being ill prepared as a greater threat to a company’s success than their direct competitors.
Coaching is also beyond the canvassing script. Give your students a well-rounded education. You not only have to study your products and services but also the application and consumption (or use) of your products and services. Understanding it from yours and the customer’s perspective. The best owners and managers know their game; and they teach and coach their teams on it as well. There’s more to marketing and selling products and services beyond the features, advantages and benefits of them. Do you reveal to your team the thinking and mindsets of the prospects? Do you show them the big picture of how leads flow and the other departments roles to guide the lead from an appointment to a sale? The prospecting process, the lead generating and appointment setting, the selling process, the installation.
Do you understand the business numbers behind the marketing, sales and service sides of your business? How you use the numbers to help coach the canvassers? You have your niche on the process, but you have to understand how all the aspects of the business tie together.
I tell my private clients that all of my training is made of teaching these 3 aspects. I work on their skill sets, their mindsets and then getting off their assets. Are you actively involved in and studying each of these? Even if you employ only part time people, this is a profession. It takes more cajones to go out and knock on doors than any other profession. How can you expect others to go out and do what you yourself are not prepared to do?
As the coach you have to provide and fill them with the skill sets, mindsets and the action parts of the process.
The second question – What do you do everyday to learn about your field or profession?
This may seem similar to my first question, but it’s not. Do you understand the players in the game, from the past, present and potential future players? Do you know the business? Do you study management techniques? Do you read books on the mindset aspects? As a member you have access to all the archives of my recordings and articles. There’s material going back 9 years, so you have no excuse for lack of access to material.
What is your canvassing strategy? You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You have access to my entire system and the coaching that goes with it. Are you going over your system and scenarios all the time? You should be thinking about this all the time. When it’s top of mind you’ll be at the top of your game.
Here are 5 steps to improve your coaching for outbound marketing:
- Check your desire to coach.
- It doesn’t matter if you’re a direct line coach or the owner of the company. Do you have a desire to coach others? I’m sure you see it within your own company. You probably have a great canvasser or sales person, but they don’t see themselves being a coach. They can mentor others part of the time, but they don’t have the skill set, time or desire to relate to others and transfer through care and instruction.
- Do you respect the grind? Do you like the job? The ability to go out and canvass and prospect versus the skill to manage is two different skill sets. Are you boiler room material? Do you like getting in the trenches and coaching people between doors. Do you like being in the training room role-playing with canvassers? I have a deep passion to be on the frontline with canvassers and showing a person how it’s done. Then driving back to the office and talking about the day and what happened. Spending days and hours in the training room with the people. That’s the difference between just managing and coaching.
- Find a mentor for coaching.
- You need someone who can coach you on coaching. That’s what I do, that’s what I provide here. I’ve written a lot of material on the subject and trained and coached thousands of canvassers, managers and owners in my career. If you’ve been successful, you know the value of having a mentor who can share their experiences with you.
- Are you studying the game?
- You have to get yourself in the strategy and mindset of the successful game. More specifically you have to study other’s successes and failures in this game. You can learn as much from their failures as you can from successes. What’s getting people motivated for the long term? The rah rah speeches will only take your team so far. What really motivates people for the long run is the key for repeatable success.
- Are you making the things you learn an ‘every day’ habit? You have to dedicate time everyday to learning the game. I’ve heard all the excuses as to why people are too busy to dedicate any time to continued learning. I run a highly successful canvassing coaching business, am married to a wonderful woman who is dedicated to her own profession and we’re raising 3 fabulous boys (1 of which is just over 7 months old), run coaching calls with private clients every week and I find the time for continuing to learn and study the game. How do I find the time? I make the time; and you can too. If you drive to and from the office, make your car a university on wheels. Listen to audios.
- Do you make role playing and in-field implementation and absolute daily priority?
- I see companies who teach their systems to the canvassers when they first sign on, but they don’t continue to role-play and coach their marketers on the systems. The Disney Company is the most micro-managed company that exists. They continue to coach their cast members on every aspect of their jobs. Every department in the company has daily meetings with their people before their shifts start. If they made the meetings only every week, or worse, not mandatory, they wouldn’t be able to maintain the high-level experience guests come to expect.
- If you’re not continually working with your canvassers in the office and in the field, you’ll lose respect with your people. Companies hire me to teach and train their people and I have to continue working at my game. When I demonstrate with marketers I find they respect me more and more because I take the time to coach them, not just teach. There’s a difference between teaching and coaching. The most powerful thing you can do is getting in the field and coaching your people. Let them see you perform and produce results. Let them see that you won’t ask them to do anything you aren’t willing and able to do yourself.
- You need to know your numbers.
- Numbers runs the entire business. The marketing, sales, profits, losses, etc. You need to track both the front and backend numbers of canvassing. The frontend numbers are the activity: How many doors is a canvasser getting to? How many people are opening the doors? How many people they make contact with are qualified prospects? How many of those qualified people do you make a presentation to? Of those presentation how many do you capture as a lead? What ratios of those leads actually convert into an appointment? How many appointments stick on the first scheduling? How many do you have to follow up to reschedule? How many ‘sits’ do you get? These are benchmarks that tell you what you have to work with on. The numbers help you better coach on the systems, or more specifically, on what parts of the system needs worked on with each individual canvasser. This is coaching at the micro level. When you know your systems, your people and your benchmarks you’ll be able to better coach.
Do you have what it takes to be a coach? Do you have the desire to coach? If you want help clarifying your own desires and directions, or, you want help on specific coaching aspects within your company, you have the opportunity to contact me for direct help, based on your membership level. If you’re not sure what you’re entitled to at your membership level, simply call and I can coach you through that too. It’s my intention to help you with the truth and I’m here to help. I am Chris Thompson, The Canvass King and I am committed to your continued canvassing success.
Thank you for being a member! If you’re not a member and have only limited access and would like more information or coaching, you can contact me by email at cthompson at canvassking dot com or call my office direct at 216-588-1337 if you have more immediate needs.