Professional Selling: Who’s Coaching the Coach? By Barry Trailer

Posted by Barry Trailer

I'm certain for this readership that there is NO need to make the argument in favor of coaching. I think it's an almost equally safe bet that each of you has at least an informal coaching relationship, perhaps a mentor who holds you accountable, providing you with feedback and helping to further your growth and development.

But I do have a suspicion that you and your coach may be overlooking one critical area of your and your business' development: Sales.

In his groundbreaking work on mastery, George Leonard, details five keys to pursuing/attaining mastery: coaching, practice, surrender, attitude and excitement. I'll likely cover others of these in future articles but for now, we'll stick with the first key: get a coach.

There are four ways to improve performance: 1) having a coach; 2) playing with knowledgeable friends and peers; 3) practicing and 4) reading books/watching videos. And as each of you know, the first is miles ahead of the others in improving an individual's performance.

However, the coaching I'm speaking of with respect to sales is somewhat different than what most performance coaches focus upon. Yes, there can be a 360 review, but this should be objectively reviewing lead sources and their respective success (hit) rates; percentage of calls leading to a first meeting/presentation; percentage of proposals leading to a close; client satisfaction ratings, feedback and referrals. These are just a few of the key metrics your coach should be analyzing with you to see "how it's going."

In the first articles in this series I detailed the Perfect Prospect Profile and discussed how defining this and holding each new prospect up to it will help you attract and gauge new prospects. The PPP can include both demographic (e.g., industry vertical, employee size, geographic location) and psychographic (e.g., learning organization, win/win culture, appreciative) components. The suggestion is that you create a prospect hit-list and gather PPP information about the top ten or so names on your list.

Even if you don't have your prospect list created yet, reviewing the PPP criteria with your coach can be a valuable exercise. You can apply it to your current clients to determine opportunities for improved communication or early warning signs that may crop up with new clients as you begin to engage with them. And, of course, you may have a client or two that you need to fire but have not yet worked up the courage to do so. The PPP offers a basis for making an evaluation of whether an existing relationship is feeding you psychically as well as physically.

Do you have your PPP in place and do you use it as a yardstick (or meter stick) to measure with and against? That's great! Now move on in your discussion with your coach to look at your practice. This is both the verb—to practice—and the noun—your practice. You want to get feedback/coaching on your sales skills and the particular skill you're currently concentrating on developing. The skill you're practicing could be asking better/tougher questions, preparing more thoroughly for calls, penetrating accounts more fully, etc.

Then there is the practice that is a noun. Like other professionals, you have to ask yourself, "What is your practice development plan?" What is your target mix for new and existing clients? Large and small accounts? Local and remote clients? Each of these has an impact on your business and its ability to sustain down markets and/or the loss of one or more key clients. What is your plan and have you recently reviewed it with your coach?

As noted in the beginning, I'm certain for this readership there is NO need to make the argument in favor of coaching.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (October Issue 2008, Volume 4, Issue 3). Copyright © 2011 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Entrepreneurship: A Heady Business

Posted by WABC

By Sherry Greenleaf

Transitioning skill sets from a corporate environment to owning and running one's own business takes focus and determination. Now think of "Build it and they will come" times two! Flushed with a successful first venture, this entrepreneur was inspired to create a second business which she eventually sold. Working with business coach Sherry Greenleaf, the Interview Doctor's founder Katherine Burik found her new experiences as CEO one of her most rewarding.

The Business/The Organization

Katherine Burik is a human resources professional with more than 25 years of experience growing people and strengthening organizational resources. Her career with Fortune 1000 companies seemed destined to rise with company fortunes until 2004, when she became an entrepreneur with the Interview Doctor, Inc.

The Partnership

National and local organizations were introducing topics about coaching and Katherine considered how coaching could help develop managers and supervisors at MACtac. In the midst of her search for more information, the company began a mass downsizing and she found that she needed to transition out of her corporate position. She decided to open a human resources consulting service specializing in helping others improve their job-seeking skills and win more interviews with potential employers.

Sherry had served as a human resources manager and then transitioned from a corporate position to an entrepreneurial position in the mid-nineties as a result of down-sizing. She joined a local training company and with her business partner helped to expand programs and services, which included coaching. Their joint success was a result of providing training with follow-up coaching.

Sherry invited Katherine to learn more about coaching as a way to expand services to clients who needed support and guidance through a very stressful time.

The Challenge

Katherine wanted to create an infrastructure of financial systems, programs and services, marketing, Internet presence, and business development. She quickly adapted her corporate expertise to strategic planning and finances. With a strong desire to meet the needs of a rapidly growing market, she wanted to test the marketplace to determine if her process and approach would work.

She met with her church leadership council and found that not only were some members of the church possible candidates, but there was a need in the surrounding community. This would provide the opportunity to refine and tweak her concepts. With the support of the church and community, she set up a no-fee program within her church to research her approach.

That left two components for growing a business—development and marketing—both critical to her strategic plan, but areas that Katherine needed to develop if she would be successful as an entrepreneur.

The Approach

Katherine developed a unique approach to coaching candidates that helped the candidate get the job. She found an Internet company that would build her platform and develop web pages, establishing an Internet presence, which gave the business legitimacy to candidates.

Sherry helped Katherine realize that the adage "build it and they will come" is only half right. Katherine had the website, the vision, and was paying the bills without a lot coming in. Entrepreneurship is a heady business. However, without sales, that's where it stays—in the head. Together, Sherry and Katherine worked out a plan to attract new clients that included a corporate base as well as individuals.

Sherry helped Katherine to recognize the power of networking by encouraging her to attend local professional societies and learn how to tell her story to attract clients. Through regular coaching with Sherry, Katherine set monthly goals that pushed her to rapidly apply what she learned about business development. She set specific goals for weekly networking and cold calling targets, wrote articles, and created an electronic newsletter, then set goals for follow-up. The networking through various avenues created relationships leading to referrals and eventually to new clients. Sherry encouraged Katherine, answered questions, and provided research ideas that Katherine could apply to grow the business.

The Value Delivered

Katherine derived so much pleasure out of creating one business, she developed a second one. Having a strong interest in health and wellness, and knowing how the cost of health benefits impacted bottom-line results for her organizations, she partnered with a fitness instructor and created a wellness program to increase the health and fitness of employees.

Following the model of her first new business, Katherine quickly applied many of the principles—developed a wellness program, built a website, met with healthcare professionals, attended and made presentations within her professional network, and targeted key corporate clients. The result was that she was able to successfully attract several local institutions to contract for her Health Initiative Project.

With two budding businesses, Katherine was able to leverage her expertise with two niches. Passionate about both, she developed a strong network with both markets and expanded her services by relying on Sherry's knowledge and professional relationships to develop a team of coaches that could handle the overflow for the Interview Doctor.

Sherry's coaching, feedback, and resources helped Katherine juggle both businesses and find time to spend with her active family. While both businesses were achieving financial success, the relationship between Katherine and the fitness instructor dissolved due to differences in style and direction. It took several months to end the partnership with many coaching sessions focused on communication, conflict resolution, and personal support.

Each coaching session thereafter focused on the many activities that Katherine wanted to accomplish to attract more clients. She continued to network and was successful in attracting a large recruiting firm that invited her to present at a conference. This endeavor resulted in attracting more attention to her interviewing methods.

The final result was that Katherine's expanded skills in networking and business development successfully helped her to sell the Interview Doctor.

The relationship between a coach and coachee works best when both people listen and bring their best experiences to the table. In this case, Sherry shared her own expertise and experience to coach Katherine in setting goals that moved her businesses forward much faster than would have been possible if she had worked alone.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2009, Volume 5, Issue 3). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Sherry Greenleaf is the co-founder of IMPACT Training & Development, Inc., a coaching and training firm since 1995. With more than 20 years of management and business experience, Sherry specializes in helping leaders connect emotional literacy with powerful leadership. More about Sherry in the WABC Coach Directory. Contact Sherry.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Transformational Leadership: Leadership Institute Commits to Shift Their Staff, Students, and Prospects to a New Online Social World

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

By Dean R. DeLisle

The Business/Organization

The Wright Leadership Institute is a human potential business offering both credit and non-credit courses in human performance and fulfillment. Formed in 1997, the Institute today generates 2.5 to 2.8 million in revenue while serving an ongoing base of 200-300 students in addition to the thousands it reaches through its corporate training and consulting, publications, speakers bureau, and media appearances.

Dr. Bob Wright and Dr. Judith Wright began the business as a merger of their existing businesses --- Bob's leadership development and executive coaching business begun after selling his top-ranked national employee assistance program, and Judith's spiritual and personal development business, which she founded upon leaving her joint appointment as clinical program director for the Illinois Department of Developmental Disabilities and the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Today, the Institute's offerings include four main modalities: coaching, seminars, learning laboratories, and time-limited group projects aimed at developing individuals to their fullest potential in all areas of life.

The Partnership

Dr. Bob Wright contacted Dean DeLisle to consult with them. Having been recently engaged in a nationally known social media trainer they were dissatisfied with, Dr. Wright heard from a graduate of one of the Institute's personal transformation programs, James Gustin of Fig Media, that the methods of Forward Progress had helped firms generate sufficient inbound referrals as to replace cold calling and a number of other sales practices that the twelve-member staff of the Wright Leadership Institute engaged in regularly.

The Challenge

Three years prior to engaging Dean DeLisle, the Wright Leadership Institute had begun changing their business model. Rather than engaging a small number of high-dollar clients in one-on-one coaching and small groups as they did in their early incarnation, they began offering large-format public seminars gratis to introduce their philosophy and services. These weekend-long seminars were also the vehicle for selling their year-long signature program, the Year of More, which retails at $8k and is discounted to $6k only on these public weekends.

Having relied on media and book tours in the early stages of the program to generate traffic for this weekend, program enrollment had reached a plateau, and Dr. Wright recognized the need to change the culture to become more of a sales and marketing organization.

The task they gave the Forward Progress team was to coach and train their staff and students on Social Networking in order to increase enrollment into their core programs. Dean's first contact with the Wright Leadership Institute and Dr. Judith Wright were weekly staff social media training sessions they had begun a few weeks prior, in which they auditioned Dean and the Forward Progress team as an alternative to the trainer they had previously engaged. Since this initial meeting, the organizations have developed a very deep partnership. Forward Progress's regulated coaching program empowers Wright students and staff alike at all levels of the organization-from coaching Dr. Bob Wright and Dr. Judith Wright individually, to weekly and as-needed staff coaching sessions, to trainings and seminars for all interested students.

The Approach

In order to support the immediate needs of the Institute, Forward Progress began with a general training engagement. However, with the recognized decline in enrollment, mostly to do with the economy, Forward Progress quickly proposed a shift in strategy to focus on a coaching program for the staff and executive team while maintaining training for their student body.

The coaching was comprised of establishing the immediate goals and objective for the very next weekend training. Since we had less than sixty days to work with, we agreed to use the existing goals they had missed in the last two events to see if the goals were realistic. There also was the challenge of the upcoming holidays, during which the senior management team would be leading training overseas.

Forward Progress assigned a two-person coaching team to assist the twelve-person staff and created an aggressive sixty-day coaching schedule. With no time to spare, sessions began almost immediately. Within those sessions, the coaching staff made sure that the outcome of the event was tied to the personal goals of each participant so they could be emotionally engaged.

With the support of Forward Progress, the Wright Leadership Team began to quickly coordinate, improve, and execute in the following areas:

  • Clarified Objectives
  • Confirmed Target Prospects
  • Defined Partnership and Alliances
  • Assembled Content
  • Coordinated Delivery
  • Aligned Team
  • Conducted Online Community Outreach

The Value Delivered

Within sixty days of the first coaching and training sessions, the staff and student body seemed to respond very well. Being in an environment where "transformation" is enforced and practiced permitted the adoption process to accelerate. Normally, Forward Progress would be hesitant to take such a large group without a pilot program; however with early testing in the first few weeks, they knew this had increased potential.

Enrollment in the next More Life Training weekend program, which took place in the first 90 days of coaching, increased by 40%. Other amazing shifts took place along the way. The Wright staff team's enrollment increased by100%, doubling any previous efforts.

Furthermore, students who were trained reported that the social media skills they learned for the More Life enrollment effort were impacting their sales in their own businesses-vaulting some to trusted advisor status with clients they'd courted, and boosting seasoned salespeople to as much as 180% of their goal in the first two months of the year, among other transformational results.

Since the writing of this article, the Wright Leadership Institute is on pace to surpass this mentioned performance and are now realigning their growth plan to include new facilities and a national expansion.

This proves that with the right mindset and a willingness to transform, there is no bad economy.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.





Dean R. DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.


If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.

Social Media Mania

Posted by Dean R. DeLisle

Social Network Building: A Whole New Approach to Building New Coaching Client Relationships

By Dean R. DeLisle

When you log into a social networking site, it seems very new to most of us. In fact, we just feel lost. Most of us are used to the good old-fashioned process:

  1. Attend an event or get an introduction
  2. Get the card
  3. Connect with the person
  4. Schedule a meeting
  5. Submit a proposal
  6. Close the business
  7. Ask for a referral

Now while we conduct this old approach, we want you to take a fresh approach using the knowledge you have gained to this point.

The goal is still the same! Get the meeting, provide an amazing proposal, close the business, then get a referral and repeat the cycle.

However, we want you to learn two new techniques to get you there quicker. One is a new best practice for when you meet a targeted prospect, and the next is a proven method to getting targeted, closable appointments.

Building Your Network Consistently

Amazing things happen fast when we do them on social networks as opposed to the old way. With the old way, we get the business card, enter the info into our email system, phone, or if we are really efficient, a contact manager or CRM system. What we would like you to do is a network building practice that will pay off tenfold, using just one of your social network accounts. For the example below, we will use LinkedIn, however this will work with most interconnected social networks on today's market; only the numbers will vary based on the size of the network.

Let's assume that LinkedIn still only has about 60,000,000 active members at the publishing of this article. With that in mind, when we connect it's like adding conservatively 1,000 targeted, like-minded contacts into your system. The reason is degree of separation. On average with LinkedIn, we find the following formula to be very consistent.

1st Degree: If you have 90 direct connections (these are people you know directly that you are connected to), it is equivalent to entering these contacts directly into your contact management system.

2nd Degree: Based on average user counts, you should have roughly 15,000 to 20,000 connections that your first degree contact can introduce you to or that you can effectively see to use your own approach.

3rd Degree: Based on the same average user counts, you should now have 1,600,000 to 2,400,000 connections that can turn into introductions.

Using these rough conservative formulas, this means if you have one contact whom you meet at a networking event, speaking event, business meeting, or just casually, you can then determine whether that person is a good prospect for your business coaching. Once you take the time to enter them into your social network (like LinkedIn), then you will have just picked up about 17,000 3rd degree connections just by adding that one person. Now of course these numbers will vary based on the person's connectivity level, but keep in mind it is conservatively the equivalent of adding only 1,000 targeted like-minded contacts to your system. This gives you a margin of error by 16,000 bad connections that your contact has made, which we typically see is highly unlikely!

Getting the Appointment

So you have your core contacts, and now you have visibility and "access" to their contacts. Now, let's get to the appointments!

There are several techniques, though the most important thing is to make sure you don't just barge into someone's network too quickly. We highly recommend the safest approaches first.

  1. Ask for a recommendation from the person you are connected through
  2. Directly compliment/congratulate them on a visible accomplishment, such as an article, promotion, or press
  3. Ask them for advice on a relevant topic
  4. Join a group or sub-community in common

These are value-based techniques that will allow you easier access and a more secure method than just blindly jumping into their network.

Once you have established a relationship, it is more appropriate to invite yourself into their network. Nevertheless, as a best practice, we recommend waiting until some level of relationship is built.


In this business coaching industry, our job is to help people, so building a large network is not always necessary. In fact, many of the coaches that we coach are very successful with working on quality rather than quantity. Whichever type of social network you choose to build, just make sure you have a method by which to communicate and build on the relationships you have worked so hard to secure.

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 2). Copyright © 2013 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

Dean R. DeLisle has proven his ability to accelerate contacts, business development, and operations with sound business practices, the ever-evolving power of technology, and his consulting, coaching, and training skills over the past 25 years. More about Dean in the WABC Member Directory. Contact Dean.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.