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Do you ride along?

Rick McCoy was my first sales manager. Rick made it a habit at least twice a week to "ride along" with sellers to help them, coach them and stay close to clients. It's a strategy that many great managers use, and it's as powerful today as it was back then. Many sellers would get nervous or scared about going out with the boss, but I always saw it as a chance to show off and get another person's perspective on how and what I was trying to accomplish for my clients.

We talked about the practice of the ride-along a few weeks ago on our Leadership MasterClass coaching call. (The next Leadership MasterClass. starts in February. Details here.)

Susan Coish, who was recently promoted to general manager of MBS Radio in New Brunswick, Canada, had a suggestion that was so simple it really resonated. "I do the driving for my sellers when I go out with them. This lets them do most of the talking and planning. They don’t have to pay attention to the road and can freely talk and prepare for the meeting."

One of those moments, I found myself asking: "Why didn't I think of that?" It is a simple yet brilliant idea to change the dynamics of the "coaching experience" for your team members.

There are four primary benefits to infield coaching:

Real-Time Coaching and Feedback:

Observation Opportunities: Sales managers can observe their sales team members in action, allowing them to assess their strengths and areas for improvement. Immediate Feedback: Riding along allows sales managers to provide immediate feedback on specific interactions. This timely coaching can be more impactful than delayed feedback.

Relationship Building:

Customer Trust: The presence of a sales manager during customer interactions can enhance the credibility and trust of the sales team.

Team and Customer Connections: Sales managers can use the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their sales team members and clients. This fosters a sense of camaraderie within the team and reinforces the company's commitment to customer satisfaction.

Skill Development:

On-the-Job Training: Riding along allows sales managers to provide on-the-job training tailored to the specific needs of individual sales representatives. This personalized approach helps address skill gaps and ensures the team continuously improves.

Problem Solving and Strategy Adjustment:

Identifying Challenges: Observing sales reps in the field enables sales managers to identify challenges and obstacles that may not be apparent from an office setting. This firsthand experience helps in understanding the unique issues faced by the team.

Thanks, Susan, for the great idea to maximize these four benefits by doing the driving. It reminds me of the old bus tag line, "Leave the driving to us!"

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@rab.com. You can all so connect with him on X and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development