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​Can Coaching Help Keep Messaging Consistent?

It's not really a question of can coaching make messaging consistent. The real question is: Can coaching help teach (and model) that consistent messaging is half the job? The secret is to find ways to move beyond messaging—the outer packaging, if you will—to providing tangible proof that products do indeed perform and salespersons are willing to practice what they preach.

Let's examine the link between consistency and quality. In manufacturing, quality is defined largely by consistency—the ability to produce the same components or products over and over with little to no variation. Conformity to specified parameters is the goal—as well as the proof that makes the messaging about quality believable. Conformity (consistency) is good. Variation (inconsistency) is bad.

Similar to manufacturing, in sales, customers want to know that what they hear in messaging is backed up by performance—of products as well as reps. Consumers crave—and will pay for—predictability, and they build long-term relationships with sellers when they find it.

According to survey results from McKinsey&Company, the three Cs of customer satisfaction are consistency, consistency, consistency. The findings of the survey highlight three areas critical to customer satisfaction: customer-journey consistency, emotional consistency and communication consistency. Let's examine how coaching can help maintain consistency in messaging—and the proof that goes with it.

Coaching helps bridge the gap between onboarding and real-world engagements. Through review, practice and feedback from a coach, a rep can get off on the right foot, putting onboarding knowledge in perspective, setting the right message and adding encouragement to build confidence and poise. Coaching can lay the groundwork for salespersons to model quality—not just talk about it in messaging.

Coaching is the force that sets continuous learning in motion and gives it traction. And with the inside observations that frequent review and coaching provides, reps can leverage continuous learning to handle objections, educate customers and teach them things they didn't know about their own business—all in sync with familiar messaging.

Coaching can help make follow-up the recipe for repetition. Part of what makes good reps good is follow through and attention to detail every step of the way. Winning reps who have learned that consistency is the secret ingredient of success, won't rest when the sales is closed. When the best of your best become coaches, they will help up-and-coming reps understand, remember and apply the lessons of life-time value.

Coaching can use role play to help reps be consistent in damage control and methods for taking care of problems as they arise. Let's face it, responsiveness and a sense of urgency are huge in defusing and deflating upset customers. And it's better to have rehearsed how to do that instead of shooting from the hip with untested reactions. Consistency in service and attentiveness in bad times will reassure customers that they're dealing with more than a fair-weather friend.

As customers, we often reward reliability with repeat business and a deeper relationship. In the same way, reps can grow customers and move them to higher levels through consistency and the actions that make messaging more than words.

When guidance and direction from a trusted peer or manager are viewed as links connecting reps to a host of growth and practice opportunities—role play and self, directed and social coaching, for example, their value expands exponentially. Consistent messaging is one thing. But when reps are coached to use practice and role play to make sure their actions speak louder than words . . . it's a win/win scenario.

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