The thing about facts is they are still facts regardless of whether you believe them.
Any given fact, however, is completely different from an individual’s Personal Truth. A personal truth is experienced-based knowledge/information that is a hard earned reality for that individual. If history and data shows that a product works 98% of the time and Bill bought one of the products in the 2%, his Personal Truth is that the product is garbage! Sales associates are no different with their personal truths, but in order to grow they must learn to push past their personal truths to get to a more productive reality.
Take prospecting for example: We all know for a fact that the best sales professionals work multiple prospecting strategies at any given time. When we talk to an average or struggling sales person, he will share his personal truth about prospecting efforts that didn’t work for him at particular points in his career.
Too many coaches approach this disconnect the wrong way. It is the rare human being who will change their beliefs through the introduction of facts. (see more about Confirmation Bias). The real challenge is earning the trust to have the sales rep take on new behaviors that will yield greater results.
As with every coaching relationship, the associate first needs to own that their business is not on the right track. With that opening, the “How” questions come into play. For example, a prospecting conversation might make its way to earning more referrals. Once you move through their personal truths (“I don’t get referrals. I asked and nobody gave them…”), instead of bombarding her with data and comparing her to other sales people try responding with a co-working challenge:
“Over the next month, for every customer you ask for a referral using this simple, proven script, I’ll help you send thank you notes and make follow-up calls. Can you commit to working with me on this for 1 month?”
By making the task smaller and more attainable – in this case, presenting a quick and easy referral script to every customer – you are moving the goal post from the thing that they know didn’t work in the past – her personal truth – to this new thing that a trusted coach is going to help succeed.
In order to get salespeople to believe facts, you need to help them create a new personal truth based different experiences and results.