Coaching through Resistance to Change

 I started working with John several weeks ago. He’s a good student. Pays attention and participates in training classes. First one in the office. Last one to leave and works pretty hard while he’s there. I should also note that he’s an experienced salesman and evaluated as a strong salesman. The company that he works for has been a reactive company for many years and like most reactive companies, they have a busy season and a slow season. I participate in this company’s daily huddle and this morning, everybody agreed that inbound calls had tailed off significantly. I reminded everbody in the huddle that telephones were truly remarkable and that they could be used to dial out as well as to answer inbound calls and we agreed that John would make 30-50 outbound calls to past customers and opportunities that didn’t close starting today. At 3:44 this afternoon, John called me.

John got involved in a bid and realized at 3 PM that he hadn’t made his calls. He decided that he should start rather than try to explain to me tomorrow why he hadn’t. On the third call, he got this response. “Oh, I’m glad that you called. Can you give me a quote on 300 rolls of ‘stuff’? $5,000! John told me that he hung up and said, “F___ing Rick.”

Progress! Then I asked, “By the way, John, did you ask about compelling reasons, urgency, decision date, etc?” He sheepishly replied, “No.” (One step forward. One step back.)

I asked, “John, do you remember if your evaluation indicated that you had a tendency to get emotionally involved?” Yes.

Most salespeople that I talk with truly hope that I could help them improve, but when I tell them that I can double their sales in 90 “days, their response is typically “Impossible”. John’s evaluation not only showed that he was strong but also gave us a ‘911 warning”. A “911 warning” means that John felt that he was so good, that we would not be able to help him, so he was likely to resist our training and coaching. Today, we made headway on that. It was a good day.

Let me close with this.

“The natural progression of development goes from IMPOSSIBLE to POSSIBLE to PROBABLE to DEFINITELY to DONE!”

5 thoughts on “Coaching through Resistance to Change

  1. I like that John was willing to make the calls in the first place. In a business where most of the calls are inbound, it’s rare to find a salesperson who’ll be that engaged. I guess if I took a bet that I could double my sales in 90 days, I would try pretty hard – since it’s in my best interest to do so.

  2. I believe it is not helpful when negotiating with someone or talking to someone with a larger ego to get emotionally involved such as the man mentioned in this blog. It is always better to keep emotion out of the dealing. Keep it strategic and and be unwavering. I have been reading this book called 27 Powers of Persuasion written by jury research CEO and political strategist Chris St. Hilaire that talks about all the ways to evaluate peoples ego’s and how to sidestep them ensuring you own the engagement. It also discusses many other simple strategies that can help you grow as a message creator and salesman. To learn more and read reviews by top CEO’s about the effectiveness of the book check it out at

  3. The good thing about John is that he is engaged in his job and he loves what he is doing but then, as a professional employee, he needs to control his emotions over his job. In whatever work situation, he must put aside his feelings and work professionally. Remember that being a salesperson requires patience in dealing with customers.

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