A Coaching Model Created by Yong Sun Terrence Ho
(Sales, Business and Leadership Coach, MALAYSIA)
My coaching model is heavily inspired by my passion for sales. I have been involved in sales as a practitioner, manager, and leader for over 20 years and when I was introduced to coaching after discovering training unexpectedly in 2017, I knew wanted to be a Sales Coach.
A Sales Model that I have often used in training for my clients who sell on a B2C (Business to customer) basis is:
C – Captivate
A – Ask
P – Present
E – Execute
Besides being an easy acronym to remember; when the word CAPE is mentioned, most people think of a superhero e.g. Batman, Supergirl, etc. and in most organizations, the salesperson is often thought of as the superhero – the one who will beat all obstacles to achieve challenging targets given to them.
Imagine yourself as a salesperson at a clothing retail store or car showroom … when a customer walks in; you only have a few minutes or sometimes just seconds to capture the attention of the customer. Therefore, step 1 is to CAPTIVATE the customer. How can you achieve that? Here are the steps:
- Position yourself so that you can see and be seen.
- Be Proactive; indicate you can help& introduce yourself.
- Respect their privacy &invite them to tour the store or showroom.
- Move away but observe if they need assistance.
- Look for clues to assist; create interest and capture attention.
- Smile whenever appropriate.
Now that you have captured the attention of the customer, it is now time to ASK questions:
- At first, use powerful questions to determine a starting position and focus on areas your product is strong in.
- A powerful question allows you to gain insight from your customers – a burning pain or a dream – something important to them.
- Other questions, known as probing questions, should naturally follow aimed at allowing you to know your customer better to be able to sell to them.
Next is to PRESENT and strike when the iron is hot i.e: when there is a buying signal:
- First, focus on the benefits of buying what you sell.
- Then, mention other secondary benefits followed by offers/promotions.
- Do not broach the subject of the price too early. Ensure the customer understands benefits and check for understanding.
- Do not assume anything about the customer. Find out through probing questions.
- Use available samples, models, plans, and visuals to get the customer to experience the product.
Finally, EXECUTE the sale:
- Do not pressure them by constantly asking them to buy.
- Reinforce the benefits especially how they look and feel owning and using the product.
- Make sure they understand the promotions, highlights, and offers.
- Help with whatever is necessary to make the customer’s purchase easier.
- Assure them professionally that their decision to buy is the right and intelligent one.
I believe that C-A-P-E can also be used for Sales Coaching as follows:
A – Action
P – Perspective
E – Execute
In my experience working with salespeople, the target or budget is usually clear e.g. to hit a revenue growth of 10% from last year or to sell $1,000 worth of product each month. Therefore, the first thing to do is to know what the CHALLENGE is. The following questions are useful for this:
- What is holding you back from achieving your target/budget?
- What about _______ would you consider it a challenge to your performance?
- What have you done about it so far?
- How do you compare with others at this point (benchmarks)?
- When did you notice things were not going so well?
- What do you think is really happening here?
- What would happen if you did nothing about it?
- Where do you want to be?
- How would you feel when you get there?
Next, would be to identify what action(s) can be taken to overcome the challenge:
- What could you do to resolve/address this challenge?
- What have you seen other salespeople do in similar situations?
- How would you tackle the challenge if you were the boss / your role model?
- What advice would you give to another salesperson about this?
- What if you overcame the challenge – what competencies/skills would you need?
- What else could you do? What other actions could you take?
- What have we missed or overlooked?
- What could be your first step?
- Who else might be able to help?
- What has worked for you already? How could you do more of that?
- What would you gain/lose by doing/saying that?
- What action(s) is/are workable for you? What would you like to focus on?
At this step, we would want to acknowledge the client (salesperson)’s work and now enquire about the PERSPECTIVE that they have gained:
- What are the insights/awareness that you have gained?
- What have you learned about yourself?
- What have you learned about the challenge/situation?
- What new perspective have you gained?
- How will you use the learning to move forward?
- How can this be applied to benefit other areas of your life?
Finally, to execute the action(s):
- When are you going to start?
- What obstacles might you meet?
- What support do you need and how will you get it?
- What else might affect the execution of this action?
- On a scale of 1-10, how committed are you to taking this action?
- What will happen (what is the cost) of you not doing this?
- What can keep you motivated to see this through?
- How would you feel once you have executed this action? How can you use this (positive) feeling to keep you going?
In summary, for my blended practice which offers sales training and coaching, C-A-P-E can be used as a model to train and also coach my target clients who are salespeople with titles such as account managers, store supervisors, relationship managers, business development executives, client coverage executives, and even business owners. Having the same acronym for training and coaching allows me and the client to remember and apply it easily in the field.