It’s the beginning of another quarter and here it comes—the dreaded quarterly business review. Why do so many salespeople loathe this process? The answer is simple. They see no value in it. You know, the WIFM factor. They spend countless hours preparing for the meeting and all too often, it feels more like an exercise to justify their existence than a productive conversation that leads to tangible way forward that will increase their likelihood of success.
What if I told you that it doesn’t have to be this way? There’s a simple formula for a productive QBR that will leave the salesperson energized and owning their way forward with excitement and enthusiasm. “Owning” is the key word here. Even better, the solution is simple and won’t require any additional time or effort. In fact, it will relieve the salesperson of a lot of unproductive prep time.
Do I have your attention yet? The formula is known as the GROW® Model.
The GROW® Model was co-created by InsideOut Development founder Alan Fine as a simple method for goal setting and problem solving. It is as powerful as it is simple. GROW is an acronym for the stages of any decision-making process: Goal, Reality, Options, and Way Forward.
Here’s what the GROW Model looks like in a sales QBR. You’ll also find some key questions to keep the conversation moving. Coaching works best when both participants understand the process, so make sure your team members know your questions ahead of time and can prep an answer.
The goal is exactly as it sounds. What is your goal for the coming quarter? This can be a strategy for hitting quota, acquiring new accounts, growing existing accounts or more likely, all the above.
Questions to ask: What do you think is a reasonable goal for the coming quarter? What are the consequences of not reaching your goal?
Reality is all about what has been happening. It’s important to talk about reality. It’s the environment in which we must operate, but it is often where sales conversations get hung up on excuses: “It’s a bad economy.” “Our product was delayed.” “My leads stink!”
It’s important to recognize and agree on the reality of the situation, but make sure the conversation doesn’t linger here. As quickly as you can, steer the conversation to Options.
Questions to ask: What happened last quarter that enabled you (or prevented you) from hitting your goal? What have you tried so far? What were the results? What is your sense of the obstacles for you?
Options is where the magic starts to happen. The key in the options discussion is to let the salesperson exhaust all their ideas before any other ideas are offered up. This is accomplished by asking “what else” until they run out before asking if they would like more suggestions from you. Once all of the ideas are on the table, it’s time to see in any of them are worth exploring further.
Questions to ask: If you were to pursue your goal, how might you go about it? If you were watching this conversation, what would you recommend? If others are involved, what would they need to hear/see to get their attention?
The options that the salesperson chooses to take action on become the Way Forward. This is the plan that incorporates the options that were of most interest to the salesperson. It could be their ideas, the sales leader’s ideas or a combination of both. What is important is that they are the options that the salesperson chooses. By choosing them, they will own them. It is amazing how owning an idea increases the likelihood of execution. This is reinforced by concluding the meeting by agreeing on what the salesperson will do as a result of the QBR and when they will do it.
Questions to ask: What are the actions you will move forward with to reach your goal? What and when is the next step?
If it sounds simple, it’s because it is. I can assure you that the ideas that come out of this process will be much more impactful than having the salesperson spend hours in their cubicle trying to figure this out for themselves. And, after the constructive QBR experience and the associated positive outcomes, they might even look forward to their next QBR.
Learn more tips for holding impactful coaching conversations in this ebook.