Tailored coaching programmes that became a phenomenon – Case: Teknisen Kaupan Liitto17.01.2024
“‘One of our association’s reasons to exist is that we help our member companies to develop their competence and competitiveness. That is why we organise several training events every year”,says Lauri Leskinen, Senior Specialist at the Association of Finnish Technical Traders.
In addition to the actual coaching programmes, the Association helps its members develop their skills by organising events and webinars and by cooperating with educational institutions.
The three main coaching programmes of the Association are aimed at developing solution sales, strengthening the customer service skills of service personnel, and coaching technical sales management and supervisors.
Solution selling that challenges the customer
The coaching programme on solution selling strategies that challenge the customer provides salespeople, especially those dealing with corporate clients, with the tools to understand customer needs and provide solutions. The programme consists of four one-day modules covering topics such as preparing for sales, identifying the customer’s needs, and closing the deal.
Coaching programme for maintenance and service personnel
The maintenance coaching programme is aimed at service personnel whose main job is not sales but maintenance and customer service. The two-day programme teaches the participants how to identify customer needs, strengthen the customer experience and develop their sales skills.
The TEKLiideri coaching programme helps develop the personal leadership skills of managers and supervisors. The five two-day modules reinforce strategic thinking and provide support for challenging leadership situations and self-management, among other things.
Each coaching programme is produced by Verona Consulting, with whom the Association of Finnish Technical Traders has cooperated for more than ten years.
“Many of our member companies send their talent to almost every course, even though the larger companies have their own coaching programmes. TEKLiideri, for example, has already become a phenomenon among our member companies”,says Leskinen.
Shared experiences inspire participants
The Association of Finnish Technical Traders has more than 400 member companies, which vary considerably in size. Many of these companies supply products to the manufacturing and construction sectors, but there are also companies that bring products such as vehicles and small machines to consumers.
”The majority of our members have a streamlined corporate structure with no HR staff. We serve such companies by offering them coaching programmes tailored to technical trade operators”, says Leskinen.
When programmes are tailored to a specific industry, coaching can highlight challenges that are familiar to all participants. Therefore, tailored coaching allows participants to share best practices more organically than coaching where participants come from completely different sectors. For example, the process of buying an industrial capital good is vastly different from buying a consumer product.
”This type of cross-pollination has received a lot of praise from coaching participants. Even experienced professionals benefit from these programmes”, says Leskinen.
The programmes have been running for several years and their content is updated in line with changes in the operating environment and the wishes of customers. However, the course feedback has been so positive that there have been no major changes to the content. Based on this feedback, the Association knows that it has the tools to best promote the success of the industry and its member companies.
Tips for successful coaching
- Tailor to your needs. Design the coaching to suit the participants’ operating environment and role.
- Allow time for sharing best practices. Everyday experiences and stories are memorable, so it is important to take the time to share them.
- Create an atmosphere of trust. The insights of the participants are more important than those of the coaches.
- Support networking. Encourage networking outside your own organisation.
- Respond to the participants’ needs. The coaching plan should leave room for any needs that arise during the coaching.
The Association of Finnish Technical Traders in brief:
- Promotes the success of the industry and its member companies
- More than 400 member companies
- Sales of member companies in 2022 EUR 12.5 billion
- Sales development in ten years 50 %
- Workforce in the sector approx. 20,000