Coaching and Developing Great Salespeople

Question CartoonWanted: Great Salespeople!

All of us are looking for great salespeople to close business, grow revenue, and help drive our companies to success.

What are some of the qualities of great salespeople?

  1. Professional and personable
  2. Responsive and lives up to commitments
  3. Organized and focused on the important… customers, activities, etc.
  4. Knowledgeable about our customers’ business and in our company’s products and services
  5. A team player
  6. Knows how to sell

Knowing how to sell is that secret ingredient that makes a good salesperson (able to do all of the other five qualities) great.

As sales managers and sales leaders, it is our job to coach and develop the selling skills of our salespeople.

Developing these skills starts with basic sales training in:

  1. Preparing and asking good questions
  2. Listening to the customer’s response
  3. Creating a value proposition that meets the customer’s stated (and unstated) needs and requirements
  4. Responding to objections
  5. Recapping
  6. Asking and getting the sale.

Then, we have to hone and develop these selling skills through joint customer visits, ride alongs, and coaching.

As I have written before (Let’s Train Our Sales Managers), these ride-alongs and joint customer visits are difficult for most sales managers to do well. They too often want to take the lead instead of letting the salesperson do the questioning and talking. To develop their salesperson, the sales managers needs to:

  1. Before the Call: Coach and question the salesperson about his or her plan for the call; if necessary, even role play
    • What is the purpose of the sales call?
    • What are your objectives and plans for the meeting?
    • How do you define success for the meeting? How will you gauge the success of the meeting?
    • What questions do you have prepared?
    • What objections do you feel the customer will have?
    • How will you respond to these objections?
    • How will you respond if the customer tells you “no” or doesn’t react to your questions/comment?
    • What do you know personally about your customer? What are his or her goals for the year?
    • How long do you have for the sales call?
    • What do you plan to do to establish credibility with the customer?
    • What commitment do you plan to make to the customer at the end of the call?


  1. During the Call: Say absolutely NOTHING. Just observe and listen.


  1. After the Call: Review how the call went and offer coaching suggestions after the call.
  • How did the sales meeting go?
  • How do you feel you did in the sales meeting?
    • What did you do well?
    • What could you have done better?
  • What things did you do to find common ground?
  • What did you do to establish your credibility within the first 5 – 12 minutes?
  • Do you feel that the call was useful for the customer?
  • Did you offer to serve the customer in some way?
    • Did you offer something of value or offer to do something specific as a way to differentiate yourself?
    • Did you find a way to help the customer succeed in his or her business?
  • Did you waste the customer’s time?
  • What questions did you ask to determine the customer’s problems, needs or hot buttons?
  • What do you perceive are the customer’s problems, needs or hot buttons?
  • Did you focus your presentation on these problems, needs or hot buttons?
  • What did you present or discuss to support or address your solution to these needs?
  • What stories / testimonials did you give to reinforce your main point?
  • What more (if anything) could you have done to address these needs?
  • How effective was your recap?
  • How did you ask for the sale?
  • What specific commitment did you get or did you give?
  • What was your final help question?
  • What are your next steps?


By using these (or similar) coaching questions when you make your regular joint customer calls with your salespeople, you will hone and develop them into great salespeople!!


About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
This entry was posted in Growth and Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Team / People and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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