Eleven questions for sales coaches

Sales Coaching

After launching this blog, we received an email from an old friend who is a sales training manager at a medical device company. We worked together closely over many years and after trading emails about family and  car preferences, he closed saying, “and please tell Dick I often use his question: ‘When would that not be true?’ when reps come up with ideas that are not quite as good as they think. 

We’ve shared with sales managers over the years that effective coaching is not so much about teaching people, as it is about helping them to learn. That’s why top coaches ask more than tell. And, in general, when coaching, asking questions beginning with what, when, who, or how. “Why” questions can be accusatory when you start out with them. Why questions, however, do work when they are used as a follow-up. 

But Tim’s comment got us thinking about specific questions we’ve shared with sales managers over the years that tend to work well in sales coaching situations. Building on Tim’s question, here are ten more … 

  1. What did you try that didn’t work?
  2. What did you do that worked?
  3. What would you consider doing differently?
  4. Calls have a beginning, middle, and end. In yours, which of those pieces worked best?
  5. Which part of the call didn’t go as well? How would you improve on it?
  6. What did you plan to do that you didn’t do?
  7. What would you do to hit a home run if you were to do the call again?
  8. What did the customer do that you didn’t anticipate?
  9. How could you have gotten the call back on track?
  10. Did you leave the call with one of the advances you planned?

Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection. 

©2011 Sales Horizons™, LLC           

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About Richard Ruff

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. During his career Dick has authored numerous articles related to sales effectiveness and co-authored "Managing Major Sales", a book about sales management, "Parlez-Vous Business" which helps sales people integrate the language of business into the sales process, and "Getting Partnering Right" – a research based work on the best practices for forming strategic selling alliances. Dr. Ruff received his Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Tennessee and a B.S. from Rennsselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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