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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

A Step-by-Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople

sales-coaching-in-fieldThe best managers know spending time in the field coaching sellers is an important part of developing salespeople (and improving sales performance). Here’s a step-by-step guide to use the next day you are in coaching mode.

Preparing for the Field Visit Day

  • Clear your calendar and your mind; focus on the individual.
  • Review your Priority Coaching Strategies for this individual.
  • Review your Field Coach’s Notes from most recent visit.
  • The only way to avoid the “Superman Syndrome” is to make sure you don’t just go on calls where the seller is presenting a proposal for big bucks—who can resist jumping in when so much is riding on the outcome!

Before Each Call

  • Account Executive provides a quick synopsis of account and status.
  • Account Executive declares the objective of this call.
  • Jointly determine if this is a Demo Call or a Coaching Call (Remember... it can’t be a little of each).
  • Determine how manager’s role/purpose is to be explained (e.g., meet customers, hear needs first-hand, etc.).

2021 Media Sales Report - download nowDuring the Call

  • Eyes and ears wide open. Mouth shut tight.
  • If the ‘ball’ comes to you, kick it back right away.

After the Call: The ‘Curbside Conference’

  • Positive recognition always precedes constructive criticism.
  • Account Executive’s evaluation always precedes yours.
  • “What went well?”
  • “What went well?”
  • “What went well?”
  • “What went well?” (That’s a least four positives before addressing other issues.)
  • “What would you do differently next time?” (You may need to prompt: “What about...” or “What would happen if...”)
  • Focus your coaching on a small number of important points.
  • Be sure to compare the outcome to the objective declared.

At the End of the Day

  • Find a comfortable place to talk; don’t rush this.
  • Begin with a general conversation and debriefing of the day.
  • Tailor your coaching to the individual’s talents/strengths and your Priority Coaching Strategies; have appropriate expectations.
  • Positives always precede negatives.
  • Account Executive’s evaluation always precedes yours.
  • Refer to your Field Coach’s Notes forms to ensure that important subjects have been covered.
  • After returning to the office, provide copies of your Field Coach’s Notes forms to the Account Executive and retain the originals in your files for future reference.

Best Practices

This coaching approach works best when a manager spends the entire day, or at least half a day, with a seller. This provides the opportunity to observe the seller with different clients in different situations. World-class managers develop a field coaching schedule and let sellers know about their field coaching days at least a month ahead of time.

Also, don’t reserve field coaching only for rookies. Veteran sellers can always benefit from coaching, plus they usually enjoy the quality time with their manager.

Talent Insight