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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Management Secrets: Coaching the Talent of Interpersonal

sales coachingHis coworkers like him, his clients love him, and you can always count on him to come through for you.  He’s like the Dr. Phil of the office – ready to listen, give advice, and help near-strangers through tough times!

You can spot this relationship-builder a mile away.  His network is wide and deep, and he has the kind of friendships where people would do almost anything for him. As his manager, you have probably found that your hands are tied with his accounts. You can never move them around because his clients wouldn’t hear of it! They buy HIM as much as they buy what he is selling.   

Survey his clients and ask why they like working with him, and you would hear things like:

“I can trust him… he cares about me.”

“He often knows what I need even before I do.”

“He can always tell how I’m feeling and he helps me to feel more comfortable about things.”

“It’s important to him that I see results; he seems as invested in this as I am!”

“He never uses a cookie-cutter approach. He knows MY business and he knows ME.”

When hiring and coaching salespeople with great intensity in Interpersonal, you need to make sure you manage them the right way.


Here are a few ideas that might help:


Make sure you know what is going on in his life and show genuine interest in him.   Remember, nothing fulfills this salesperson more than developing and growing strong relationships. And for him to feel happy in his job, those relationships can’t stop with his clients! He needs a close relationship with his manager as well.  

Match him up with clients that need that extra hand-holding and want to feel taken care of.  He will likely be able to handle the needy ones that others struggle with.

Encourage him to leverage his relationships by actively seeking referrals, testimonials, and introductions to new business. Help him to build this in as a significant step at the end of the sales process. He will not want to seem as though he is desperate for business, so help him to position this as a way to increase the number of people he can help.

Make sure he does not fall into the trap of becoming a “Professional Visitor” – always stopping by, scheduling lunches, asking about the kids… but never getting the sales because he is worried that asking for money will damage his relationship. Insist that he define a valid business reason for every call he makes and frequently discuss his next steps and specific timelines.

When reviewing his accounts with him, talk about more than the numbers.  Ask him about the relationships he is developing and the people with whom he is working. Help him to spot opportunities for increased spending that might benefit that client and further grow their partnership.

Encourage him to develop case studies around his clients’ success stories that demonstrate his understanding of unique client needs and how his solutions address them.

Set expectations for him to meet one-on-one with his clients. Because he is highly intuitive and able to read people’s emotions from their body language and facial expressions, he will do his best work face-to-face.

Challenge him to sell products and services that have natural deadlines because that will create a built-in sense of urgency for him. If he is a people-person, but lacks courage or the strength of persuasion, a no-budge deadline will make him more inclined to push the process forward without feeling greedy or pushy.  

Frame the work you want him to do in the context of how it will benefit the customer. Showing him how he can do more to help his customer will capture his attention and keep him engaged over the long-term. 

Help him to realize there is more to sales than just building relationships.  While that is one of the keys to success, it’s not enough.  Encourage him to dig for their greatest needs and present actionable solutions.

With these tips in mind, be cautious about characterizing this salesperson based on one single talent. This friend-maker is a unique blend of talent and will need to be coached based on a clear understanding of all of his strengths and weaknesses

Once you have complete understanding of his talents, consider making a list of three things you should always do and three things you should never do when managing him.


This is the fifth in an 8-part talent development series!

Part One — Work Intensity  

Learn about that seller who loves to work, moves at high speed, and crams more in her day than anyone else

Part Two - Discipline 

Learn about the seller who is buttoned up, loves perfection, but can spend too much time organizing and preparing

Part Three - Command

Learn about and how to help the seller who is always taking charge and a natural closer

Part Four - Problem Solver

Learn about and how to help the seller who is always finding problems to fix

Part Five - Positivity

Learn about how to help this magnetic personality

Want to help this salesperson have better leads to call on?

Beth Sunshine is VP/Talent Services for the Center for Sales Strategy

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Topics: developing strengths Sales