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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

You Can’t Coach from the Locker Room: 5 Ways to Boost Sales Productivity in the Field

You Can’t Coach from the Locker Room

Saban, Belichick, and Landy didn't sit in the locker room during games. How would they lead their team, make decisions, or make adjustments? They couldn't. They had to be on the field to coach their players.

Why do you think you can coach your salespeople from your office? You can't. Get in the field with your salespeople...NOW!!

So grab your clipboard, slap on your sunblock (because we’re going out there!), and let’s get our coaching game on.

5 Strategies to Skyrocket Productivity During In-Field Coaching 

1. Be the Coach, Not the Closer

Picture this: You’re out in the field with your star salesperson, and the client’s eyes light up like a kid in a candy store. The urge to swoop in and seal the deal is strong—like a moth to a flame. But hold your horses, Captain Closer!

Tip #1Resist the Temptation to Sell: Your job out here is to coach, not to close. Bite your tongue if you must, but let your salesperson shine. Observe, listen, and save the sales pitch for later. Your goal? To turn your protégé into a sales Jedi, not a one-hit wonder.

8 Steps to Improve Your In-Field Coaching

2. Preparation is Your Secret Sauce

Before you hit the pavement, do your homework. Call it the “Pre-Game Warm-Up.” 

Tip #2Ask for the Goal: Reach out to your seller beforehand and ask, “What’s the mission, Maverick?” Get crystal clear on the call’s purpose. Is it a discovery call? A demo? A contract signing? Knowing the goal helps you tailor your coaching magic.

3. Seller's Thoughts First, Yours Second

You’re not just a coach; you’re a counselor. 

Tip #3Seek Their Input: Begin your feedback tango by asking your sales rockstar, “How’d you feel about that call?” Let them spill their guts. Maybe they’ll confess their love for the mute button or admit they accidentally quoted Shakespeare. Then, and only then, share your pearls of wisdom. 

A Step-by-Step Guide to Coaching Salespeople

4. Feedback Fiesta (Hold the Guacamole)

The call just wrapped up. The adrenaline’s still pumping. Now’s your moment to shine. 

Tip #4Immediate Feedback: Grab your sales sidekick, find a cozy corner (preferably one without nosy pigeons), and spill the beans. Start with the good stuff—three things they nailed. High-fives all around! Then, it's time to share feedback that will make them better. Mention one thing they didn't do, but they should, and one thing they did do, but they shouldn't. This will make them better.  

5. Recap in Writing

Feedback is important, but be sure to send it in writing. 

Tip #5Reinforce Your Feedback: After you get back to your office, send your salesperson a quick note that summarizes the positives and the feedback for improvement. You can also create a running log for each person so that you can review it and remind them of the feedback. Be sure to note the victories so that you can celebrate with them. 

You Cannot Coach From the Locker Room

Sales leaders, remember: You can’t coach from the locker room.

So lace up those sneakers, step onto the field, and lead by example. If you want to increase revenue and get more from your team, the only way to do it is by being in the field with your sellers.

Coaching Sales Talent eBook

*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated since its original post date.

Topics: sales coaching