13 Most Important Tools for Coaching Salespeople

This is the 1st in the series of the Top 10 Kurlan Sales Management Functions.


In its simplest form, sales coaching consists of the following two activities:

  1. Pre-Call Strategizing – coaching prior to selected calls to make sure that the salesperson has a good reason for having the upcoming call, a desired outcome, a game plan or strategy, and the appropriate questions/dialog to achieve the desired outcome.
  2. Post-Call Debriefing – coaching after selected calls to discover the true outcome of the call, why the salesperson got that outcome, and what they could have done differently or more effectively

Coaching should be performed on the following time line:

  • daily
  • 10-15 minutes
  • with each salesperson
  • pro actively not passively

Coaching has the following hierarchy:

  • facts
  • strategy
  • role-play
  • lesson-learned
  • action plan

Here’s a video of me discussing coaching….


I have written about coaching before.  You can read this article that briefly discusses the “how of sales coaching” and then you must read this great example of the “how of coaching” in this article that examines a real sales coaching scenario through a marked up email thread.

I wrote this article about coaching salespeople beyond happy ears. I wrote this article about the required skills for effective sales coaching.

The most important tools for effectively coaching salespeople are:

  • standardized formal sales process so we can talk specifically about where we are in the process with this specific opportunity;
  • world-class listening and questioning skills so that we can ask the questions to go deeper and wider in role-plays;
  • the ability to role-play the salesperson’s part of the sales call – no matter where it is or what it is;
  • the ability to poke holes and question everything you hear;
  • the ability to remain in the moment and not become emotionally involved;
  • No Need for Approval so that you can say, ask or do whatever is necessary to get your salesperson to the next level;
  • Patience – you can only take baby steps;
  • Experience – you need to have been there;
  • Wisdom – you have to just know!;
  • Sense of Humor – keep it light;
  • Respect of your Salespeople;
  • Trust of your Salespeople;
  • Relationship with your Salespeople.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan