Live Sales Coaching

“Live” coaching is coaching that you do based on your observations of your people. Certainly it is critical to look at the metrics of how salespeople are performing against objectives to guide your coaching. Equally and maybe more important is to sit down and work with your salespeople to find out firsthand what they are doing, what they know, and where they need support so they can achieve the metrics.

Since most of you have come up through the ranks of sales as top performers, you may be tempted to keep on selling during team calls. But the role of the sales manager is not to sell but to develop others to sell to achieve their objectives. In reality it is sometimes necessary for you to sell, but “when and how” is what differentiates great sales managers from sales managers who continue to be great salespeople.

Let’s examine your role during a team call:

  •  First, make sure there is a compelling reason why you are going (i.e., add value, coach, show commitment, uptier …).
  •  Then make sure it is a team call and don’t go in place of the salesperson or you may have difficulty extricating yourself.
  •  Before the call, clarify roles by asking the salesperson what he/she thinks the roles should be and then give your view.
  •  Make sure the salesperson leads the call — not you.
  • Remember, all team members on the call must have a role and that, while there can be only be one lead, you must have a role. Together, look at the agenda and decide what it will be. For most sales calls, the salesperson should lead 85 to 90% of the call.

– As said before, there will be times when it is necessary for you to assume the primary sales role. For example: developing brand new salespeople, a very important opportunity/final presentation which calls for your skills (assuming in this case the sales manager is more skilled — which is not and should not always be the case — Think about a coach for a top athlete — the star athlete is the better performer, but the coach is nonetheless essential.). But you assuming the sales role should be an exception, not the rule. By preparing, debriefing, and coaching your salespeople, you will accelerate their development.

Debrief the call against those objectives and what you observed.

“Live” coaching is the best way to get the information you need and accelerate the development of your people. You will take a big step in making the challenging transition from exceptional salesperson to exceptional coach.

About Linda Richardson

Linda Richardson is President and founder of, a leading sales training and consulting firm. She is a recognized leader in the sales training industry and is credited with the movement to consultative selling, which is the corner stone of Richardson’s methodology. Ms. Richardson has written 9 books on selling including her most recent, The Sales Success Handbook. She has been published extensively in industry.

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