February 26

Do You Coach ‘em Up Or Out?


On a recent webinar, one of the participants asked, “How can I figure out if I should keep a salesperson on the team or…coach ‘em out?”

Not an easy question to answer. 

Because, if you keep investing time in coaching a non-coachable salesperson, you’re going to be looking dismally at missed forecasts.  And it may be at the start of creating a mediocre sales culture where below average sales performance is considered acceptable.

If you coach out a salesperson too soon, you might be missing out on that great diamond in the rough.  This is a salesperson that is a little slower on the uptake, however, once knowledge, skills and new habits are mastered, becomes a really solid producer.   

There isn’t one answer. However, there are questions you can ask to begin the process of making the important decision of:

Do I coach this salesperson up or out?

Question One:  Does this salesperson show an aptitude and positive attitude towards learning.  Sales is constantly changing which requires constant learning.

  • New vertical to open up which requires learning how to sell to new decision makers.
  • New lines of business to sell which requires learning new value propositions, responses to new objections.
  • New selling skills so you don’t look and sound like a sales dinosaur.

If you have a non-learner on your sales team, time to coach ‘em out.

Question Two:  Is this salesperson willing and able to do the work. A piece of advice I always share with sales managers is: 

Every salesperson is capable of doing the work. Working hard is within their full control. 

If your salesperson shows they are eager to learn and do the work, it’s time to invest more time in coaching and training the salesperson.  It’s time to coach them up.

Which leads to the third question.

Question Three:  Are you, Ms. Or Mr. Sales Manager the problem?  Yes, we are looking at you.  Are you investing enough time in developing your sales team? Or, are you a professional fire fighter, spending all your time in crisis mode rather than development mode? Maybe you do hold the consistent one-on-one coaching sessions with your sales team, but they’re not that effective.  During one-on-one coaching sessions, you answer emails and phone calls.  You act like you are in a call center, rather than a purposeful coaching session. Since you are only half present, you are capable of delivering only half the wisdom the salesperson needs and wants. 

Time to coach you up!

Do you coach a salesperson up or do you coach them out?  Start by asking and answering the questions above.


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