Great sales coaches are the critical multiplier for sales performance, and open-ended questions are one of the most powerful tools in the coaching toolbox.
Coaching does not tell salespeople what they should be doing, but helps them to discover it themselves. When salespeople discover their own needs, goals, strategies, weaknesses, and strengths, they become invested in execution on those discoveries.
Open-ended questions are one of the most effective ways to help salespeople make these discoveries, and they can be used in every type of coaching session, and at multiple levels of change.
Here is a sampling of more than 63 open-ended sales coaching questions every manager should be equipped with.
Sales coaches should help their salespeople understand the company’s sales strategy, and to align their personal strategy with it so that they feel ownership and responsibility to it. These nine open-ended questions can help.
Building skills and improving team attitudes is an important aspect of sales coaching. These nine questions can help.
Pipeline coaching helps salespeople become clear about the actual state of their pipeline, and develop strategies for improving it. Here are nine questions that can help.
When coaching salespeople on individual opportunities and account growth planning, these nine questions can help.
Call planning sessions can help prepare salespeople to make the most of each conversation, especially on key accounts. Here are nine open-ended questions for coaches to ask.
Neurolinguistic programming (NLP) identifies six levels of change that can impact performance and behavior. The easiest level to change is environment, and the hardest is purpose. The harder levels are also the most impactful.
When coaching salespeople, sometimes problem areas can be addressed by understanding what levels of change would improve performance, and then asking open-ended questions about that level. Here are some examples of questions that can help salespeople identify problems in their environment and make necessary changes.
The next level of change in NLP is behavior. Here are questions that can help with this layer of change.
Capabilities are the next level of potential change, and these questions can help.
Beliefs and values can be very hard to change, but the right changes can create major positive shifts in performance. These questions can help.
The second hardest, and second-most-impactful, level of change is changes to a person’s sense of identity. Asking these questions can help salespeople begin to shift their sense of identity to one that is more supportive of their success.
The highest level of change in NLP is purpose. It is very difficult to get anyone to change their sense of purpose. Yet, it can also be powerful when the shift helps align the person to what they want to accomplish. Here are some questions to help.
Open-ended questions are one of the most powerful tools in a sales coach’s arsenal. I hope this list helps your coaches have more effective coaching conversations. Are there any you would add to the list? I’d love to hear about it.
George is the founder & CEO of Membrain, the Sales Enablement CRM that makes it easy to execute your sales strategy. A life-long entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in the software space and a passion for sales and marketing. With the life motto "Don't settle for mainstream", he is always looking for new ways to achieve improved business results using innovative software, skills, and processes. George is also the author of the book Stop Killing Deals and the host of the Stop Killing Deals webinar and podcast series.
Find out more about George Brontén on LinkedIn