3 Important Questions to Ask When Hiring a Sales Coach

Asian woman on a mobile phone asking important questions when hiring a sales coach.

When you’re in sales, time is money.  And when it’s time to spend your money on a sales coach, it’s best to ask the right questions upfront.  Hiring managers often want to know things available on the sales coach’s website.  They ask about experience, where the coach has worked, and fees.  These are valid questions but should be asked in follow-up meetings.  The first call should focus on qualifying the coach and learning about their secret sauce to teach salespeople to be more effective.  If you need to start interviewing candidates, keep reading to learn the three important questions to ask when hiring a sales coach.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Real World Example

I recently got a call from a former colleague asking about my sales coaching services.  They were asking a lot of questions about my experience and trying to determine if I would be a good fit to coach their team.  After the call, I thought about the conversation and the questions I would have asked if I was in the market to hire a sales coach.  I would spend less time asking about things the coach has done and more on what they will do for my team.  Years of experience don’t matter much if the coach can’t teach my team to lead constructive sales calls.  Furthermore, our sales philosophies must align.  So, while the call went well, and we scheduled follow-up calls, I wondered what questions are more important on the first call to a sales coach.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Sales Coach

1. What do you think is the most effective sales approach?

This should be the first question on an initial call.  There are many approaches to sales, and all can be successful.  Some salespeople take a hard-sell approach, others use a consultation approach, and others successfully use a relationship-selling tack.  A good sales coach is versed in all types of sales approaches and can help salespeople become more effective, regardless of the approach. 

Their years of experience will give them their perspective on each approach, and they will lean toward their favorite.  The coach’s favorite approach is the one you want them to use with your team.  And that approach must align with the company’s approach.  If the company likes the hard sell, but the coach likes the relationship approach, it’s a bad fit.  Asking this question first will help to narrow the field of coaches for consideration.

2. What will you teach my team to be more effective in the field?

Cartoon of salesman scaling window to connect with a customer.

This question is the most important one to ask when qualifying a sales coach.  That’s because it speaks to the sales process itself and to specific skills that the coach will share with your team.  Those skills should improve the quality of their sales calls and drive a better closing ratio for each team member. 

The answer to this question will tell you which stage of the sales process the coach focuses on.  If the answer includes skills associated with effective closing, that’s the coach’s focus.  If the skills get used for sales meeting prep or lead qualification, then those are the skills they will learn.  Most sales organizations provide training, and it often focuses on the product or service they sell.  Salespeople need in-depth knowledge of their products to position them against the competition and close sales.  The other steps in the sales journey are often overlooked.  So you want to hire a coach that focuses on the skills you don’t have.   

3. How will you help my team connect with the customer?

The most successful salespeople connect with their customers.  There is a transactional connection that has to take place.  This connection gives the customer the confidence that the seller will deliver their goods, services, and promises.  If you sell the best products at the lowest prices in your industry, this may be the only connection you need.  But most industries are competitive, and transactional connections are not enough.  To get a more-than-your-fair share of sales, your sellers must connect on personal levels too. 

In an article on relationship selling published on everyonesocial.com, “In B2B, 68% of customers are lost because of indifference or perceived apathy, not because of mistakes.”  That means there is a weak or no relationship between the buyer and seller.  Asking how a coach will help salespeople better connect with sellers is critical if you want to grow your sales and blow past your revenue goals.

Conclusion to Questions to Ask When Hiring a Sales Coach

The quickest way to qualify a potential sales coach is by asking the right questions in the first call or meeting.  Instead of asking about things found on a website, ask these three important questions instead. 

  • What’s your favorite sales approach?
  • What skills will you teach my team?
  • How will you help my team connect with the customer?

Once you have the answers to these questions, you will know if the coach will be a good fit with your organization.  If so, then use follow-up meetings to delve deeper into their experience and ask for references.  Matt Pearson of Matt Pearson Consulting has experience with all sales approaches.  He can teach sales teams a variety of skill sets, from prospecting to cold calling and overcoming objections to closing.  And best of all, Matt’s coaching is hands-on and in the field.  That way, your team gets real-world experience and real-world results. 

Matt Pearson Consulting is a sales coaching organization focused on making an immediate and long-term impact for its clients.  Matt helps salespeople close more sales and achieve their professional goals.  His decades-long career coaching sales reps and owning businesses makes him an ideal coach and mentor.  Matt likes working with salespeople in the field, presenting to actual clients, closing real sales, and impacting the top line.  For more information about Matt or to book him to coach your team, contact him at 727-251-2169.