3 Things to Focus on for Consistent Rep Improvement

3 Things All Sales Managers Should Focus on for Consistent Rep Improvement

Last month, Bobbi Kahler published an article, How We Sabotage Change by the Way We Coach. One of the saboteurs that she talked about is “Diverting Focus to Soon.” 

Sales managers often have questions during ASLAN’s coaching process as to what they should be doing during this time. It’s a great question and worth a deeper dive, so here goes.

Once you and the rep have landed on a developmental area and a plan, you want to continue to coach so that you both stay focused. How do you do that? 

There are three things sales managers should direct their attention to:

1.      Progress. When someone is tackling change, if we want them to stay motivated, we need to help them see their progress. Dan Pink talked about this as being one of the keys to intrinsic motivation in his great book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.  In addition, what Bobbi has observed over the past 11 years in coaching as many people as she has, is that most people are remarkably hard on themselves and they expect to change overnight. It usually doesn’t happen that way. 

 If they don’t see progress, discouragement will kill change.

 2.      Adaptation. As someone is trying out a new behavior, they often need to make some tweaks. Here’s a simple approach to this part of the conversation: get them to reflect on when it’s working and when, if at all, it doesn’t work as expected. For those times when it isn’t working as expected, help them explore where the break down is happening and why.

For example, Bobbi was coaching someone who was trying out new discovery questions. They were good questions and they were – usually – working well. When Bobbi asked her if there were any times when they didn’t work as she expected, she replied, “Yes. There are just some customers who don’t want to answer.” Her next question was, “That’s okay. Tell me more about those customers.” After talking for a few minutes, she landed on the customers who weren’t as open, tended to be much more task-oriented. She immediately realized how she could have phrased the questions a little differently for those types of customers.

If we don’t help them adapt, they often give up.

3.      Impact. People want to know that they are working on something that matters to them. Throughout the journey of change, we want them to see that their hard work is paying off. The simplest way to help them see impact is to ask: How is this helping you? Variations include: “How is this helping you achieve your goal?” “How is this changing your conversations with clients/prospects?” or “How is this new approach helping your customers?” 

If they don’t see the benefit, they’ll eventually back slide into old habits.

By having a conversation in these three areas, you can help the person you are coaching stay focused, committed and, most importantly, motivated.

One of our Senior Consultants here at ASLAN, Bobbi is passionate about instilling the gift of hope, knowledge, and assurance that anyone can be more successful and fulfilled if they choose to. Find her on LinkedIn.

Leave a Comment


The best way to get to know us is to know what we value. If we teach it we live it, because what we do speaks far more eloquently than what we say. We’ll always choose people over profits, and we’re most fulfilled and effective when we serve. It drives our culture, frames our training programs and transforms the lives of the clients we partner with.