Written by Frédéric Lucas. This was originally posted by our OMG Partner affiliate in Canada, Prima Ressource and has been translated from French with minor adaptation.

Effective implementation of a consultative sales approach means asking lots of questions. The art of query is a skill that sales managers should also develop to be more effective at coaching their sales team.

Asking lots of questions is rarely a natural ability in people, even among journalists! It’s a skill that is developed through practice and learning.


Your role as manager should lead you to coach your team and ask questions. Here are four strategies to help you.

Strategy # 1: Challenge

During meetings with salespeople, managers can become complacent in their coaching and tend to recite the same questions mechanically. For example, surface questions about priorities and current opportunities are usually at the heart of the discussion, without digging for the relevant information under the surface.

Tip: Before the next meeting with your sales team set a goal to ask at least three questions on the same opportunity and to test at least one lead per salesperson.

Strategy # 2: Assimilate New Questions

At regular intervals, on a weekly basis, for example, make a list of some new questions that you can incorporate into your coaching.

Remember these relevant questions and then find opportunities to ask and repeat. After a few days, the new issues will be incorporated into your coaching habits, and they will become routine.

By varying the questions, it is easier to approach the sales process from new angles and reveal new information about opportunities for your salespeople.

This approach will introduce new elements that will also lead salespeople to improve their implementation on the ground, to provide you with the answers during subsequent coaching sessions.

Strategy # 3: Address Irregularities

In the same vein, it is important to test the responses of your salespeople. It is not enough to ask more questions and get more answers. We must have a critical ear and challenge ourselves to identify gaps in the salesperson’s discourse.
Be more careful. By testing your sales team’s information, you will be able to identify the steps of the sales process in which each salesperson needs coaching.


Strategy # 4: Read Regularly

As a sales manager, you should read at least one book in connection with sales or management of sales per month.

First, continuing education is an indispensable tool for professional development. Also, maintaining a good level of reading skill allows for greater efficiency in your role as coach.

Reading stimulates thinking and helps to explore new facets of the profession and to identify new focus areas. These readings can highlight issues that would never have been raised without them. Besides, your coaching will certainly be colored by the books you read.

Why ask more questions during coaching?

Combining these four strategies for more questions, you can get quick gains on several levels. You will be challenging concepts that representatives take for granted.
The implementation of more effective coaching allows fewer wasted opportunities, shortens the sales cycle and increases the reliability of sales forecasts.

Do you believe you have mastered the art of query? If not, what is holding you back?

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