blog - coachableFrom interviewing and managing 1000s of salespeople over 20 years I have interviewed for activity levels, self-starter, integrity, confidence, charisma, determination, thick skin, a positive attitude – all great qualities, but one thing I have found to be vital is “coachability”.

I see a direct correlation between athletic performance coaching and sales performance coaching from observing many years of sports coaching as my son progressed as a quarterback in junior high and high school to obtaining over 40 offers to play quarterback in college. I purchased a fast twitch training program that is one of five in the country that can increase speed and agility performance in significant measurable results in six weeks. The measurable results displayed that all the talent in the world doesn’t matter if the athlete is not coachable. I have found the same experience in interviewing, training and managing sales guys.

Coachability should be an integral part of the screening process to ensure that you are recruiting a solid sales force.

A small percentage of athletes are the exception – the ‘naturals’ – who will succeed on the playing field no matter what. In the sales arena, those ‘naturals’ are your self-reliant, driven, persevering, top-performers. While some may want coaching, a greater percentage of these guys may already recognize the importance of being flexible and trying different strategies, so they may not need additional coaching.

However, I have found that, just like athletes, the vast majority of sales reps need coaching. So, how do you determine just how ‘coachable’ your potential sales reps are? I typically ask probing questions in the interview such as What proactive measures do you take on a regular basis to sharpen your sales skills? I also want to know about the candidate’s biggest sale, and what he did to win the customer’s business.

I am especially interested in the candidate’s description of a time when he lost a sale and what he learned from the experience.

Additionally, I want to know what this sales guy has learned, and implemented, from sales seminars. If he can explain to me the impact that has had on his sales, then I know he is able to evaluate his own performance and that he is ultimately ‘coachable’.

Whether independently, or through coaching, you need sales guys that are always working toward sharpening their selling skills. This doesn’t mean that all of your reps will always need to be “coachable”, as there will always be that small percentage of ‘gifted’ individuals who will already possess the experience needed, and they will be able to make the magic happen almost effortlessly.

As for the rest of the sales team, coachability is vital to their success. I specialize in training sales teams, speaking at conferences as well as utilizing Reverse Engineering to procure top performers. We prefer to partner with our clients and take responsibility for the quality of our candidates by offering a Lifetime Warranty Program that can be customized to assist you in meeting your challenges and goals and oh yes to facilitate your hitting your annual bonuses!

Contact The Oxford Group, to book speaking engagements on a variety of topics that range from Sales, Hiring, Training, Executive Recruitment, Growing Startups, Turnarounds, M&A, International Growth, Technology Growth, The Cloud, Telecommunications, and Offshore Outsourcing.

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