8 No-Nonsense Questions to Ask Sales Reps Who Are Not Hitting Quota

What does it take to uncover why your sales rep is not achieving their sales goal? Ask these 8 questions to find out.

The sales manager’s goal is to have 100% of their sales team consistently at or above quota. If there is a gap and one or more sales reps are not hitting their quota, then the source of the problem must be identified and fixed.

Sales Manager Philosophy

Typically, sales managers answer questions. They explain performance standards, job expectations, process guidelines, metrics, organizational structure, and so forth. They are the referees who clarify, interpret, and enforce the rules for the sales team and, as such, they are indispensable.

Sales Coach Philosophy

Sales coaches, on the other hand, ask questions. True, they partner with each salesperson with the objective of maximizing that person’s individual performance in accordance with, and as measured by, the sales manager’s rulebook.

However, where a sales manager tells an underperforming sales rep what their performance gap is and what is required of them to eliminate it, the sales coach asks questions of the rep to stimulate self-analysis, create of an improvement plan, and motivate.

When I consult with sales leaders, I hit home the idea that every coaching situation is different. Reps may have very specific needs that imply equally specific lines of questioning.

seasoned sales coach learns over time what questions work best for a given industry, company, and team. That said, you can uncover many issues behind disappointing sales results with a good set of questions like these:

8 Coaching Questions

  1. How are you acquiring your leads?
  2. What is the ratio between your number of cold calls versus new appointments?
  3. What process do you use to determine who to send a contract or proposal?
  4. What questions did you ask to uncover their perception of value?
  5. What qualifying questions do you ask?
  6. What answers are you looking for from each qualifying question?
  7. How much of your sales conversations are focused on our products and prices?
  8. What reasons do your prospects give for not buying from you?

The answers you get to these questions will enlighten you as to the philosophy, clarity and effort your sales rep has regarding the sales process.

Good sales coaches will keep these and other questions in mind when discussing performance with their salespeople. When you discover another question that leads to actionable response, add that to your list.

Asking these questions will not only help you better understand performance issues on your team, but also help your reps understand those issues for themselves and begin to acquire the ability—and the motivation—to address them on their own.