What sales coaching and a dinner date have in common

What sales coaching and a dinner date have in common

Here is what a dinner date with four personality types and sales coaching software have in common.

Story time to set the scene:

Imagine you are a waiter at a high-end steak house in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. 

Let’s say it is Kevin Rathbun Steak. 

The hostess just sat a group of four in your section. 

They look like young, successful professionals out to celebrate a recent success. 

You are running the nightly special through your head as you approach the table. 

“Welcome to Kevin Rathbun steak, can I get you started with some drinks?”

Drinks are ordered, appetizers are served and the time comes for you to take entree orders. 

“So, what will we be ordering for dinner tonight?” 

A woman sitting to your left quickly jumps in “I will have the 8oz filet, the sweet corn, and mashed potatoes. Oh, and before you ask I will have the carrot cake for dessert later.” 

She then almost shoves the menu back into your un-ready hand which is still jotting down her rapid-fire order. 

The gentleman in the number three spot begins to ask questions, most of which you are not prepared to answer. 

“How many calories are in the ribeye? Do you know how many days it was dry-aged? What about the sweet potato fries, do you use corn or canola oil to fry them? Do you have an option for avocado oil?” 

Before you have a chance to process the questions, he has his phone out and has already found the answers on Google for himself. 

“I will have the rib eye, cooked to medium rare plus, the sweet potato fries but only 50% crispy, and the asparagus since it is in season.”

Armed with the information he needed, he knew what he wanted. 

From appearances, the older gentleman sitting to your far right is likely the leader and is definitely the oldest in the group. He turns to the table behind him, “What do y’all recommend?” 

Unsatisfied with the excitement in their response, he asks a couple trying to depart if they liked their dinner and, if so, what they ordered. He finally places his order only after drawing the attention of nearly half the restaurant. 

“New York steak with a plain baked potato.” All of that, for that.

Last but not least, the other woman in seat two. She has been quiet, observing, and seems to be very deep in thought about the order. She opens her mouth to speak, and then pulls back. 

She orders the new york steak, sweet potato fries, and sweet corn. She picked one item from each of the other people at the table.


What the heck does this have to do with Sales Coaching? 

Well, let’s look at onboarding for your sales reps. What is the easiest way to describe personality types and what your team will face on any given day?

Did that story not resonate with you?

People remember stories.

I was told this story nine years ago when I was onboarding as an SDR and it is still the best way anyone can explain personality types.

Sales coaching is tough.

Sales reps have a lot on their plate. Teaching them how to respond to different personalities is part art and part science. Just like sales.

Let’s break it down even further to translate how you can become a better sales coach.

The dominant woman knew what she wanted before she was asked for it. 

The analytical gentleman only ordered after he had every detail needed to make an informed decision. 

The expressive man had succeeded in drawing enough attention to himself at which point he then placed his order. 

The amiable woman, not wanting to offend anyone with a unique selection or draw attention to herself, picked one dish from each of the other people at the table. 

When your SDRs are talking to each personality type on the phone, their behavior needs to change.

Avoiding the square peg, round hole with your sales coaching

Imagine you are trying to sell accounting software to an accountant or bookkeeper. 

As the sales rep, you have more of a dominant-leaning personality.

Accountants (making an assumption here) are generally found to be more aligned with an analytical personality type. 

Does the square peg, round hole metaphor ring a bell here? 

A dominant sales rep will do their best to get a contract signed as quickly as possible, often ignoring (not intentionally) the little details. 

The prospect will want all the details, often not wanting to rush at all just to make sure the best decision is made. Sound misaligned?

This is where your sales coaching comes in.

Educating your team about personality types and the different cues that lead to each will help them be more successful from the beginning. 

This is absolutely the easiest way to move the needle in your organization, and it’s often the most forgotten.

Bringing this all together

Take a step back and look at the type of sales coaching you do each week.

Are you using sales coaching software to help when your team is overwhelmed?

Or are you meeting individually with reps to cover the same things each week?

Progress can be made with little changes. 

Start with a story. Give your team the ability to relate with someone in the story and they will remember it even more so. 

Need help with sales coaching? We have quite a few resources that you can benefit from.

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Building an anti-fragile sales team

How to handle your A, B, C, and D reps