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Sales Call Debriefing


Written by Eric Fry for the Nova Scotia Business Journal

As a manager, how often do you debrief each of your salesperson’s calls together?

A good debrief is a two-way dialogue wrapped in positives with most of the questions coming from the manager. It is a systematic process intended to follow whichever selling system.

Good debriefing allows the manager to understand the progress made with the prospect and how the salesperson performed in the sales call. For managers, the debriefing process is a great coaching and education opportunity. Your questions and discussions should uncover any instances in which the salesperson went off course or neglected an integral part of the sales process. For example, how effectively did the salesperson set up-front contracts with the prospect? How thoroughly did the salesperson identify the prospect’s pain and budget? Did the salesperson end the sales call with a clear understanding of what would happen next? The answers to these questions will give you critical information about the salesperson’s behavior, attitudes, and technique.

How might you conduct a sales call debrief? All too often, what passes for a debriefing is little more than a casual, uninformative conversation on the fly between salesperson and sales manager. You know how they go – you run into the salesperson in the hallway and ask, “By the way, what happened in your meeting the other day with ABC?” The information exchange is limited to what the salesperson can remember off the cuff and what he/she wants to reveal. In order to be effective, debriefing sessions must occur regularly and be well planned. The following tips can help your debriefings be more informative:

  • Have a set time for the meeting and a format, and your salespeople must agree to “full disclosure” about events that occurred during the sales call.
  • Be prepared with questions and a knowledge of where the salesperson is in the sales process – and what information he/she should have and which objectives are accomplished.
  • Your lead question could be, “What happens next?” This way, you can find out immediately what the outcome of the meeting was. Also, it prompts the salesperson to give an objective account of the conclusion of the sales call, rather than a blow-by-blow retelling that may not be relevant.

The goal is to let your sales team learn a system for debriefing, so they are able to do it themselves, and learn from their mistakes. Conducting regular, systematic sales call debriefings will give you the information you need to better manage your salespeople, your numbers and your department.

©2012 Sandler Training Inc. ( is an international sales and management training/consulting firm. To attend a free training session call the Sandler Training at 902-468-0787 or e-mail

Eric Fry

Sandler trainer