Coaching Salespeople: Here’s the #1 Obstacle for Sellers

When it comes to coaching salespeople, it’s important to know and understand the obstacles that stand in their way.

Many salespeople struggle with the following:

  • Poor (or no) prospecting process
  • The wrong focus
  • Not asking the right questions
  • Not having a consistent, powerful process for following up after a meeting
  • Not learning from each other and not sharing best selling practices

Let’s face it: salespeople don’t have it easy. Selling is hard work. It takes a clever combination of strategy, planning, process, and technique to see success.

Wait a second—all this talk about how hard it is to sell sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

That’s right, it sounds like I’m spouting a little bit of head trash.

Want to know the number ONE obstacle salespeople face?


Head Trash Criteria for Success

What is head trash?

Here is what Charles Bernard has to say about head trash:


Charles: We squash this. Anyone know what this is called?

Audience: Head trash

Charles: Head trash. We call that head trash. You know people say to me, “you know you’ve been talking to a lot of salespeople, right? What do you think the number one obstacle is for salespeople to overcome?’

It’s not rejection.

It’s not hard work.

It’s head trash.

It’s what you think about what you’re doing.

So, we have this philosophy that says if you listen to all that stuff, it will stop you. You can have it, we all have it. It’s that little voice in our head.

Right now the one that’s saying “what little voice?” That little voice.

So that little voice is going, “I’m not good enough.”

Studies have shown that voice is predominately negative, critical.

The thing to do is to not act from your head trash. It’s to have head trash, not to listen to it. Not to act from it. It’s to have it.

“Oh, I kind of suck right now.” Okay, I get that, it’s my head trash. But, what I do matters more than what I say. So what you say is really not important, it’s what you do.

Coaching Salespeople: Squashing Head Trash

Now you know: head trash is the #1 obstacle for sellers.

How can sales management go about coaching salespeople out of head trash?

1. Recognize It

They say the first step to recovery is recognizing the problem.

  • “I’m not prepared”
  • “I’m never going to close this deal”
  • “I don’t feel like selling today”
  • “I’m exhausted”
  • “I wish I was at the beach today”

So, start off by coaching salespeople about the truth: we all have head trash. Everyone has that little negative voice spouting something.

2. Account for It

Encourage your sales team to not just own head trash, but to account for it.

What does this mean? Be accountable. Have your salespeople come to you or pair them with another team member to help keep their head trash in check.

When I worked as a direct sales rep, I had a TON of head trash.

Every day was a new struggle, and my manager knew it. He didn’t want to let head trash get the best of me, so said that anytime I felt like it was impacting my day beyond repair, to call him.

Every time I’d call, he’d take what I’d say and turn it into a positive. After a few days, I didn’t need to call anymore—I got what he was doing.

Help your salespeople succeed by flipping negatives into positives!

3. Prevent It

Did you know that you can actually help prevent head trash for your salespeople?

Well, certainly not “I’m having a bad hair day” or “I hate my outfit.” But, you can help with head trash that’s associated with the sales process.

If your salespeople encounter a lot of pushbacks and objections from clients—be proactive. Create a foolproof process for handling pushbacks and objections.

If your salespeople are feeling unmotivated because the leads they’re working rarely convert to customers—be proactive. Create a process for prospecting that provides them with the best possible leads.

In all you do, be aware. Head trash can make or break a salesperson. Don’t let it! Coaching salespeople to overcome head trash will help you strengthen your team and discover success.
Free eBook: How to Crush Head Trash

By | 2017-07-18T12:19:58+00:00 April 14th, 2016|Sales Leaders, Sales Success|2 Comments

About the Author:

Rebecca Smith is the Director of Marketing at Criteria for Success. She writes about sales, sales leadership, social selling best practices, time management, and anything related to helping others discover success. Be sure to say hi on Twitter @RebeckerSmith.


  1. Barry Hall April 14, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Don’t be shy, negative or rash, or a salesman ready to crash, just get rid of that HEAD TRASH.
    As usual great post. Many thanks -Barry.

    • Rebecca Smith April 18, 2016 at 11:49 am - Reply

      Love the comment, Barry! Thanks for reading!

Leave A Comment