How to Empower Your Salespeople Using the 3-2-1 Coaching Method

How to Empower Your Salespeople Using the 3-2-1 Coaching Method | The Brooks Group

As sales leaders, it’s our job to coach our reps so that they’re continually improving their sales performance. Dedicating time to one-to-one sales coaching is critical, but we all know how much of our time is spent on “unscheduled” coaching – when a sales rep comes knocking on your door asking for advice about an opportunity they’re working.

It’s great if your salespeople are comfortable coming to ask you for help, but wouldn’t it be even better if you could teach them to make the right decisions on their own?

Coaching your reps to feel confident making the right move with an opportunity not only empowers them, it also frees up some valuable time on your calendar.

To empower your salespeople and keep them from knocking on your door with every issue they have, follow the 3-2-1 coaching method.  

[Note: There are many versions of the 3-2-1 coaching method or 3-2-1 performance feedback method in existence. This interpretation is something we use and find incredibly effective at The Brooks Group]

The 3-2-1 Coaching Method

3 - Have the salesperson describe the issue in 3 minutes or less

When your reps come to you with an issue, train them to describe what’s going on in 3 minutes or less. After a few instances of prompting from you to be short and sweet, they’ll learn to do this on their own.

2 - Have the salesperson offer 2 potential solutions to the issue

Resist the urge to immediately respond to the issue with what you think is the best solution. Instead, ask your salesperson to offer 2 solutions that they think could work.

1 - Have the salesperson tell you which 1 solution they think is the best option

Of the two solutions they provided, ask them which they think is the best option—and why. If you agree with this choice, let them know. If you feel it’s not the best option, communicate that along with your reasoning. 

Why the 3-2-1 Method is So Effective

Training your reps to approach you in this way is incredibly effective for a couple of reasons:

  • Firstly, it’s a very efficient use of your time and your sales reps’ time – both of which are a valuable commodity. Using the 3-2-1 method sends the message that you’re always willing to offer help, but that the best way to approach you is to be brief, be bright, and be gone.
  • Secondly—and maybe more important—using this coaching method allows you to evaluate the decision-making skills of your reps on a regular basis. If you see that they’re consistently choosing the option that you feel is best, you can be confident that they’ll make deliberate and educated decisions on their own.

After you’ve seen a salesperson solve an issue on their own enough times, you can tell them:

“You know what, I trust your judgement. You got this.”

That trust and vote of confidence from a sales leader is very empowering for a rep. They’ll begin to feel more confident when handling tricky situations on their own, and that confidence will come across during every interaction they have with prospects and customers.


Sales coaching conversations are one of the most effective tools a sales leader has in his or her toolbelt. When your entire sales team is following a standard sales process like IMPACT Selling, conversations are direct and to the point – giving your reps the guidance they need to be successful and saving your team valuable time.

Here’s what one of The Brooks Group’s clients has to say about IMPACT:

IMPACT Selling Testimonial


Click here to learn more about IMPACT and request a consultation to see how the world-renown sales process can set your sales team up for long-term success.

You may also enjoy this short webinar:

6 Tips to Boost Your Sales Team’s Confidence and Improve Their Performance


Anita Greenland

Anita Greenland is the Chief Experience Officer at The Brooks Group, where she brings 25+ years of customer service, sales, sales management, and sales training experience. In her role, Anita is responsible for leading and executing The Brooks Group’s sales growth strategy.

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