J Patrick + Associates Blog

A Brief Debrief! The Best Way For a Sales Engineer To Improve

Posted by Elissa Jane Mastel on Fri, Mar 18, 2011 @ 12:13 PM

by special guest contributor John Care, Author of Mastering Technical Sales

I’m constantly amazed at how little time most Sales Engineers put into a debrief after the sales call. It’s strange when you compare it to the amount of preparation that actually goes in before the call.

There are two really good reasons why a structured debrief is worth your time. Firstly, you can determine if you hit the mark during the call, figure out next steps and make any necessary strategy changes – that’s all standard sales 101. Secondly, it’s the only way you can improve your professional skills – by obtaining and then acting on feedback. I’m going to focus on the feedback mechanism because a “the demo went great” really doesn’t help you get any better.

If you’ve ever attended one of my Mastering Technical Sales workshops you’ve been exposed to the T3-B3-N3 model of getting constructive feedback. I routinely use this both to give and receive feedback. So here it is..


T3 – Top 3

What are the top three things I did in the sales call that I should repeat every time I’m in that kind of situation?

B3 – Bottom 3

What are the three things I did in the sales call that I should never do again?

N3 – Next 3

What are three things I didn’t even do in the sales call that I should consider including next time?


It’s a non-threatening collection of positive reinforcement, constructive feedback and new ideas mixed in with a little “don’t do that”. Now you need to take notes, try to get specific examples (my example: “When you interrupt the customer before he finishes asking his question it shows a lack of respect and professionalism. Next time pause and count to two before you answer”) and if appropriate, put a plan in place to fix or to reinforce the behavior. Then follow-up with that person within a few weeks – that way they will give you some more feedback once they know you are listening to them.

Feedback is a gift, and together with learning more about your own solution, it’s the #1 way you have of improving. You may not always like what you hear, but it is still a gift.

So after the next sales call – if you want more than “you did good”, try the T3-B3-N3 approach and see what happens!

mastering technical salesJohn Care (john@masteringtechnicalsales.com) is Managing Director of Mastering Technical Sales, a consulting company dedicated to improving the professional skills and capabilities of pre-sales organizations worldwide. For more information on this and other Sales Engineering topics, or to sign up for the newsletter visit the website at www.masteringtechnicalsales.com.





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