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male sales leader in a formal office setting having a difficult yet productive performance conversation with a seller using the framework outlined in the vital conversations manager training module.

Vital Conversations

Build skills to help your management team keep coaching conversations productive even when they're delivering sensitive feedback.

Deliver sensitive feedback using a five-part structure to mitigate emotional reactions and ensure the message is clear.

The Vital Conversations training module offers a framework that helps sales managers navigate difficult performance conversations with members of their team. It lays out five key areas of focus that ensure the conversation is productive and professional.

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For Who

Sales Managers
Sales Leaders
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Virtual instructor-led
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3 hours

Reduce the Anxiety Associated with Difficult Performance Conversations

A vital conversation is what happens when the conversation gets real.

Without a model, these conversations can become emotional, contentious, and disorganized

Sometimes a sales manager needs a new approach after making multiple attempts to address an issue with a seller. These conversations are not about overall performance. Instead, they place the focus on a particular area of the seller’s work that must change.

Vital Conversations Module Overview

The Vital Conversations module prepares sales managers to engage in difficult performance conversations by focusing their efforts on five key areas:

01. Verify the Need

  • The manager evaluates the situation by asking questions including: Has this performance issue been discussed in the past? Has the change been requested? Does the behavior remain the same? Are we both frustrated?
  • The manager then assesses the type of conversation ("vital" vs "general coaching") is needed based on the answers to their evaluative questions.

02. Identify Issues

  • The manager gathers facts and data that support the existence of the issue to remove emotion and biases.
  • The manager compares the sales representative's performance that is in question against their peers.
  • The manager takes time to consider other less obvious factors that might be contributing to the problem.

03. Talk Track

  • The manager uses a Talk Track Worksheet to prepare for and execute the conversation.

04. Advice/Incubation

  • The manager allows for a period of reflection, advice, and pauses to minimize the chances of overreaction.

05. Logistics

  • The manager outlines the next steps if the behavior discussed does not change.

Module Objectives

Upon completion of the Vital Conversations module, sales managers will be better able to:

  • Describe when a VITAL conversation needs to occur
  • Describe the five components of a VITAL conversation
  • Present data to curb defensiveness from direct reports
  • Apply best practices to set and confirm expectations as well as the next steps resulting from a VITAL conversation
  • Demonstrate practice conducting a VITAL conversation
female sales leader engaging a sales rep in a productive performance improvement conversation using the skills she has built by participating in training programs from Richardson's sales management curriculum

Brochure: Sales Management Curriculum

View our full listing of sales management training programs and modules.


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