Three Proven Methods To Turn Around Your Sales Underachievers

May 7th, 2010

sales people holding a clockYou got ‘em. We all have ‘em.

They’re the reps who no matter how hard they try, they just can’t make quota.

Something’s got to be done – and fast. These guys are killing your company’s sales performance. When dealing with underperforming sales people, you can’t delay.

When it comes to sales underachievers, your sales managers need to stop fighting the war and focus on the battle.

In this sales training we give you three ways to take the first steps to turning around your sales underachievers:

1. Focus on rewarding the “smaller” things. Highlight the small steps that might lead to a sale. If the sales manager waits until the actual sale is in the door before they start acknowledging any positive efforts, then this is a missed opportunity.

For example, the sales manager could praise the sales person for showing good probing techniques, for preparing a commendable opening statement, maintaining a solid rapport with other office staff, making good use of sales data, etc.

2. Praise specifically. With an underperforming sales rep, praise all the basic stuff at first. A simple “Good job” is okay…but the more specific, the better.

The sales manager should tell them: “I really loved the say you started that last sales call – you asked very specific, non-threatening probing questions and they just opened right up and told you what their issues are – excellent job”.

3. “Approximately right” is alright. The sales rep may not have reached the real goal yet, but by praising them all along the way to “exactly right” by praising them for doing things “approximately right”, this works wonders in enhancing confidence and instilling optimism in a sales rep who being an underacheiver, may be lacking both.

If the sales manager withholds praise for only when they do things exactly right, then the opportunity is lost. The point is to simply get the underperforming salesperson moving in the direction of success. And the sales manager can do this by

Getting underperforming salespeople on the track to success sometimes is just that simple – when small techniques like this are used consistently, the results will start to come.

Focus on the small everyday battles and your sales managers will start to win the war.

To learn even more about sales training, get our free ebook.

Tell me what you think by leaving a comment below.

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3 Responses to “Three Proven Methods To Turn Around Your Sales Underachievers”

  1. Jim Hughes says:

    Not bad! I am very impressed with your marketing and web site. However, I am not that impressed with this content.

    First, you make a big deal about “5 Super Easy Techniques,” and then you share only 3.

    Then, from what I can tell, all three of them are pretty much the same thing.

    If someone asked me, or if I was marketing the answer to your point of discussion I would list the following things.

    1) Managing/coaching/developing an underperformer is not any different then managing a top performer in process.
    2) The key in all situations is to jointly diagnose the strengths and key development areas. Obviously for the underperformer, the top 2 items may be much more of an impact on their performance then the top performer.
    3) It’s up to the manager to help choose the areas of development that need change immediatly.
    4) Coach and develop as always with positive feedback and developmental feedback. Remember the phrase-”Provide positive feedback and developmental feedback with equal dispatch!”
    5) If you have done this and there is no improvement then start the warning and dismisal process. DON’T hang on to non performers too long. But it is up to you to determine if it is something that can be fixed by leartning and practicing, or if you try as hard as you can, and the fix does not appear to be anytime soon.
    Good Selling!

    One Man’s Opinion.

  2. S Srinivas says:

    It\’s really true that many of the sales persons are in want of appreciation as most of the times this simple thing of patting is ignored by the sales managers or supervisors.

  3. Ralph says:

    Hey Jim,
    Great comment! Thanks for the excellent feedback. Agreed that this post simplifies the entire process which would be too long for one blog post. I agree with all your points except #1. With an underperformer, you have to quickly assess whether the rep will or will not make it based on objective analysis: observation in field selling situations, comparison versus peer group, raw obveservable talent and performance versus company standards. The approach to take for a under performer would be far different than that of a top performer in that after assessing areas of improvement in that after the above analysis is completed, the next step in the turnaround process is to create confidence – which in an underperformer is severely lacking in most cases. The 3 techniques we share here are ways to improve the salespersons confidence to start them towards what could be either a turn around (hopefully) or a formalized performance improvement process (unfortunately). We also touch on other ways to create confidence in the subsequent posts. The 5 techniques at the head of this post simply refer to the free ebook giveaway on motivation, just fyi.

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