How to Help Underperforming Salespeople

There are a lot of people that are simply not good at sales. Perhaps they could be good under the right circumstances, but sales is often a sink-or-swim career. It really depends on what the salesperson is willing to do to achieve her goals just as much as the support she receives from her company. The fact is, no one wants to fail in their sales career. Deep down, every salesperson wants to be thought of as one of the top performers. Every salesperson wants to achieve some level of success. So why is it that so many salespeople fit in the category of ‘underperforming’ and what can be done to correct this? 

Most people wait too long to call attention to a poor-performing salesperson. They tend to appear in environments where accountability is limited, processes are absent, goals are ignored and leadership is weak. The trick is to catch the issues before it is too late and do an investigation before you jump to conclusions. What does the underperforming salesperson tell you the issue is? What does the sales data tell you or what trends do you see? What does their process tell you? What do the goals and results tell you? Once you find the defect, there are a few ways to coach the salesperson back to the path of success. 

  1. Affirm the pipeline – Does the salesperson have enough qualified leads and prospects to work on? Are they focused on the right types of accounts and customers?
  2. Affirm the activities – Is the salesperson doing enough of the right activities in the right way to generate results? Are they over-focusing on one method and ignoring another one? Does it match what other successful salespeople do?
  3. Roleplay – Salespeople will tell you one thing, but when you roleplay real scenarios, you will find out very quickly what they are actually doing if you run it the whole way through. It is very difficult for any salesperson to hide their habits when it is time for roleplaying. This creates great coaching opportunities.
  4. Attend presentations – And listen to phone calls as well. This also creates really good coaching opportunities. Find out where the defect is, help them to see it, and give them an action to correct it.
  5. Listen to the customers – They will tell you what the salesperson is doing right and wrong. Share all of that feedback with the salesperson. Some of it may be difficult to hear, but it will create a pathway for them to grow.

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