As a consultant and sales trainer, one of my biggest frustrations is seeing commissioned salespeople waste their time. When I arrive at a new office, most people are on their best behaviour. After a few hours or even days, however, normal, daily habits and routines begin to emerge. Instead of making sales calls, producers now drink coffee in groups. Time that should have been spent on proposals is being wasted reading newspapers or surfing the Internet.
A large part of my job involves changing bad habits. Sometimes I see dramatic improvements in sales results by helping my staff to focus on their goals and finding ways to reach them. You might not have the budget or time to hire me right now.
For a number of reasons, I believe it is a good idea to let one of your worst salespeople go.
This is not advice to fire someone at will. If an employee is fired, there are severe legal and personal consequences. If a producer has a history of not producing consistently, this is the time to show leadership and make room for them on your sales team.
Research over decades has shown that salespeople are most motivated by money, or the things they can get. It doesn’t matter how you pay your salespeople, but it might work to motivate them to open new accounts. The carrot works better than the stick when it comes to selling. Give them reasons to go out and conquer the world.
Begin a field trip with your sales team.
No matter where you are, the best salespeople will work hard. Your middle-of the-road salespeople will be motivated to work hard knowing that you will be there to help them. It is a good idea to go along with your team on sales calls once in a while. It can be motivating to pay more attention and might result in greater insights.
Find out the root causes of your problems.
Sometimes the problem isn’t that sales people don’t want to sell or lack motivation. It could be that they are lacking a crucial skill such as closing or qualifying. You can identify patterns by following sales calls and debriefing your team when prospects are not coming to you. You can help them identify areas that are weak. This will lead to more sales and greater motivation. This is the type of positive feedback loop that you want to encourage.
Salespeople who are a waste of time and energy can be likened to tying an anchor around the department’s budget. It is essential to have hungry producers that are always looking for new business. These are my top tips and you may be able find them in your current sales team.