25 Jun 2007

Sales People- What to do before you fire them?

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As a sales trainer, I run across all kinds of sales people. It takes quite a bit to find the good ones that are self motivated. I am working with a company now that has a few sales people who will not do call reports. The fact that they are not selling anything might be a “small clue” as to why they don’t put anything down in writing.

So who’s to blame? Before you say the salesperson, think again. Yes, it is true this is his responsibility but why is it a problem to begin with? Was he hired correctly? Tested? Told that this was required for the job? Who has been his mentor? Does he do it ?

As you can see there are more questions to be answered.

So here we are with the problem.

This is how I handle it. I meet with the salesperson and ask him his thoughts on doing call reports. You may be surprised at what you will hear. Anything from “I think they are a total waste of time” to “I have no problem doing them” [even though they are not doing them]

After a short visit I clearly let the salesperson know that it is a requirement not a suggestion. Then I ask them what I should be thinking as a consultant or business owner if they are not done? Again, you may be surprised at some answers. I then go on to explain that they are a benefit to him as well as the company unless he feels he does not need any help and his sales are over quota.

I then ask him how I can help him with completing this task daily. It would be nice if everyone was perfect and a self starter but that is not the case. We all need each other in one way or another but he has to want the help. And that, my freind is the secret. He has to want the help.

Now, if he agrees to the help but still does not do the call reports, he should know clearly what the outcome will be. You have a clear understanding with him.

In most cases, I have found that if a person cannot not follow simple directions and a few rules, in the long run, they will not be a good fit. By the way, to help with job fit there is a great compnay that I did some consulting for that helps you find great people and runs them through jobs tests which reduces turnover and frustrations. Go to www.super-solutions.com or call 717 291-4640. You can ask for the owner, Ira Wolfe who is a close friend of mine.

Many years ago I was a sales manager for a nice sized printing company. I was able to have some freedom on who “earned” the right to not do call reports. Actually, I hated doing them myself since most sales people hate any kind of paperwork but I went to the owner and asked to be released from this burden if I exceeded my forecast and he agreed. Then, later as a sales manager I gave the same opportunity to my guys and gals. It worked very nicely and everyone understood. Some did and some did not and I was ok with both!

I hope that helps if you are ever in this situation.

Your Friend,

Austin Helsel

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