Are your people growing or just repeating the same year again and again?
You’ll certainly have encountered the phenomenon of the multiple ‘year-one’ salesperson before, but are you nurturing such people more than you should? Sales is a unique career for the number of participants who believe it’s perfectly valid to keep repeating the same process over and over in the hope of miraculously new and better results, or who distressingly don’t realise that’s all they’re doing as they continue chipping away. Ask these questions if you want to resolve that:
Are they learning?
A sure sign that a salesperson is willing to make the move – up the ladder into management, or sideways into bigger accounts with more complex challenges – is their level of commitment to learning. Those who are always asking questions are making a statement that their current level of knowledge isn’t sufficient to them. Those people are your gems because the more someone wants to learn, the more they and the environment around them will grow.
Beware those who are satisfied with their way of doing things. Even though they might be highly successful today, they are more likely than not to fall behind in the future.
Are they complaining?
It gets tiring to hear people complain. But have you ever thought that those people might be the real champs in your organisation? If people don’t like their workplace, they are welcome to leave. Those that choose to remain, yet complain about the way things are, are often doing so because they see opportunities for improvement. Rather than telling them to shut up and stop moaning, give them the opportunity to make some of the changes they believe need to happen. You may be surprised at how they grow with that responsibility.
Beware those who never complain about anything. Anyone who is willing to just accept everything probably isn’t thinking about the long term.
Are they accepting responsibility?
In year one, you might find that a salesperson may blame systems, procedures, traffic, Telkom or anything they can think of for failure to nail a customer, reach a target, or develop a list of qualified leads. But if they are still doing that a year or two later, you have to know there is a problem. Sales is about innovating and anyone who wants to succeed will have asked themselves at some point: “how can I influence this?” A sure sign of growth is the acceptance of personal responsibility for outcomes.
Beware those who hide behind excuses. They are not committed to finding better ways to influence their own success.
Are you pushing them?
Not every salesperson who is failing to advance is doing so willingly or with disdain. Many of them just don’t know what it is they’re supposed to do. As their sales leader you have among the hard tasks that constantly flow across your desk, the outright pleasure of helping those lost souls to compete. Not every wallowing salesperson can be rescued; there are those that just aren’t cut out for the job. But part of your responsibility is to identify those that are and to make sure they’re focusing on the things that will enable them to get out of the multiple ‘year-one’ rut.