One of the challenging parts of a sales manager’s job is to know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em when it comes to retaining or firing a salesperson.
In Henry Cloud’s wonderful book Necessary Endings, he talks about the need to prune even the live branches of a rose bush for the healthier, live branches to thrive. Sometimes the best thing a manager can do for not only her region but also for the salesperson is to let that salesperson go. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow says in his poem Elegiac Verse ‘great is the art of beginning, but greater the art is of ending.’
This metaphor applies to our personal lives too. We all have necessary endings that we must prune. Habits we’ve fallen into, patterns of thinking that have become toxic, malaise, prejudices and biases that we’ve allowed to creep into our thinking, pride taking over, etc.
Here are 3 things to consider when going through the challenge of deciding if you’ve reached a necessary ending with one of your salespeople.
One – Is she coachable?
Maybe this is highest on the list. When someone is open to coaching it shows several characteristics including humility and an acknowledgement of weaknesses. Being coachable means he’s open to feedback and to getting better. This is a darned good start.
Two – Does she give a shit?
If a salesperson comes off as lacking the drive to make changes and to be open to feedback she could be missing the fundamental need to have the energy to change. I’ve seen ‘veteran’ salespeople who are sort of mailing it in, not willing to do what’s being asked by the manager to adopt a sales process. This is passive resistance. I’ve seen stubborn salespeople who resist taking the manager’s coaching because they think they know what’s best for themselves. This is active resistance.
In our Funnel Audit process we can see more clearly if a salesperson lacks give a shit. We still need to get under that to understand the motives.
Three – is he capable?
In the end sales managers need salespeople who are capable in the job. For example, sometimes the sales manager needs more hunting activity than farming activity. If a salesperson doesn’t show capability in doing more hunting that doesn’t bode well for the rep. If they show willingness to be coached or show give a shit energy sometimes those can compensate for deficits in capability.
Underperforming salespeople deserve a thorough and objective assessment of the reasons for their performance.
Author, The Funnel Principle and soon to be released sales coaching book Blindspots: The Hidden Killer of Sales Coaching
Creator of The BuyCycle Funnel