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3 Questions to Ask An Underperforming Sales Person

By Tim Hagen on Wed,Jan 07,2015 @ 07:20 AM

Sales people can have bad years but they need to be honest with themselves. When asking a sales person why they had a down year the typical response is the economy was bad or our marketing was subpar or our industry was in a downturn. You rarely hear “I was not very good at needs-based selling and my negotiation skills are terrible”. Gosh I hope you are laughing! But guess what good sales people sell in tough situations and economies. Here are the three questions you should ask a sales person who is struggling or coming off a down year:

  1. What are you willing to do to improve in specific areas that will enable you to drive your numbers upward? If they stall you may have an employee NOT vested in getting better and time is now a question whether to invest in them.
  2. What are the two specific skill or knowledge areas that if improved you feel would elevate your sales to another level. If they cannot answer they are not aware and not even looking in the mirror. This will start the coaching relationship.
  3. What is something that you were specifically doing at this point on your own that will allow yourself to improve? It’s critical sales people are reading or reviewing material all the time to improve and if not it speaks volumes about their true investment in themselves and their careers.

These questions go to the element of Will and Skill. All too often we tend to throw training at sales staff when underperforming or provide them with mandates to raise their numbers; nevertheless, it does not work. Sales people have to practice consistently and on a scheduled basis for performance to improve that enable numbers to consistently improve.

Your thoughts? Suggestions?


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The Chicago Bears: A Great Lesson in Leadership or Lack Of!

By Tim Hagen on Tue,Dec 30,2014 @ 02:19 PM

Now I'm an avid Green Bay Packer fan but I have to tell you to watch what the Chicago Bears went through this year was painful. They are a storied franchise with a lot of history much like the Packers. But watching their discord from a leadership perspective this year was startling. When a coach undermines one of his players by telling the press negative things is much like when a manager does not coach or address an employee but tells other people within the company only to have it get back to the employee. This lack of alignment causes not only great discord between the manager and employee but undermines the whole element of what a true team is. I am not a Jay Cutler fan as he demonstrates an attitude of malcontent and non-cooperation; therefore, it’s imperative the coaches realize who they are coaching. To undermine the quarterback such as Jay Cutler and his attitude only validates and supports the very behavior people have tried to change for years.

This leads me to the topic of trust. Trust is a very nebulous and brittle concept. When players hear their leaders or coaches talking negatively about them whether they are mentioned by name or as an anonymous source no one in their right mind can say this will have a positive impact. It's amazing to see a leader go outside the ranks of the team and provide an opinion to the press knowing full well you can only be damaging the team and the player. Once the offensive coordinator did this to the Bears quarterback the head coach is put into it precarious situation. Perception is reality and when the coach does not come out to reprimand and / or fire the coach he has in a sense supported those comments intentionally or unintentionally.

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