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Weak sales person: “treat”, “teach” or “wet”?

Alexey Krutitsky, CEO of the Training Department, talks about what to do if you find a “weak” employee in your sales Department: how to determine their pain points, whether to train them or just fire them
Remember the eternal triangle: quality, time, price?

Let’s take it one at a time. What does “weak”mean? Not fulfilling sales plans? Not making enough profit? Not lit at work? Few customers return to it for the second and third purchase? Few regular customers? What do we compare it to?

So, you have a sales Department. It is sales — not consultants, not promoters, not sales consultants, not order takers. Your employees sell, that is, they influence customers ‘ decision-making, manage an increase in profits, or a large number of products when selling.

Let’s look at several scenarios of conditions for the emergence and development of a situation with a weak employee in the sales Department.
External conditions: the market has changed, there is a crisis, there is no money, competitors are dumping, and there is a seasonal lull.
Internal conditions have changed: changing the territory, changing the product range, personnel and tactical changes, there were changes in the Department.
Young employee: during the probation period was productive, but now “deflated”, at the reception stage looked like an “eagle”, and went to work and sells as a “Sparrow”.
Personal changes/difficulties for the employee: a child was born, an illness, or a move.
I worked for a long period with good indicators and suddenly went out.
Each of the described scenarios needs “its own approach»:
It is better to overcome any external changes together, and here you may need to make changes in strategic and tactical actions and additionally teach new methods of overcoming difficulties;
Internal changes, in any case, it is best to first talk to the employee and find out the reasons for their low performance. Then, depending on the situation, it is better to apply individual actions.
You can always fire, the main question is: who can you hire?

Now the market is in demand for sellers, only a few real sellers. Mostly retail consultants and designers. There are good storytellers, but they quickly burn out telling the same thing. And also become ineffective, customers do not return to them for secondary purchases.

Young, newly arrived employees, as well as employees who are faced with changes in the product range, need to be trained. This is where the main question for newcomers arises: how does your training differ from what it took place at the previous place of work? If he sees the difference and starts applying it, then, over time, his performance will increase and he will become a strong seller.

Case from practice

A girl comes to the training of managers, active and ambitious, she was hired three days ago, enlisted in the staff and immediately sent for training. She came from another company, sold herself, the mood is fighting, her eyes are burning, she is eager to fight. And then at the training, her colleagues, managers from neighboring branches, began to tell her where she got to, and that the picture is not as rosy as it was drawn at the reception. The eyes went out, the fuse went out. I had to return the girl to the fighting mood during the training. Training and motivation are a powerful mix! As it was, she already wanted to quit immediately after training.

If an employee has been trained and started using their knowledge and skills, but the management does not see a sparkle in their eyes, it makes sense to take steps to motivate this employee.

Learning is always about motivation. If you have invested really valuable knowledge in an employee, trained him in modern methods, and he is ready to sell even snow to the chukchas in the winter, then you need to remember that his value has increased, and it’s time for you to change the motivation system for such an employee. And if you think to keep him only with a salary, then there is a threat that he will be lured away from you by offering a little more. With money, you can’t hold an employee for long. It is always better to use different ways of motivation. The easiest and most budget-friendly way is to pay attention to employee wins and encourage healthy competition.

Motivation from experienced managers

If an experienced employee (maybe even several) has started to drop sales figures, and the Manager sees that his subordinate is relaxed, then one of the ways to change the situation is to hire a young active seller and provide him with comprehensive support. For “Oldies” it will be an image challenge, they will start to move, so as not to lose their status and face.

If the changes are related to personal issues, then you need to carefully analyze the situation and weigh the options for exit. In some cases, even an unscheduled vacation can return the seller to active work, and sometimes the dismissal will not return the desire to increase productivity. Sellers are creative and dynamic people. There were cases when the seller was not interested in the monotonous sale of the same goods or services and he protests or looks for a way out in the first place for himself.

To dismiss an employee, in whom you have invested, it makes sense in the last turn. There are always options to use his knowledge and experience for the benefit of the company. If you have tried both teaching and motivating, and he is not involved in solving the problem, then it makes sense to consider a replacement option. Only it is important to remember that this should be done very rarely (almost an exception to the rules). Otherwise, your employees will start thinking that you are a bad Manager, because you have high turnover rates, and this is the responsibility of the sales Manager.

The sales Manager needs to understand at any time which employee is at what stage of development, and what drives them in this period of time. Then it will be possible to always regulate and make a wise decision: “treat”, “teach” or “wet”.

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