1. They're just not a fit for sales
Selling, like entrepreneurship, is a tough racket. It’s not for everyone. Many entrepreneurs will throw any warm body with a “good” personality into the world of sales and expect them to perform. After all, sales is about relationships, right? Yes and no. Relationships, yes. But professional relationships are built on the establishment of credibility. And personality and credibility are not the same things.
2. They're not you
You’re the founder, president, and/or CEO. If you found a way to successfully sell your product or service, an experienced professional should no doubt be able to replicate and improve upon your work, right? After all, you’re (likely!) no Harvard MBA. But you have intangibles. Your title opens doors and closes deals. Your reputation opens doors and closes deals. Your conviction opens doors and closes deals. Your new hire is guaranteed to lack these, and probably many, many of your attributes.
3. They lack commitment
You have no doubt that the fire of desire burns in your salesperson’s belly. They long to be successful. They love to sell. They have all of the skillsets needed to sell your product or service. Yet, somehow, they’re not overachieving. If you’re like most, you’ve never contemplated the difference between the desire to succeed and the commitment to succeed. If they lack the willingness, grit, and determination to do all of the difficult and uncomfortable things success in sales requires you to do, the desire is all for not and they will continue to underachieve.
4. They lack motivation
Do your people even wish to achieve greater success? Specifically, in the field of sales? And, if so, do they want greater success more than they want to feel comfortable? Is sales a career placeholder until they can afford to go back to school? Have they sold out and burned their bridges? Or do they just need a 9-5?
5. They’re not rewarded in accordance with their motivation
Long gone are the days when selling was about making money alone. Have you ever ran a sales contest and wondered why some people (even producers) could not care less? Yet others (even mid-level or bottom-level performers) will stop at nothing to win? Have you ever noticed that different people respond to compliments and criticisms differently? The intrinsically motivated sales professional has become increasingly more common. Some people thrive on recognition, while others abhor it. And this dynamic is further complicated by the likelihood that your team is comprised of all types of people who are all motivated differently. Yet, if you’re like most sales leaders, you probably treat them as if they’re all like you.
6. Your company lacks sales culture
Are your salespeople black sheep, or office rock stars? What happens at your water cooler? Complaining or collaboration? Are you OK with or unforgiving of failure? Does your leadership serve their juniors? If someone observed your office, for 5 minutes, on any given day, what conclusions would they draw? What about a day when you were not present? Would things be different?
7. You have no means to deliver a behavioral correction
Being stuck in a repeating loop of negative results is incredibly demoralizing. If your salespeople are not debriefed consistently and coached effectively, how can you expect them to improve?
8. They don’t know what to do
Do your people have an absolutely clear set of behavior expectations? Especially when it comes to prospecting? Do they know how to handle the top five most common objections they’re likely to face in each stage of their sales process/cycle? If these basic components of process infrastructure are missing, it’s likely that your people are impacted by a lack of clarity. Clarity brings energy, but a lack of clarity…
9. They lack the selling competencies that their role requires
Consider the role requirements of a sales role in your company. For instance, if your people must prospect C-suite executives, they MUST have a lack of need for approval. If any one of your people is concerned with what their prospects will think of them or how they will be judged, they’re simply incapable of performing in this role. If your position requires frequent prospecting, but your people fear rejection, they will fail in this role.
10. You’ve hired someone else’s loser
It’s not uncommon to confuse experience with capabilities. So you hired someone with relevant experience. Maybe even someone who has previously worked for your competitor. Yet they’re not producing as they should. Ryan Fitzpatrick is now in his 13th NFL season with his 7th different franchise. This doesn’t mean he is (or has ever been) any good.