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Are you setting the proper selling standards? If not, you may be firing salespeople who can be productive team members. This is illustrated by: The Story of the Four Salespeople…
Once upon a time…there was a company with four salespeople.
This company was very successful and so were its salespeople. The company had a great product and the market for it was expanding. Each salesperson had a unique approach to selling, for achieving sales results:
It’s the owners’ responsibility to set and monitor the proper selling standards… even in “good times” to prepare for the market setbacks.
Not surprisingly, Salesperson A outsold every member of the team. But everyone had success, and both the salespeople and the owners were happy.
Salesperson D was a bit of a prima donna – he didn’t follow the rules. The owners began to wonder if they were allowing Salesperson D to work in a “country club” – bankers hours, plenty of golf or recreation and using the old-boy networking approach. But he hit his sales numbers, so the owners didn’t complain too much.
Then the inevitable happened – there was a market downturn. It was caused by a combination of a recession (not unlike the current recession) and a decline in the product life cycle. The underlying fundamentals had shifted permanently.
Each salesperson still had the same unique approach to selling:
But now the outcomes were markedly different. No longer was everyone selling effectively. Only salespeople A and B were prepared to shift with the marketplace.
In fact, salesperson D began to “stick out” like the proverbial sore thumb. The owners were now certain they were paying Salesperson D to work in a country club and didn’t like this idea.
Unfortunately, Salesperson C, a hard worker, also wasn’t hitting his numbers. He began to look like an order-taker and the owners thought Salesperson C worked in a country club, as well. He worked hard, but was ineffective. The problem was that he stuck to an old selling program that no longer worked.
Only the innovators could survive in this environment. The predictable sales outcome followed:
In a very short time, the owners fired salespeople C and D. The tragedy is that it didn’t have to happen.
The fault didn’t lie with the salespeople, but with the owners, who didn’t set the proper selling standards.
It’s the owners’ responsibility to set and monitor the proper selling standards. The owners should have insisted that all sales team members follow the company-endorsed innovative program, even in “good times,” to prepare for the market setbacks.
This, of course, is a story. Real life is different…generally, substantially worse. Many companies – unnecessarily – have a team of C and D salespeople.
Take a moment to evaluate the quality of your selling team. Remember: the quality is a function of leadership. It’s your job to shut down the selling country club today.