How Managers Help Their Salespeople Fail

If you want to know why your salespeople aren’t selling, stop looking at your sales team and start looking in the mirror.

I recently received an email from a salesperson pitching his additional services from a company that I was using to manage my website.

He wanted to meet to discuss my account.

We scheduled a call.

The first call, he rescheduled.

When we got on the rescheduled meeting, here’s what happened…

First, this salesperson showed up four minutes late.

When he finally turned on his video camera, here’s what I saw.

He was wearing a beat-up baseball hat, a dirty t-shirt and sitting in a messy, chaotic room.

We did our cordial greeting, and I then expected him to drive the meeting.

Salespeople Don’t Fail. Managers Do.

Instead, he began with the regurgitation of a list of additional services they provide, and the first question he asked me was, “So, what services are you interested in buying?”

No questions, no discovery of my needs and current situation, and no agenda.

Then, the ultimate display of poor salesmanship came when, in the middle of our conversation, he started vaping. Yup, that’s right.

We ran out of time, so we rescheduled, as I wanted the information I never received. And to my shocking surprise, the salesperson didn’t show up for the second meeting.

It’s a safe bet that this salesperson will fail, and the blame will fall on their shoulders. The sad part is, it’s not their fault.

When companies struggle to figure out why their sales team isn’t performing, the first thing managers do to assess why they’re not performing is look at the numbers, results, and activity, assuming the problem must be due to activity.

But if that’s the case, then everyone, who’s engaging in the same number of calls and activity, should be performing at a similarly high level.

That’s why it’s the quality of the activity, how they do things, not the quantity of the activity that separates the A players from the C players.

All roads lead back to the manager. Even if you’re managing a remote team, if you’re not observing your people’s performance, attitude, and behavior, especially when presenting remotely, then you have no idea what they’re doing, and can’t identify the training and coaching moments that would help this salesperson succeed.

You and your people are a reflection of the company. If you never look at your reflection, the only people looking will be your customers.

Consequently, you’ll never be able to assess why sales are down or know what to change to help your people and customers succeed.