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Why Salespeople Fail

When I am asked to diagnose why an individual – or even an entire sales team - is not performing at optimum levels, I usually ask just four very straightforward questions:

Are they visiting/talking to enough clients/prospects? In other words, are they pro-active and are their activity levels high? I call this CCT as a percentage of TWT (Customer Contact Time as a percentage of Total Working Time). But we should never believe that activity alone will guarantee success; we can all be busy fools!

Are they talking to the right people within those client/prospect organizations? Are they able to first identify and then penetrate the formal DMU (Decision Making Unit) and reach the MAN? (The person or people with the Money, Authority and Need)

Are they saying/doing the right things? This really means: how strong are their selling skills? How broad is their commercial bandwidth?

And finally, how is their attitude – that small thing that makes such a big difference? In fact, attitude drives everything else!

From these four questions, I usually discover the answer but actually, it can sometimes be a little more complex and I turn to the "Eight Reasons Salespeople Fail":

1. Wrong or no selection process – The wrong person for the position.
2. Wrong or no training – Insufficiently developed.
3. Wrong or no planning – Expected to do all of their own planning.
4. Wrong or no supervision – Left without competent supervision.
5. Wrong or no motivation – Not properly motivated to meet objectives.
6. Wrong or no stimulation – Not stimulated by appropriate incentives.
7. Wrong or no evaluation – Not regularly appraised against a set of agreed objectives.
8. Wrong or no executive action – Not adequately supported by a competent manager.

If you are a sales manager, consider your part in this equation. According to these criteria, do you feel your current team is poised for success?

Hopefully, you can say yes! If not, this list should draw your attention to how you can help your team exercise their potential.

failure / shutterstock

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