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Four Steps to Turn Around Struggling Salespeople

Struggling salespeople – we’ve all had them. They can be frustrating, and they can cost your company a lot of money. So how do you know whether to persist with them or fire them?

In 25 years as a real estate agency profit consultant, I have seen entire teams of strugglers who fail to reach an acceptable performance.

Why do leaders keep such people? Some leaders wrongly believe that inconsistent or poor performance is just the way it is in Sales. But I can show you many Pittard clients who have incredible teams of happy, peak performers.

You can have this too, with some systems, leadership and determination. Poor performance is not a fate accompli. You can – indeed you must – do something about it.

The key to dealing with strugglers is to know which ones you have a chance of turning around. There are only two types of salespeople: the right people and the wrong people.

Identifying the right and the wrong people is easy.

The right people:

  • Have a good attitude
  • Are willing to train
  • Are willing to do the hard actions
  • Work hard

The wrong people are the opposite. These must go. You will never turn these people around, so don’t waste your time trying.

Four steps to turn around struggling salespeople

When you have identified the right people and removed the wrong people, it’s time to begin the turnaround.

First, get your struggler to train hard. Help them set a study program designed to improve their areas of weakness.

If they have difficulty listing, work on their listing presentation. If they have trouble coming to the point, drill them on succinct communication.

Second, test their knowledge. There is no point increasing their level of actions (step three) if they can’t do them competently. Constantly test them on what they’ve learnt.

Are you seeing improvement? If not, they either aren’t studying, or they aren’t absorbing. Either way, you have gone as far as you can go with this person and it’s time to terminate their services.

As their knowledge improves, so will their results, but this is only half the battle. You must increase their actions. This is Step Three.

Get them working hard on the right actions. Work with them to formulate a plan. Get their commitment to follow the plan.

All salespeople, but especially rookies and strugglers, must have a plan and must follow it. They must know where their business will come from, particularly where they will find their listings. How many people do they need to speak with to get one listing?

Some listing sources produce better results than others. You could make 150 cold telephone calls to get a listing, or if you prospect on a busy road, you might get one listing for 70 calls. Help your strugglers identify the warmest listing sources and have them work those sources.

Fourthly, monitor their actions. Are they following the plan? If so, persist with them. If not, terminate. Never pay wages to people who will not do what they said they would do.

Turning strugglers isn’t a complicated process, but it does require the leader to act. Don’t accept poor performance as ‘just the way it is’.

If I can be of assistance, please do let me know.

Gary Pittard
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