When Should You Let A Sales Person Go?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

You can always find much discussion on how to hire top sales people and how to recognise and find people who can be top producers.Fire this guy  However, when is it time to give up, admit your mistake and let a sales person go?  Other than unacceptable performance, dishonesty or blatant unprofessional behaviour, is there a time when you need to fire a sales person?

Sometimes you may need to rid your organisation of a weak link-in-the-chain, not only forthe benefit of the team, but for that sales person as well. Below are three tips on those situations when you need to consider “cutting bait.”

Note: Before ever considering any of the following situations, you first need to make sure that you have done your job—completely.

  • Has this sales person received all of the necessary training?
  • Does the sales person have access to all of the needed sales support tools?
  • Have you done all you can do to properly motivate and lead the sales person?
  • Have you talked to, and more importantly, listened to the sales person?

If you can answer yes to all of the above, then consider watching for the following scenarios.

#1. The Walking Personal Problem
We all have our share of personal problems, and a shortage of money often magnifies them.  However, some people not only appear to have a disproportionate share of problems, but have major difficulty keeping their problems from disrupting their work.  I am not talking about the sales person who has that unfortunate incident here and there.

I am referring to that individual who seems to have some major catastrophe every single week! Every other day, some personal situation has the sales person completely distracted or out of the field entirely.  Understand that it is not a matter of having empathy (or the lack thereof) for the sales person.  If the person is unable to perform and earn a respectable sales person’s wage; then to dismiss the individual is in their best interest as well as yours.

#2: I Did It My Way
In every sales process, there is plenty of room for sales people to be themselves and integrate their own personality and style.  However, there are also areas that your company has decided are standard practice.   For some systems, processes or logistics you have an established S.O.P. (Standard Operating Procedure).   That is, of course until that sales person comes along who is determined to change everything.

I am not referring to that sales professional who thinks out of the box, or that enterprising old pro who likes to try new things.  I am talking about that one that, with little or no experience and knowledge, feels he or she knows better than everyone in the industry knows, and is going to do everything the exact opposite of what the book says.   If they want your position…let them find it at another company.

#3: The Sower of Negative Seed
Occasionally you will have the pleasure to employ that sales person who is a walking pile of negative energy.  That person is pessimistic about being a pessimist.  It may not be too bad if these people could keep their depressing thoughts to themselves.  Invariably though, these naysayers spread their doom and gloom like a religion.

That unconstructive attitude is contagious and can grow in your organisation like a cancer.  It doesn’t matter if this person is a top producer (which is unlikely); you need to jettison this individual straight away.

If you have a sales person who is not performing at least to minimum standards, you are not doing them any justice to keep them on.   Do everyone a favour and allow him or her to seek other employment.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 25 November, 2011

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