Top salesman running late

How to keep ALL your sales team inline

It’s great when you have a mix of personalities in your sales team; however, sometimes you get the maverick who is challenging to keep in line. More often than not it’s your top performer who causes you the most issues. This article provides some great gems on how to keep EVERYONE in your team in line and most importantly, staying in line.

Dear Tony,

I have a team of 8 sales consultants and my top performer is quite often 10 minutes late in the morning. I have had words with him in the past and he says it’s not affecting his figures and he outperforms the rest of the team, so he can’t see the problem. Although I find it frustrating, I find it hard to argue his point and I can’t afford to lose him as he contributes around 45% of my team’s target every month. Can you help?

It’s always dangerous to rely so heavily on an individual salesperson; you have to ask yourself if he was to hand his notice in tomorrow, would your business go under? If you feel it would make an enormous impact, then you need to develop the rest of your team immediately. You know the saying “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” the same is relevant to your sales team. Rather than focus the majority of your energy on the one salesperson, invest your time and energy in bringing everyone else up to speed.

Now the salesperson can argue that being late doesn’t affect his figures, however, you could argue what impact would it make if he was able to make an extra sales call per day if he was on time as the rest of your team? 

Equally, it’s imperative to get across to him that you expect ALL your staff to be in by a certain time and why should he be an exception to the rule? Just because he performs well doesn’t give him the right to have special treatment. It’s not one rule for him and one rule for others, otherwise, it would be mayhem and no one would know what rules must be adhered to.

There are 3 ways I suggest on how to handle this individual sales consultant; firstly you need to explain to him that to be a professional sales consultant requires more than just good figures. You need to be punctual, you need to take pride in your appearance, you need to have a positive attitude and you need excellent knowledge of your products and the marketplace. Therefore, in order to develop him, you need to help him with his timekeeping and see what is required to ensure he is always on time. I would question why he struggles with his punctuality and perhaps you can offer your support to help him. Maybe he’s having personal issues at home that he doesn’t wish to divulge?

Secondly, you can get his buy-in by explaining that as the top performer of the team, the rest of the sales team looks up to him and he, therefore, is the benchmark. Therefore, it’s crucial that he leads by example, which means he is always on time as well as adhering to all the other areas I mentioned earlier.

The third and final idea on how some of my clients have handled this challenge is to put the problem onto the salesperson. Say to him “if you were in my position as the Sales Manager, how would you handle this situation?” By doing this, it gets the salesperson to think of it from a different person’s perspective and offer his own advice. Sometimes people are more inclined to listen to their own advice, rather than their boss.

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