I am going to speak in broad generalizations regarding five things most salespeople don’t want to do and how you can motivate them to do the tasks that need to be accomplished.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who speak in broad generalizations and those who don’t. I am going to speak in broad generalizations regarding five things most salespeople don’t want to do. They don’t apply to every one and, perhaps, not to yours—right now.

1—Your salesperson doesn’t want to cold call.

He/she finds cold calling fearsome, demeaning, ineffective or a waste of time. No salesperson looks forward to cold calling and most live for the day they can just service existing customers and rely on referrals for growth.  There are seminars, books and audio programs ranging from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cold Calling to Cold Calling for Cowards and I’d Rather Have a Root Canal Than Do Cold Calling.

As sales manager, you must see that they do enough of it to keep their pipeline loaded. As a million-dollar seller said at a sales seminar, “You can never stop cold calling. I did, and it came back to bite me. Now, I’m out there doing it again.”

Your salesperson doesn’t want to cold call? No one does, but it is part of the job.

2—Your salesperson does not want to keep records and turn in reports.

You aren’t the only manager who has to badger them to get reports. Most salespeople are big-picture, broad-stroke, fast-paced doers, not reporters. They get commissioned on sales, not reports, so they may find record-keeping tedious or a waste of time.

A Top Performer once told me, “Man, I don’t keep records of any kind. No computer notes, no paper lists. I know my customers and what they buy.” I asked him, “What happens if you get run over by a bus?” He understood the risk and admitted that no one else could pick up the account and move forward with it.

It is crucial that you have sales records and some level of reporting from your salespeople. It’s your business! New salespeople need more oversight than proven performers, but what happens if…?

Your rep doesn’t want to keep records and turn in reports? No one does, but it is part of the job.

3—Your salesperson doesn’t want to lose a proposal.

When a long-pursued prospect finally says, “Well, gimme a price on that,” or “I need to see a proposal,” your rep wants to win. Most salespeople want to win the first job, no matter what the margin is, just to get the customer.

Often, that first opportunity is based on beating the price the prospect is paying now. What your salesperson knows is that he/she has done everything right so far, and finally has a chance with this prospect, and they want to complete the transaction. As the owner/manager, you want your salesperson to succeed, but you have to make a profit. Sometimes you stand firm on price; sometimes you bend. Explain why. You might ask if she’d participate in the discount by giving up some of her commission.

Your salesperson says your prices are too high and she could sell a lot more if you’d lower them? She is neither special nor unusual. They all say that.

4—Your salesperson doesn’t want to lose a customer.

That’s why he’s often back in the warehouse, shrink-wrapping and bothering people, or on the phone with the fulfillment source instead of out there selling. He has done everything right, from cold call to qualifying to getting an appointment, making a presentation, winning the quote and getting the job. Now he’s afraid something will go wrong. He tells me, “For every one I bring in the front door, one goes out the back door because we messed up. It’s hard to get ahead that way.”

You need to have systems in place to keep errors to a minimum, especially on first-timers, but mistakes happen. When they do, your salesperson is likely to be no more understanding than the customer and you may hear, “Why can’t they just get it right? Do I have to do everything myself?”

Your seller worries about losing a customer? They all do.

5—Your salesperson doesn’t want to leave.

He/she took this job with great expectations and visions of success: money, awards, prestige and personal satisfaction. They all do. She also expected to be educated, trained, managed and coached to success. With that kind of support and her hard work, your salesperson should succeed.

There are four reasons salespeople fail:

  • They don’t know what to do.
  • They know what to do, but don’t know how to do it.
  • They know what to do and how to do it, but don’t do it.
  • They know what to do and how to do it, but don’t want to do it.

As the sales manager, it is your job to provide training and motivation to your salesperson. It is the salesperson’s job to accept and apply the training and do the work because they want to succeed. It takes more than desire from both. Your salesperson doesn’t want to leave. She wants to hit all her targets and succeed. They all do.

About the author

Mark Johns

Mark Johns writes and speaks on two of the most critical skills in business:…

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