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The Sales Manager’s Guide to Helping a Struggling Sales Rep

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A low-performing salesperson can easily be one of the reasons your sales are stagnant. Not only because of his or her results, but also because of the way he can affect the morale and attitude of your other salespeople.

So, if you have noticed that one (or more) of your salespeople is struggling to sell, you may feel frustrated and upset that your team’s collective results are being affected.

Beyond just managing salespeople, it is difficult to know how to handle a struggling salesperson in a way that helps him sell more.

Fortunately, we have put together a list of tips to help you turn a low-performing salesperson into a valuable member of your team. Keep reading to discover the exact steps you should take.

How to Effectively Handle a Low-performing Salesperson

1. Encourage personal development.

The most successful salespeople are confident in their ability to succeed and close sales. On the other hand, a low-performing salesperson may struggle due to confidence issues.

If one of your salespeople cannot sell effectively due to confidence issues, provide him with resources that will help him improve his mindset and potential. For example, you could recommend that he read one of these books:

  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Motivational books like these may give your struggling salesperson a new perspective on his job and push him to succeed if his main challenge is low self-confidence.

If you use this method, also check the salesperson’s process to make sure it is not flawed for reasons other than low self-confidence. That way, you can work on his mindset and his sales process, and he will no longer be one of the reasons your sales are stagnant.

2. Make sure the salesperson is knowledgeable about the product/service being sold.

A struggling salesperson who is otherwise confident may face low-confidence while talking to customers due to limited product knowledge. After all, it is difficult to sell something you do not completely understand.

To combat this issue, give the salesperson resources he can view and/or reference while talking to customers. For example, you might give him:

  • Product sheets that contain general information about the product being sold
  • Product videos that show exactly how the product works
  • Customer case studies that illustrate the benefits of using the product

Also, consider holding a one-on-one training session where you answer all of his questions about what he is selling. Encourage him to take notes during this session so he has another helpful document to reference while talking to customers.

3. Teach the salesperson how to overcome objections.

Even the best salesperson will face objections from customers on a regular basis, so you can imagine how a struggling one will face customer objections even more often. That is why you must make sure your struggling salespeople know how to overcome common customer objections.

To do this, start by making a list of the most common customer objections they face. Then, you can write out the best way to overcome each specific objection. Once your document is ready, hand it out to your salespeople who are struggling to overcome objections.

Encourage them to familiarize themselves with the methods in the document and then hold a role-playing session where you act as the customer and object to what the salesperson is selling. Doing so will allow your struggling salespeople to practice and get a feel for what they should do when they face an objection while speaking to a customer.

4. Provide helpful, effective sales scripts.

Overcoming objections is not the only struggle salespeople commonly face. Some of them may find it difficult to open up a conversation with a customer, while others may find it difficult to close.

Whatever the case, provide your struggling salespeople with a sales script that can guide them through challenging moments during customer conversations. They should not read your scripts word-for-word – but instead, they should use the basic ideas presented in the scripts in their own words.

This method works best if you ask your struggling salespeople what script would help them the most. When you do that, you will be able to provide them with exactly what they need to significantly improve their sales results.

Related reading: Are Sales Scripts a Good or Bad Idea?

5. Teach the salesperson how to actively listen.

If a salesperson talks much more than he listens, he will struggle to sell effectively. That is because a salesperson must actively listen to uncover the information he needs to know to sell.

The key lesson you should teach your salespeople is that their customers do not want to feel like they are being sold to – they want to feel like they are talking to an expert consultant who can help them solve a problem or make some aspect of their life better.

Ultimately, it’s important to teach your salespeople that active listening can help them overcome initial resistance from customers, making it easier to close deals and improves overall sales results.

Bonus: Read this blog post to discover how to teach active listening to your sales team.

6. Provide tailored, one-on-one coaching sessions.

Before you start coaching, analyze the salesperson’s process for flaws. For example, you may want to pull some of his customer phone calls and listen to them. You could also listen in on a live phone call. Doing so would allow you to gain insight on the flaws in the salesperson’s process so you could suggest effective improvements.

Final Thoughts

Handling a low-performing sales rep can be challenging, especially when he is one of the reasons why your sales are stagnant. However, you should sustain a positive attitude and focus on using the opportunity to better understand the challenges your team faces. On top of that, you can use the experience to help you make better hiring decisions in the future and build a team of high-performing salespeople.

If you have fallen into a habit of hiring low-performing salespeople, consider using a sales assessment, like The DriveTest®, to take the guesswork out of your hiring process. You can use this sales assessment to test for Drive, which is the #1 non-teachable trait found among high-performing salespeople.

When you are empowered to identify Driven salespeople by including a sales assessment in your interview process, you will be able to avoid hiring low-performing salespeople and build a high-performing sales team instead.

Sales Hiring Simplified!

Hire top-performing salespeople with The DriveTest®. Get started now with one free test.

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Sales Hiring Simplified!

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