Sales Management: How Long Do You Hang On?


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This question has been asked by more than one sales manager.   When do I let a salesperson go?  Have I given the person enough time to succeed?  Look no further for the answer than the hit song from Kenny Rodgers, “The Gambler.”  “You’ve got know when to hold ‘em.  You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em.” 

Here are a couple of tips for knowing when to hold or fold. 

#1:       Track and measure sales activity.  When I started in this business over 16 years ago, the first question my coach asked me was, “Tell me about your sales activity.”  I thought the question was a little strange.  I was in the sales training business---shouldn’t he be asking me about my sales techniques? 

My coach knew something I didn’t at the time.  A salesperson can control their sales activity.  They can always do “the work.”  Skill building may take more time due to forming new neural pathways in the brain, discarding old habits or breaking through self-limiting beliefs. 

If a salesperson isn’t executing a defined sales activity plan, (note the words defined sales activity plan), then you probably have someone that is lacking work ethic, drive or passion for  your product or services.  Time to fold ‘em. 

#2:       Coachable.  No matter how long you’ve been in sales, there is always something new to learn.  Coachable salespeople may not be the quickest to pick up sales skills; however, they do learn the skills because they are the “buggers” of the world.  They “bug” their sales manager for advice and mentorship.  They “bug” the top sales producer on the team for input on how to handle specific selling situations.  “Buggers” proactively seek help instead of waiting for someone to make them good. 

The “buggers” of the world also take an important next step.  They APPLY the information.  These salespeople are the one’s talking to themselves as they rehearse scripts, objections and compelling questions. 

If the salesperson in question isn’t a bugger---time to fold ‘em. 

And one final piece of sales management advice from Kenny Rodgers.

Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what to throw away
And knowin' what to keep

Don’t gamble on hitting your sales quota.  Know when to hold ‘em and know when to fold ‘em. 

Good Selling!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Colleen Stanley
Colleen Stanley is president of SalesLeadership, Inc. a business development consulting firm specializing in sales and sales management training. The company provides programs in prospecting, referral strategies, consultative sales training, sales management training, emotional intelligence and hiring/selection. She is the author of two books, Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success, now published in six languages, and author of Growing Great Sales Teams.


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