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How to Approach Poor Performance Video

In this Sales Leadership Quick Tip Video I explain how to approach poor performance in your sales team and how to build trust while delivering bad news.

Have a Trusting Relationship

You need to have a trusting relationship; one in which your sales people understand that whatever you tell them (even if it is to deliver bad news) will always be in their best interest. They need to know that whatever your interaction is, be it to give praise, collect feedback, correct poor performance, etc., it is always to help them sell more.

Some advice out there says to sandwich the bad news with good news while correcting poor performance. For example, “I like the way your outlook calendar is organized with color codes. That is really impressive. However, there are not enough appointments on your calendar.” The problem with that approach is that it could be considered manipulative. You are using praise to set up a correction.

If you use praise to set up a correction, your team will begin to start wondering what they did wrong. This doesn’t build trust and should be avoided. When delivering bad news or correction for poor performance, just be straight. As an example, you could say, “Hey Bill, we need to have a meeting because your appointments have been lower that expected. Let’s set that up and we’ll talk about how you can change that.”

When to Look for the Positive

Another approach I like is to notice something positive that Bill does that will help him solve his problem. I would say, “Even though your appointments are down, I did notice that your phone calls are on track. Your effort is there. How do you make your phone calls turn into more appointments? I’m here to help you figure this out.”

In conclusion, be honest with people. Only praise them for what is praiseworthy and correct what needs to be corrected and your team will trust you. Let them know you have their back and you’re there to help them sell more.

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Rene is the President of Sales Manager Now, a company that provides fractional sales management services to small and family-run businesses. He has twenty-seven years of experience in sales leadership, coaching, and consulting. He is also the author of the Part-Time Sales Management handbook and is based in Auburn, California.

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