Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


Hello, Hello, Is There Anybody In There? April 21, 2018

Last week I referenced that sales managers at times need to be stern. And, equally, I referenced that sales reps need not sugarcoat anything or try to smile through their struggles. I am working through a scenario currently with a client and his sales rep. I’m reminded of the Pink Floyd line: Hello, hello, hello, is there anybody in there? I am having conversations with the sales person about their training, how they are coming along since joining the organization, and John the rep just smiles and says everything’s been great. I’m wondering, hello, are you listening to us?


John is struggling in sales. He is not meeting any sort of quota for calls made, appointments set, proposals written, or closed business. He feels like everything is on track for him to be successful and he doesn’t need help. Mind you, John has over 15 years of sales experience and has been with my client’s organization for over 6 months, yet he has the performance of a kid right out of school. He’s smiling and saying everything’s great, and his performance numbers cannot get any worse.


Unfortunately, what we are learning through our reviews with John is that he seems to be listening to us talk, but he is not truly hearing what we are saying. He has the ability to regurgitate information, but doesn’t understand or grasp the meaning and concepts behind the words. John is a classic ‘C level’ sales person, whereas he can memorize a script, but cannot sell with substance. My client needs an ‘A level’ team member.


The evaluation and my conclusion for my client is to give John strict guidelines for which he must maintain. He is in sales and sales is a numbers game. He needs to improve his performance from top-to-bottom and there needs to be the most stringent of guidelines in place. If John cannot meet the goals set forth he should be let go. John is a nice guy, don’t get me wrong, I could see myself enjoying a beer with him. But, when it comes to sales, he is not cut out for the rigors of new business development, rather he would be better suited for account management. So, time will tell. Hopefully, if he’s in there somewhere, he’ll eventually nod when he hears our message, and realize he needs to perform or leave.


No matter what type of sales you’re in, sales is black & white, you are either performing or you’re not. It really is that simple.

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