You hear it time and time again. "The hardest thing to do is find and keep good salespeople." There's lots of implications to "find and keep good sales people." Let's focus on the "good" part. Want the truth about why you or a colleague got fired from a sales job? Read on.
I've had the unfortunate task of letting go quite a few salespeople. Some I honestly shouldn't have hired in the first place. All of them sucked to let go. Despite the tough exterior of a manager letting someone go, and the fact that it was the right business decision, I promise you we lose sleep over it and it hurts to deliver the news. As a rule salespeople will tell you:
- They have a deal about to close
- They didn't get enough help
- If only they had another month
- Their territory sucks
- If only X deal had closed they wouldn't be fired
- I have a lot in the funnel
On cue, they will say those things. And you know what? That's exactly why they were fired. Every last one of them. All those excuses are endemic of a sales person who sucks and is just getting by. I don't know about your place, but just getting by doesn't cut it.
"Deal about to close" and "If they only had another month" is an indicator that the salesperson is a wishful thinker and hoping to "catch a break" rather than make their own breaks. This can turn into a vicious cycle of lackluster performance that will eat up a year faster than a second grader looking forward to Christmas. BAM! 364 days till next Christmas or the end of the next fiscal year.
Wishful thinking rears its ugly head when you hear "I have a lot in the funnel." News flash, sales managers would be total idiots to fire someone with a fat funnel. Salespeople find many unique ways to be a pain in the ass, especially successful salespeople, but smart managers placate the bullshit for the bigger picture.
If you have a fat funnel you are sticking around unless you do something really stupid like shit on the boss's desk. Trust me, I'm the beneficiary of bosses who had the patience of Job to put up with my bullshit before I wised up. Because I really did have a fat funnel (and never did the desk thing).
You know what is sobering? Digging into a fired salesperson's funnel. There's usually even less than one would expect. Fat funnel my ass!
Territory sucks? Really? The more this is said, the more salespeople convince themselves its true. Salespeople worth their salt make things happen. Others make excuses. Like not getting enough help. Sales managers get paid when people sell. Why wouldn't we want to help you?
How do you summarize why you got fired? Because you didn't work hard enough.
Jeffery Gitomer talks about sales taking HARD WORK. HARD WORK. Sustained, nose to the grind stone killer instinct kind of stuff. Unfortunately most of the people I've let go, had it the beginning, got comfortable and backed off. You must work hard all the time.
Sales isn't second grader soccer where everyone wins and even the uncoordinated kids get to play. That "everyone wins" crap has no place in sales, but people amazingly carry it into adulthood. So if you are scratching your head wondering why you got fired from a sales job look in the mirror. Smiling back at you is the reason why.