Steps to dealing with errant seller


When your mother did something that was your responsibility, you knew it wasn’t a favour- a thunderstorm was brewing.

Exhibit. Execute. Exit. A three-step process to dealing with an errant seller. Errant here does not refer to the idiosyncratic nature of most stellar sellers. For instance, the super star corporate bank relationship manager who just cannot keep time; or, the champion agent with an irritatingly short attention span. No. Errant here is a different kettle of fish.

Whether it is because of a personality type, limited exposure or debilitating attitude, some sellers can be emotionally draining to deal with, and worse, toxic to the sales team. For instance, the seller that is stuck in a mental groove, playing only one chord of the music he dances to, to explain his lacklustre performance: “That market is saturated.” Forget that there are 3,000 employees there, all potential buyers. Or, “Our price is the problem.” Have you tried this new technique? “There is no need, our price is the problem.” What if our MD spoke to them? “It won’t make a difference. Our price is the problem.” How about you talk to Fred who seems to be excelling despite our pricing? “He is just lucky. For me, our price is the problem.” It is exhausting. It can weigh you to the ground, drag you across the floor of exasperation and dump you into the bin of surrender. What to do? Show. Do. Eject.

Show the ‘negatively charged’ seller how it’s done. Assign ‘Fred’ to that market or client. When the effort yields fruit present this evidence to her and encourage her to flex her baseless stand on the issue and try afresh. If that doesn’t work, pair her up with Fred (for him to show her how it’s done) and monitor collective and individual progress; collective to ensure it happens (few stellar sellers like being paired up); and individual to read how things are on the ground, and specifically that her negative charge has not snuffed out his positive.

If that doesn’t work, execute the sale yourself. At this time you have detached from the seller. You no longer ask her about her progress nor, sales reports. This is intended to drive home a message-not that you don’t care about her, but that the gloves are off. The reason why you execute, despite having exhibited, is because sellers do not respect managers that cannot sell. And this could reflect in their poor performance. In addition, when your mother or father spread your bed or did something that was your responsibility, having told you repeatedly to do it yourself, you knew it wasn’t a favour- a thunderstorm was brewing.

The seller should too. If she did not learn from the exhibiting and execution, the manager should let it storm; he should eject her. It would be irresponsible of him not to. If he doesn’t, her cancerous toxicity will spread to the teammates because misery loves company. At that time, the person facing the exit door won’t be the errant seller, but her manager. 

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