In a recent meeting with a CEO and Chief Sales Officer, I heard the following quote from the CEO: “If I knew why non-producers didn’t produce, I would be free of problems in my sales organization!”
I looked him right in the eye and said unequivocally, “I know exactly why non-producers don’t produce.”
The CEO looked at his Chief Sales Officer with a bewildered look and asked, “Do you know why our non-producers are not producing?’ The CSO just shook his head, then shrugged his shoulders.
“Ok, Mike, enlighten me, why don’t non-producers produce?“
"Because deep down inside, they don’t really want to produce.”
This is the “elephant in the room” that no one ever addresses or wants to talk about. As managers, we spend too much time trying to help non-producers to produce, rather than investing time in our top producers, who deserve better from us.
You see, non-producers are in some form of conflict. They say they want to produce, but their actions and activities say otherwise. At a minimum, they want you to think they want to produce, and they work very hard convincing you of this. Here’s the thing: the motivation to be a producer must come from within. Now, for clarity, I am talking about people who have been with the company a year or more with reasonable quotas—not someone who is in their third month with a ridiculously high quota—(i.e. the same quota they will have in month 12).
If non-producers truly wanted to produce, they would. They would find a way to get it done. That would make them producers. They would invest in themselves, seek out the advice of their top performing peers, increase activity levels, work on perfecting their skills, leverage their network for referrals, etc. They would make it happen. They would do what needs to be done.
Here are five reasons I see why non-producers don’t produce:
1. Keeping their job is their top priority.
We don’t want to believe this, but it is true. They do just enough to keep their job. Just enough activity, just enough to appear they are working hard.
2. They have mastered the “socially acceptable excuse.”
They are quite good at providing the reasons why things don’t work and why their market is different. See #1
3. They focus on activities, not results.
They talk all the time about all the activities they are doing, but rarely focus on the results. Activities can make it seem like they are working hard.
4. They don’t learn from failures—making them successful failures.
If they truly want to be successful, they must learn from their failures and adjust accordingly.
5. They don’t assume personal accountability for their results.
Too many times in my professional career, I have wanted success more for the person I was leading than they wanted it for themselves. I realized a long time ago, that motivation must come from within. I can motivate people in short spurts, but motivation for success over time must come from within. It is my belief that if someone truly desires a career in sales and wants to be successful, they can. It is one of those professions, you get out of it what you put into it.
At Butler Street, our Leadership Training and Four Cornerstones of Success® addresses directly how to best lead both your non-producers and producers so that you may achieve the highest return on your invested time. We map everything from managing agreements to how to have difficult conversations, to how to coach to strategy, activity and skill. Developed as a “system of reinforcing activities” for sales and recruiting leaders, it is the perfect combination of leadership best practices that will help you strengthen your revenue generating teams. Contact us to learn more.