In the behavior of people and especially sales people, what leaders describe as difficult or high maintenance behavior is usually the stressed or negative version of whatever are one’s dominant set of natural personality traits. Top performing sales people are often highly dramatic, emotional, exuberant, enthusiastic, and less than organized. Put one of them under stress and you’ll watch them act negative. (i.e. needy drama queen) It’s a simple cause and effect and largely depends on the development of their own self-awareness and emotional intelligence.
Imagine a stressed out “drama queen” going on a sales call. They are likely to give away the farm to get a feeling of approval or appreciation for giving such a discount. They might complain to the potential customer about feeling under valued or talk a wee bit more than the customer wants. They may overstep the normal social boundaries and “overshare” and they may get on social media and tell the “world” how they feel if they are blaming your organization for their stress. What customer is going to jump at the chance to buy from someone acting like that?
So, what do you do to reduce the stress for your high performing sales people? Here are some options:
– Make yourself available to them to vent. Just listen and don’t try to fix. They need to be heard.
– Remind them that historically their numbers have been great and that this might just be a temporary slump
– Give them a “small” incentive that leaves you room to build on if you need to, to motivate their need for appreciation
– Share the efforts of an organized support team member who can do some of the paperwork or calculations on margins BEFORE the deal is closed or sold
– Recognize even the smallest examples of behavior you want them to repeat.
The very attributes leaders love and look for in high performing sales people are the very same ones that when stressed out cause those same leaders to roll their eyes and shake their head. It’s the way it works and it is important to take the good with the not so convenient and devote attention to reducing their stress as much as you’re able. Remember also, not to fuel their stress and train them to act stressed just to get a reward. That is training them how to treat you and well… another post.
Much of these suggestions and detailed information on the personality of your sales team can be found in the newly released book Make Difficult People Disappear. It’s not a magical formula but rather a dramatic shift in mindset that makes difficulty disappear and those you thought were difficult become those you can now easily work with!
(if you’d like to order an autographed copy of Make Difficult People Disappear
or several copies for you and your team, CLICK HERE)
Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.