Every sales rep has a peak year. A year that is head and shoulders above anything they’ve ever done. You hope that your top sales reps will be able to hit these peak years many times but it usually doesn’t happen. In the same way that a sales rep has outstanding years, they will occasionally have an off year. There will be a median, a plateau, that they will hover around and that is to be expected. But how do you tell if your top seller’s best days are behind them? There are some definite signs to look for.
- They no longer provide input or ask questions. When a person’s energy or interest is lying elsewhere, they pay little attention to the work at hand. This can be very obvious when you have a star performer who suddenly shows very little interest in meetings or in conferences.
- They start asking about stats. When a person who has been a high achiever to suddenly starts worrying about their sales quotas and status, it can be a sign that they know things are slipping. Again, we all have high times and low times, but when this goes on for a considerable amount of time, you need to take notice.
- They stop caring about raises and bonuses. A sudden or gradual lack of interest in making bonuses or other perks can be a sign that your top sales rep’s best days are behind them. It is the rare sales rep who is not motivated by bringing in more money or gaining more perks.
- They start taking more time off with little notice. A top sales rep knows that time is money. The more time off you take, the more preparation time you lose and the more likely your sales will go down.
- They are consistently not meeting sales goals or sales quotas. This is probably one of the more obvious signs. Again, we all have highs and lows, but if the numbers continue to plummet, it could be sign the sale’s rep is no longer able to maintain the expected quota.
- They are always in the office. For those companies who require outside sales calls, this is definitely a sign that there is a problem. Time in the office can be very important, but a sales rep who does not get out to where the clients are is not going to make it.
- They are rarely on the phone. In the same way that outside sales suffer from a sales rep who does not leave the office, if a rep is never on the phone their productivity will suffer. Lack productivity equals lack of sales.
- They lose long term customers. Again, this is another very obvious sign. It takes a great deal of time to develop relationships with clients. If you start to see some of the sales rep’s best clients slipping away, you need to find out what the problem is.
The worst thing that you can do is jump the gun. Any of these signs can develop and disappear. People have problems at home with spouses or children or parents and that can effect their productivity. When you see the signs, talk to the sales rep and find out if there is anything going on. If they assure you that everything is fine and you continue to see the problems develop over a period of time, you will need to take action.