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Greg Nanigian and Associates, Inc. | Braintree, MA,

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Maybe you thought you were the only one with a sales person that everyone loves, but is a terrible closer. The reality is that most sales teams have one or more such non-closers. Compounding the problem of these people not being very profitable is the fact that they are likeable, as many of them tend to have good people skills.

So, it's difficult to terminate them. Well, terminating them isn't the only alternative. In fact, it's one of four alternatives to what you should do with Wally, or Wendy, WeakCloser:

  1. Make them into Account Managers - they're weak at closing, but they are usually very good at maintaining accounts, due to their good people skills. Furthermore, they typically have good follow through, which instills a lot of customer loyalty.

  2. Terminate them if you have no place for them as an Account Manager, and there is no way the following two alternatives will work.

  3. Keep them in their current position and tolerate their current level of performance. However, that would be a bad idea for many reasons. Besides, the obvious losses you would incur, it sets a low standard and a bad example for the rest of your sales team. As an alternative to keeping them in their current position, you could use them in another capacity if you have one that is suitable. Just be sure not to put them in a position in which you and the company become the loser.

  4. Empower them to become closers. This is my preferred strategy and I've seen it work many times!


Here is a six-point plan to get results from this alternative and transform Wally or Wendy WeakCloser into Robo Salesperson. I call it Six Points to Success:

  1. Set up a meeting with them and tell them the purpose of the meeting is to let them know that "we" are now in crisis mode. Let them know that you are taking decisive action with them and that heroic efforts are now necessary in order to get things on track.

  2. The first of these efforts is that starting now, on all sales calls they must leave with a "Yes", "No" or a "Clear Future" from the prospect. A "Clear Future" could be a scheduled meeting. A "maybe" or an "I'll get back to you on your proposal" is not an acceptable response from a prospect anymore.

  3. Tell them that you will have a scheduled 15-minute "Debriefing Session" at the end of each day. Its purpose will be to review outcomes of sales calls and prospecting activities. This will not only be an opportunity to keep them on track with Yes's, No's and Clear Futures, but you can also use this to build up their confidence for achieving these outcomes.

  4. Share with them that you want them to stop accepting any form of put-offs or maybe's on prospecting calls. The only acceptable outcome is an appointment or a "No". Explain to them that during the debriefing sessions you'll want them to tell you how many dials, contacts, appointments booked, "No's on the phone", face-to-faces, sales and "No's in person" they got each day. Set some mutual goals on these activities during the daily debriefing sessions for the following day. Remember holding them accountable to these goals is key to their success.

  5. Establish a reasonable and realistic time frame in which there will be a change in their closing ratio. For example, you might say to them, "So in 30 days, we need to see a minimum of three deals closed, with a goal of five. The next month, I need you to close a minimum of four per month, with a goal of six."

  6. Enroll them in a good sales training program with weekly re-enforcement. Be sure it focuses on daily behaviors, attitude and especially techniques. Be sure it starts with an assessment so that you can benchmark progress and get the person into the proper programs that address their weaknesses.


Transforming Wally or Wendy WeakCloser to Robo Salesperson is easier when you have a systematic approach like the Six Points to Success. As you get Wally or Wendy started on the Six Points to Success, consider the following adage, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten."

If you're not satisfied with your sales, we invite you to participate in one of our workshops for FREE as our guest - along with paying clients. In other words, these are real training workshops, not promotional programs. 


Greg Nanigian is CEO of Greg Nanigian and Associates, affiliate Sandler Training.  Over the past 26 years, we've helped thousands of sales professionals and organizations optimize their selling strategies, increase profits and create lasting relationships with their customers.

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