You have a sales force and some of your salespeople are difficult to manage. There are varying reasons for the challenges. They could include, but aren't limited to these 10:
- resistance to coaching
- don't want to be held accountable
- excuse making
- always making suggestions about how things should be done differently
- critical of the company, management, systems, expectations, etc.
- they aren't effective
- not motivated
- not likable
To be sure, 9 of these 10 are management challenges that you must work extra hard to deal with. On the other hand, there is 1 - the 5th one about suggestions - which one can easily mix in or fail to distinguish from the others. Many managers treat #5 just as they treat the other 9 - whines from a malcontent. But #5 is different. The salespeople who fit the description of #5 might actually be on to something. They might be right. They're actually trying to make things better. They might even be wrong, but they're being constructive. The challenge with #5 is getting over yourself enough to listen! Here's what you can say:
You've been making an awful lot of suggestions and I probably haven't given them the consideration they deserve. Let's pick a couple of them, discuss how we can implement them, and commit to making them work.
Two things will happen. You'll have a much more engaged salesperson and that in turn will cause others to become more engaged. You'll continue to get input, some of it useful, and when you listen, consider and implement the best, you'll gain more respect and credibility from your salespeople. That leads to more trust, better relationships and increased performance.