Salespeople Who Can't Perform Under Pressure

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Mar 21, 2007 @ 21:03 PM

I coach some very high profile sales executives and sales trainers.  There is one I have been working with for about two months.  I challenged him to raise his goal from $600,000 to $1,000,000 in revenue .  After determining the kind of company that represented his sweet spot, I helped him determine that he needed to close only 2 companies per month and only required 2 quality appointments per week to assure success.  TWO PER WEEK!  He thanked me profusely for making it so simple.  I spent a little more time helping him understand who to target and how to get introduced into those accounts.

Three weeks later, during our next coaching session, he was overwhelmed with pressure.  He couldn't handle it and wanted to bail out of the coaching. That's fine with me - it gives me one more much needed hour per month.  But I had an obligation to help him and couldn't let him bail that easily.  We talked it through and I identified a character flaw - he reacted badly to the word "accomplish" and rebeled, became overwhelmed and negative whenever anyone asked him to do something.  I'm good, but not that good!  I suggested therapy.  I figured that I already did half the work and  a therapist could  do the rest and just fix it.

Today, not even two weeks later, he called and was even more overwhelmed than last time.  He said he was comfortable with his previous goal, was making enough money, didn't perform well under pressure, and wanted to simply call when he needed help.  OK. No problem.  I did what I could and can't do anymore. All I could think about was TWO appointments per week.  What was he doing with the other 4 days that made him feel so much pressure?

This particular guy has his own business.  He doesn't work for me.  In his industry, his current revenue would be medicore at best. But what if one of your salespeople was comfortable doing half of what you needed him to do?  What if one of your salespeople reacted badly to increased expectations?  What if he couldn't work under pressure?  What would you do?  Would you:

a. let him keep doing what he's doing
b. give him an ultimatum
c. terminate him
d. put him on an exit plan
e. something else

Leave a comment and tell us what you would do and why!

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: Motivation, Performance

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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