Bad Apples on the Sales Force - Sales or Sanity?

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Aug 18, 2008 @ 20:08 PM

Some of our many readers at Understanding the Sales Force leave their comments when they feel so moved to do so.  One reader, who chips in with a comment from time to time, identifies himself as Chubby Davis.  Look at the tremendous value that Chubby adds to our discussions:

Out of the dozens of valuable comments from the Best Sales Advice in a Single Sentence, Chubby wrote, "Your client is lying to you!"

From the article,  How Long Does it Take for a Salesperson to Get It?, Chubby wrote, "...Bean Town Bullshit !!"

From the article, Verizon Wireless - Tech, Lies and Audio, Chubby wrote, "Welcome to Amerika".

Among the many great suggestions contributed to Managing the Sales Force - The Calendar, Chubby contributed, "Can hit the local 'Titty Bar' !!!" 

From the article, 5 Sales Management Tips From My 5 Year-Old, Chubby wrote, "That's it, me have no kid = not enough sales !!!" 

And in last week's, How to Find the Compelling Reasons for Seth Godin's Intangibles, he commented, "Of course it's a 'fairy tale' ..who wants to hear the f%cking truth" 

Chubby's antics remind me of the bad-apple, renegade, maverick salespeople that many companies are stuck with.  I say stuck because most executives can't choose between having a functional sales force versus a top producer that is also the local cancer distributor. 

I've met hundreds of these individuals during the past 25 years and they're all pretty much the same.  They're loud, arrogant, know-it-alls that crave attention and will say pretty much anything to get it.  Their act includes insults, teasing, and jokes at somebody else's expense; Publicly complaining about company policies, managers and products; Failure to show up when expected and showing up when asked not to; Hitting on individuals of the opposite gender at their own company and at their customers, and late night partying; And running up the company expense account after spending way too much money bringing their customers to night clubs.  These people make Manny Ramirez look like a good citizen!

As bad as these people are, they aren't the real problem.  The real problem is the manager they report to, who enables them,  protects them, gives them permission to do what they want, defends them in times of trouble, and even shares a few drinks with them to celebrate; all in the name of revenue.

You can do more with less.  Addition by subtraction.  That's how the Red Sox looked at it with Manny and that's how companies should look at it when they have people like this.

Chubby, we hardly know you, and until we do, we'll use your invaluable comments and insights to crusade for functionality and sanity on sales forces around the world.

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan 



Topics: Sales Force, leadership, Motivation

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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 eight 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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