As a baseball fan, it drives me mad when underperforming players don't play because of one nagging injury after another. It makes me wonder whether their injuries are causing them to underperform or their "injuries" are convenient excuses for their lack of performance. We usually don't know, but it sets up my next question.
Doesn't it drive you mad when terrific, yet underperforming salespeople, take time off for their car to be serviced, to bring their pets to the vet, to spend time with visiting family members, to work out of the house, when they feel under the weather, to meet a with a contractor, for the dentist, for their annual physical, etc? Take a vacation - no problem - but if you're not on vacation, then work for crying out loud!
The funny thing is that your overachievers may include these same things in their very busy schedules. The difference is that you either don't know about it, because they only spend the hour it actually takes to get it done instead of the entire day, or they don't do these things during their selling time.
Why do you suppose your underperformers are always coming up with things that cause them to take time off? Are those distractions the very reasons why they are underperforming or are they merely symptoms of their lack of focus, discipline, commitment, or work ethic?
I know from personal experience that when I am focused on results, I never have time for golf. Can't justify it. However, when I have focused on golf, I didn't get the business results which I'd expected. That's just the way it works. People will get results, not by accident, but only when they are completely focused on the activities, behaviors, work, flow and relationships that lead to results and when they are disciplined enough to remain focused and active for as long as it takes to achieve those results.
How do you keep a salesperson focused and disciplined? Those are the very salespeople who must be micro-managed, but don't be surprised if those same salespeople resist your efforts. They may not want to be so focused and disciplined, meaning that you aren't on the same page. When that's the case, it just might be time for a change of scenery. They do that with ballplayers....