3 Reasons Why You Need to Fire a Sales Person

November 4, 2014 Matthew Cook

3 Reasons Why You Need to Fire a Sales PersonSometimes it's difficult to know whether you need to fire a sales person. Before you fire a sales person, you need a thorough understanding of any number of factors-or you might find yourself letting an excellent employee go. Similarly, many managers find themselves sitting on top of sales agents that should have been given their pink slip ages ago, because not every problematic sales person looks as bad on paper as they should. In this article, we'll discuss three reasons you should fire a sales person; reasons that maybe you haven't considered, or didn't realize were so important. 

Unwilling to Improve

Every sales agent worth keeping on your team should be, at all times, striving to improve his or her performance. That applies equally to the underperformers and the top agents of your company-whatever their position, they should want to improve. An unwillingness to learn, reflect, and improve performance should be considered a strong reason to fire a sales person, even if their numbers look fine.

Even if they're doing well now, it will take very little to destabilize the performance of a sales person who doesn't learn, doesn't improve, doesn't look at their numbers and reflect on why they are where they are. You don't want sales people who coast along on momentum when you might fill their position with a better performer.

Just don't hold unreasonable expectations. Self-reflection and improvement don't need to be a major ordeal undertaken by every employee. There's a difference between 'unwilling to improve' and 'not making major gains every week'. When you fire a sales person, make sure it's for failing to meet reasonable goals, not because they had a run of bad luck or didn't improve as quickly as your star agent.

Damaging the Team

This one often slips by unnoticed for entirely too long, but you absolutely must fire a sales person who damages your team as a whole. It doesn't matter how good any one individual sales person may be, if he or she harms team morale or otherwise acts against the common good of the group. Even if this disruptive force is a top performer pulling twice what your second performer pulls in, they may be losing you money on a daily basis.

There are many ways an individual might be damaging to the team, and not all involve fault or blame to be assigned. Someone who would be an excellent agent in all aspects at another company may fit your corporate culture or team dynamics horribly, like a well-crafted gear with the wrong number of teeth. IT can be worth it to wait to fire a sales person with this sort of problem, as sometimes they can adapt over time and become your best team members.

On the other end of the spectrum, however, are the malicious and the malign. You don't want to keep around a sales person who actively antagonizes their coworkers no matter how good they are-morale aside, you don't want HR disasters arising down the line. Fire a sales person of this type immediately, no matter how much the loss stings.

Destructive and Deceptive Sales Practices

No matter how well they close sales, you must fire a sales person who engages in harmful sales practices for the good of the company. This can include simple deception and all the legal ramifications included therein, but destructive practices, such as high-pressure tactics that result in unusually high rates of complaint, negative word of mouth, and returns. Closing the sale at any cost hurts profits in the long term, period.

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