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5 1/2 Reasons Salespeople Struggle in Their Position


Written February 13, 2019  


Over 19 years of partnering with small business owners has helped me understand why they deal with the 80/20 dilemma… where 80% of your productivity comes from just 20% of your team.

There are some positions this problem is more prevalent in.  Sales is one of them and many times it’s more like 90/10 or even worse.

When business owners and department managers come to us, they’re usually referred because of employee performance and productivity issues.

Issues in Sales are most important to eliminate for when salespeople are burning through leads and not closing at desired rates, it affects your entire company.  Especially your bottom-line.

If You or Your Team is Struggling in Sales, Consider This…

Sooner or later, when sales teams are struggling to sell, companies are forced to make changes in the way they do business.

They have to alter budgets, downgrade or cancel technology, modify production systems and even lower standards, adjust the pricing of their products or services, adjust compensation plans or fire people, etc.

And then, usually after doing all of the above, their sales are still stagnant.

This is because as they’ve modified many of the other systems in their business, they still haven’t addressed their sales system and the actual reasons that salespeople struggle in their positions…


The 5 1/2 Reasons…

If your sales team is not accomplishing goals right now, you need to consider whether the 5 1/2 areas below are the causes of your stagnant sales.

Of course, as I usually do, I’ve conveniently come up with a “P Word” for all 5 1/2 of them.

As you read, determine whether the specific P is a problem in your company and sales system.  The more reasons that are true for your organization, the more you need to work on your sales system.

Reason #1 – Products (or Services)

Some companies simply don’t have products or services that people want or need.  You are probably pitched many of them (as I am).

If your salespeople continually have to answer questions about the use of your products and services, or it’s difficult to come up with a list of benefits of using (or at least trying) your products, this is a reason for your low sales.  But…

How to know if this is not really a reason for your company:  If you or another member of your sales team is able to sell and accomplish goals, “Unwanted or Unneeded Products” is not an excuse you can use.

Reason #2 – Price

When you can prove your products or services are beneficial for the consumer (whether B to B or B to C), they will usually find a way to pay for them.  Well, that is unless the value and price don’t equate in the consumer’s mind.

If your salespeople continually have to negotiate with potential clients or lose sales to lower priced competitors because they can’t demonstrative value, then price may be a reason for your low sales.  But again…

How to know if this is not really a reason for your company:  If you or another member of your sales team is able to sell and accomplish goals, “High Price” is not an excuse you can use.

Reason #3 – Presentation

If there are other companies selling what you do at similar pricing and your team has continued to struggle, perhaps you have a presentation problem.  Whether your salespeople sell in the home, in a store, at a showroom, over the internet, by video or webinar, etc., there needs to be a sales process.

Many times the presentation is done in a consultation with a potential client – and must be scripted, demonstrate value, inoculate the competition and address all objections before they even arise.  If you don’t have a sales process, this may be the reason for your low sales.  But once again…

How to know if this is not really a reason for your company:  If you or another member of your sales team is able to sell and accomplish goals, “Lack of a Presentation” is not an excuse you can use.

Reason #4 – Prospects

Whether you are using Facebook Advertising, referrals, print ads, direct mail, the yellow pages, a sign flipper, Business Networking Groups, or any of the hundreds of other marketing strategies, you need to assure you’re using the right strategy to attract the right prospects.

Track where your prospective clients come from and make sure that those being attracted are actually interested in the Product, can pay the Price, and are motivated to buy from your Presentation. 

Because when you find a marketing strategy that attracts the right prospects, once again…

How to know if this is not really a reason for your company:  If you or another member of your sales team is able to sell and accomplish goals, “The Wrong Prospects” is not an excuse you can use.

Reason #5 – Poor Management

Time to get personal… if you haven’t considered any of the reasons above before today, it might be time for a change in management.  And if that’s you, then you must change the way you manage.

Especially if your products used to sell better, other companies are selling at similar pricing, your leaders can’t teach the presentation and you’re wasting money on marketing that doesn’t attract the right prospects.

Many times Sales Managers are hired or promoted because they’ve been TOP Performing Salespeople.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean they can recruit, hire, train, lead by example and do all the other things they need to be successful in Management.

So What If NONE of the 5 Previous Reasons are Why Your Company (or YOU) is Struggling to Sell… 

Now, if none of the first 5 reasons are why you (or your team) is falling short of expectations right now, you need to discover the final 1/2 a reason.  Yes, it’s also a P Word and…

The actual, proven by study after study reason why 50% of salespeople are struggling in their current position.

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