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What can you learn from your most challenging sales person?

What can you learn from your most challenging sales person?

What can you learn from your most challenging sales person?

It’s easy to consider your most challenging sales person a thorn in your side but these people often give us the biggest opportunity to develop your leadership skills.

When all your efforts with a sales person aren’t getting the results you want your first task is to understand them at a deeper level because the resistance you are experiencing is a sign of a lack of rapport! In the words of Stephen Covey…seek first to understand, then to be understood. Until you understand them you won’t be able to communicate with them effectively.


How are they motivated?

Towards what they want or away from what they don’t want? It’s easy to establish…people with a towards preference are motivated towards what they want and their language will reflect that. They use words like want, achieve, get. Setting goals and offering incentives really inspires and drives them.

People with an away from preference are motivated away from what they don’t want and this will be reflected in their language. They are pain averse and they will tell you all the things that they don’t want. When the pain of doing something is greater than the pain of consequences, they will avoid the action. You will need to focus them strongly on the consequences of not taking the appropriate action to increase the perceived pain of not doing. This really drives them to take action in order to avoid the pain of consequence.

Using the wrong language is a big demotivator, for example setting goals for an away from person will not inspire them…and focusing on the consequences of under achievement with a towards person will flatten them. You will simply not get the best out of them.


What are their values?

Knowing what’s important to them really helps you use the right language to increase rapport and influence. What’s really important to them? What drives them each day? What inspires them to do a good job?

Values drive behaviours and if there’s a disconnect their values will always win. You’ll need to find a way of connecting their values to their role…for example if family is one of their top values, how can you link their success to giving their family more choice/options/experiences?

Knowing their values creates links that help you increase their motivation and success in a more natural and holistic way.


How well do you know them as a person?

Take time to get to know your sales people on a personal level. Be available to them…and open to discussing what’s important to them. Having a genuine interest and conversation about the challenges they are experiencing both in and out of work goes a long way to building an inspired and motivated culture.

It’s easy to focus only on the numbers as a sales leader but you also need to focus on the people because they are the ones bringing in the sales. The happier they are the easier they will find it to close deals.

It’s a shame happiness isn’t a KPI because I’m sure more sales would be generated if it were!

Check out my previous blog How good are you at motivating your sales team? For more ideas on how to inspire the right actions in your team.


What do you need to change in your approach?

If what you’re doing isn’t working then do something else. Yes, you could blame your sales person for being difficult…or you could own the fact that your approach isn’t right for them.

If you develop the skills to lead all sales people with a multitude of personalities you will definitely become a better version of yourself each and every day.

Until next time,

Leigh 😊




“It’s given me a clear mindset on how to move forward and continually improve as a recruiter.”