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How to Turn an Underperformer into a Top Sales Performer

Sales is a skill that can be learned and there are several pointed tips and tricks that everyone can practice to meet their targets and make themselves a top performer.

“They just have that sales gene.”

In my 15 years in the sales industry, I’ve heard this phrase hundreds of times. Odds are, you too know someone who embodies the “sales gene”, somebody with that elusive charm who seems to be the personification of charisma.

While there are great salespeople who embody this characteristic, it doesn’t mean that you need to have the biggest, most outgoing personality to perform well in your role. In fact, some of our best salespeople are often the ones that keep to themselves. So no, the person with the “sales gene” doesn’t always outperform their colleagues. Sales is a skill that can be learned and there are several pointed tips and tricks that everyone can practice to meet their targets and put themselves in the top performer category. Although there are many, many more, here is my list of the top metrics to look at and skills to develop for a sales manager to transform an underperformer into a sales superstar.

Before you do anything, take a look at their KPIs.

Sometimes, all of your answers are in the numbers. Explore their call history and pay attention to important metrics like number of calls made per day, the average length of call time, number of successful reaches by day and time, and number of calls made per prospect. Oftentimes, it’s as simple as not leaving a voicemail (the more times a prospect hears your voice, the better) or they’re simply not making enough calls throughout the day. If this is the case, consider throwing your sales team’s metrics into a dashboard so your team can see their own achievements throughout the day, increase transparency, and gamify performance.

What if they’re hitting their daily targets but their conversations just aren’t converting into sales?

Take a random sample of call recordings and listen in on their conversations to see how they’re positioning your brand, how they’re representing themselves, and how they interact with the prospect. Ensure they’re doing the following:

Tell relevant stories.

While you may offer a valuable product, listing off impressive features that your company offers will never move the needle in a conversation. Successful sales pitches don’t just focus on how amazing the product is. Rather, they focus on how the product will help the prospect overcome a unique challenge. Sharing a story of how your product has assisted another company to alleviate similar pain points will encourage your prospect to want to overcome that obstacle too. When using a narrative to support your pitch, tailor the story to demonstrate how your product is applicable to the prospect’s situation and can help solve specific challenges.

Hone in on the message.

Nobody has time to sift through the thousands of emails, especially when those emails are 5 paragraphs long! Every salesperson needs to master the art of writing short, pointed messages that still hold value. Take your product’s differentiator and transform it into a twitter-like synopsis: short enough to encourage people to read it with enough information to engage and hopefully influence a response.

Don’t just talk. Listen!

Oh, the good old sales script. You know, the one every junior sales rep gets on the first day of their job to get them acquainted with the product? They usually have a cheesy opening line, list the top 3 selling features and maybe even name-drop a big client or two. While they may have ditched the physical script years ago, the act of regurgitating the same lines call after call results in any sales pitch sounding robotic. Ensure each salesperson is actively listening to the prospect to determine what their needs are and revising each sales pitch to match the unique needs of each person or business.


Sales can be a very challenging position. When messages aren’t connecting and you’re facing multiple rejections, it can take a toll on your ability to stay motivated and enthusiastic about your role. One of the most consistent qualities within every great salesperson that I’ve come across in my many years in the industry is the ability to persevere. This is where management really comes into play. Always encourage your team to make that second call, respond to objections with positive counterpoints, and remind them that at the end of the day, their goal is to add value to a prospect. A little encouragement from management can really go a long way.

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