Some time ago, we had a rep in our office that was struggling to keep people on the phone. Now, most people in sales at one point or another go through a slump. What was weird about this particular case was this rep was constantly fired up and chatty with everyone around them, but the second they got a prospect on the phone they just couldn’t keep them on.

This case was particularly puzzling for me for a few reasons, but the main reason was this: This rep had a ton of both personal and learned experience into the industries they were calling, but for some reason something wasn’t clicking. Naturally, this triggered a conversation with the rep in order to better understand what was going on.

Approaching additional training with struggling reps can be challenging; very few people want to hear they’re not meeting expectations and their reactions can echo that. While this can be challenging, following these tactics will make sure to avoid the typical negative connotations that go along with tough conversations:

Focus on their strengths
Focusing on this aspect can simply just give them the confidence boost that they need to kick it up a notch or create an entirely new tactic to turn things around quickly.

In this case, articulating the value through storytelling was the way to go for this BDR. This person had a story for pretty much everything, so we decided to try this tactic on the phones- and it worked well. Not every person is going to be good at storytelling, but really understanding your team’s personalities in order to play to their strengths is critical to help break a slump.

Candid, positive feedback

The term ‘Honesty is the Best Policy’ comes to mind here, and it’s true: Being very upfront with your feedback/what they may be struggling with is very important. A rep may not even be aware of what their struggle actually is or could even be focused on the wrong thing, so being clear with them about their struggles can be really eye opening.

At the same time, being positive with your feedback can be a huge factor in giving/reinforcing confidence going forward for a salesperson.

Have an established plan going forward

Just as important as the previous two points, having an established plan between you and the rep to make sure changes are made is critical to ensuring success going forward. Whether it be an established day and time to check-in or ad hoc conversations throughout the workweek, making sure that there is an established plan to track progress, and holding the rep accountable to this plan, is very important.

After using these tactics, the struggling rep I spoke with went back on the phones and blew their numbers out of the water the next month by 400%. Candid, positive feedback, playing to their strengths, and establishing a check in plan to monitor progress made a world of difference to this rep’s success. Employ these tactics during your next tough conversation with someone who is struggling and see the improvement happen in front of you!