Most organizations employ some kind of sales coaching program; however many don't yield measurable results. The top performers continue to make up most of the revenue pie. How can organizations motivate the under-performers? Should they use more contests and more bonus money? The top performers are usually the most motivated anyway, they will win everything. The worst case scenario would be that the under-performers don't even bother trying.

They accept defeat thinking there's no way they can win the contests. This might send their already plummeting self-confidence down a few more notches. As soon as fear and anxiety sets in, the sales reps become inept and just dread coming into the office to face the manager every day. Sales performance development is the most effective way to fire up average or non-performing reps. Sending them out in the field short on confidence is a real money loser.

Sales managers should use performance development management tools to monitor the under-performing reps. When sales reps fall into a slump, just as with athletes, you have to find a way to manage their emotions. If they care about their job at all, which most do, you have to find a way to reduce their tension which is affecting their performance. Like athletes, you have to take measurable steps to rebuild their confidence. You already know they can do the job, I'm assuming they have hit their quota at some point in the past.

Depending on the sales rep's internal fortitude, putting them on written warning could be the death nail. If you've invested considerable time and money into their prior development, it won't make sense to simply let them go. As long as you are sure they work hard and are trying their best, then developing a performance development plan based on measurable actions and meeting designated milestones on sales activities is the best course of action.

Developing a customized plan with the non-performing sales reps will get them bought in. The collaboration will strengthen the bond between manager and rep. You can openly discuss the reason for the slump, it could be a variety of factors, both internal or external. A customized road-map geared at their strengths would be best as they will have inherent confidence. The key is to encourage them to build up some confidence internally whereby reducing stress and tension.

Sales reps are humans just like anyone else, they suffer from emotional highs and lows just like athletes. Using standard written warning policies exacerbates their problem. The best course of action is implementing a customized performance plan. Written warnings are negative by definition and might cause increased anxiety, even worse they kill any hope for creativity. Use performance development tools to turn a negative situation into a positive, it presents the best solution for all parties.

Author's Bio: 

Henry Okwo is the Founder and CEO of SalesGymUSA, a Targeted Sales Training company. Henry is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley where he was a 2-time National Champion. He has over 15 years sales and management experience and has developed a specialized sales training program based on sports performance development to boost sales. Find out more targeted sales strategies to increase your sales results at Henry also conducts a daily mental workout on his blog,