You’ve seen them on real estate reality shows.
There’s one in nearly every office across America.
Salespeople who are difficult to deal with.
The problem is, they are usually the performers in the company, too.
Here are some tips I’ve learned from working with all kinds of talented salespeople over the years. Tips that work to reign in a rogue salesperson that brings in the dollars, but can’t get along inside your organization.
Nature vs. Nurture
Before I let you in on the secrets to dealing with high-maintenance salespeople, you should know one thing. The difficult behaviors salespeople exhibit are often misunderstood by management. Often, key traits that make someone a success in sales (like drive and strength) are the same ones that challenge colleagues around them. Leaders who change how they deal with these salespeople can affect the environment as a whole, and for the other employees, too.
Dealing with top performers
Oftentimes, a sales person that is labeled high maintenance is correctly perceived as such–even if he or she is a top performer. This type of employee may request the best office or a bigger expense account. These requests, however, can get under the skin of other employees.
As a manager or leader, there are a few steps you can take to deal with these high-maintenance employees–and the colleagues that have to deal with them, day in and day out:
- You have to decide if you’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep top-performing employees happy—no matter what it costs in terms of the business’ environment. If this is the way you decide to go, be sure that the money the employee brings in is equivalent to or justifies what you have to do to keep him or her happy. But don’t let employees who underperform get away with this kind of behavior.
- If the environment negatively affects other employees, give the sales person permission to work remotely, and minimize his or her ability to affect other employees within the organization.
- The volume of sales that expert salespeople have to do can naturally lead to high-maintenance issues, like requesting more work from office support staff and/or customer service. The employees only see the increased workload the sales person requires, and fail to view the value to the company as a whole. Managers should properly educate staff to overcome this challenge. For example, developing an effective sales-ranking system lets everyone in the company see who is performing—and who isn’t—and who is of real value to the team. On the other hand, training salespeople in how to properly handle support staff goes a long way, too.
With a better grasp of what makes successful, high-maintenance salespeople tick (and a few creative ideas), you can help your sales and support staff come to a better understanding of each team’s value to the company, and get your valued sales professionals to stick around for a long time.