Why I fired My Sales Rep

Although I sensed I had a problem on my hands even before my mother reported seeing my sales rep at her beauty salon getting his nails done during business hours, I realized I needed to do something about it now.

“Wesley” was a glad-hander. He was always happy to see you. “Hey! How’s everything? How’s it going?” And he never waited for a response. He had a “perma-grin” on his face, and not in a good way. He seemed, I don’t know…slick and dishonest?

I knew that was not the case. He was pretty honest in my experience, just a little, hmm, lackadaisical shall we say?

Oh, he brought in big accounts. He did a great job with clients and made them feel good about using us. Also, he did whatever we needed him to do, unless he had something else to do. He was not a team player, but is that necessarily a bad thing in a sales rep?

YES! It is deadly.

Who wants to work overtime, go the extra mile, and do above and beyond for a cardboard cutout? Not my staff, and I don’t blame them.

And what happens when the tide goes out and the economy goes down? You see who’s been swimming naked! Yup, Wesley was speedo-less, and when the economy tanked and his big clients pulled up stakes, guess who was left without a plan.

I share blame for this as a pre-Bill-Farquharson- trained sales manager. I sales managed by hoping—not a particularly effective strategy.

My former sales rep was lazy and complacent. He was disorganized and not technologically savvy. He was shallow and needy. He knew the printing business, but so do a lot of people.

My NEW sales rep is motivated and hungry. She is efficient and learns what she needs to learn in order to know more than her clients do. She is interesting and self-sufficient. And now she knows the printing business.

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