Falling short of your target can be a stressful and sometimes embarrassing prospect but how do you communicate with your boss about it?
Missing your target is something that most salespeople experience in their tenure, even if they don't admit it to you. Burying your head in the sand can seem like the best way to go about it but you'll get a lot more respect from your colleagues and your boss if you face the facts.
How you communicate and present this situation to your boss can make all the difference. Regardless of your results - or lack of them - you'll fare a lot better if you are open and honest about why you're falling short of the necessary standard.
Bite the bullet and arrange a meeting with your manager to talk about your performance, focusing on the reasons why you're not on track at the moment. This not only shows that you are committed to the role and to owning up to your mistakes, but also that you can use your own initiative to take steps to improve.
Going into the nitty gritty of why you're underperforming will speak to the business-side of your manager too, and allow them to see practical ways you can move forward as part of the team.
Additional support is needed
Have you had situations where you felt out of your depth? If you're fairly new to sales it may be that you need more support to know how to deal with more difficult customers or how to increase the average amount you generate from each sale. This is something that your manager can do to constructively improve your performance by offering you additional training or using something like a buddy scheme to give you more confidence.
It may also be that it's been a bad time of year for you. Maybe you've had personal problems or are suffering from an illness that you've not informed your employer of. If this is the case, be honest about the situation and explain what sort of support you may need going forward to prevent it from being repeated in the future.
Poor product knowledge
Few sales will go through if you don't properly understand every element of the product or service you are selling. Despite this, it's fairly common for salespeople who are new to the team to try and blag their way through it, acting overconfident about details that they really don't understand.
If you're not able to answer the tough questions that customers are asking you then you need to confront this. If this is affecting your sales performance, you need to be honest to your manager and ask them to give you more training in your product offering.
Failing to convert
Understanding how to guide consumers through the buyer cycle is at the core of every sales team's success. If you're failing to convert your leads it's likely that you're speaking to people that aren't ready to buy or that you're not giving them the information they need to feel confident in the sale.
This can be a massive problem and can continue to hamper your performance in the long term so you need to identify the reasons why your leads aren't converting as soon as possible. Presenting this to your manager and the steps you have taken to remove the obstacles that were preventing conversion is a sure-fire way to get them back on side. This is because they will see the value of keeping you on the team as your sales number could drastically increase in a fairly short period of time.
Not identifying bad leads
The best-performing sales reps know how to identify a bad lead within seconds and end the conversation quickly. However, this can be more difficult than it seems. If you struggle to see the difference between a good and bad lead before you've spent 30 minutes talking to them, that's time wasted where you could have been making a sale.
Look over your performance metrics and see how long you are spending talking to prospects, and your conversion rate. Often leads that are going to convert need very little persuading and so the conversation will be fairly short compared to one that really isn't ready to buy.
Insights for Professionals provide free access to the latest thought leadership from global brands. We deliver subscriber value by creating and gathering specialist content for senior professionals. To view more Management content, click here.