8 Signs That a Salesperson Isn't Cut Out For the Job

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Adam Honig
Adam Honig



As sales managers, it’s not only our job to coach reps to sell smarter, faster, and better (perhaps with an app like Spiro), but also to help recognize those team members who want nothing more than to get out of sales. ASAP.


No matter the reason a rep may be wrong for sales, you have to sometimes accelerate their exit strategy to both their own and the team's benefit.

Here are some sure signs that a salesperson doesn’t belong in sales.

1) They take everything personally.

Sales is a competitive, emotionally challenging profession. If someone on your team is easily offended, they should resign immediately. Not only will they not be able to handle the prospects who hang up on or otherwise dismiss them, but they probably won’t be able to take your constructive criticism either.

2) Rejection slows them down.

Salespeople hear “no” more often than they hear “yes.” It’s just part of the job.

Your reps need to be able to get over not only the fear of rejection, but also be able to throw themselves the world’s shortest pity party when things don't out the way they'd hoped and move on to the next opportunity.

I like to remind my sales team that sometimes the actual sale doesn’t even begin until the prospect says “no.” Objections are the sign of a buyer seriously considering your offering, after all.

3) They are always job searching.

It’s a smart idea to always have your resume updated, especially in the sales world where you could be great one quarter and gone the next. But if you catch a rep on your team perusing open jobs often, then sales may not be for them.

Sales takes commitment -- to follow up, to close deals, and to make their clients successful -- so salespeople need to be committed to the profession and company as well. Someone with one foot out the door clearly isn't committed.

4) They don’t make the ask.

I’m not sure why certain reps simply can't bring themselves to ask their buyers if they have a deal (maybe it's something psychological?). But what I am sure of: That type of fear doesn’t fly in sales.

If you have a rep on your team that just won’t make the final ask for whatever reason, it’s a sign they aren’t in the right job.

5) There is no sense of urgency.

It doesn’t have to be (and really shouldn't be) an urgency emergency filled with frantic closings. However, your salespeople should have a level of drive to get that deal done -- and the next one after that, and the next one after that.

If your rep isn’t on a call or in a meeting with a prospect, then they should be researching the next buyer, or sorting through their inbound leads. Surfing the web and hanging out at the water cooler is not for salespeople.

6) They hate other salespeople.

As a sales manager, you are trying to build a team. And if the "players" on your team don’t like each other? Your life gets a lot more difficult.

If one of your reps is always bad-mouthing their fellow reps or the sales profession in general, then they should take a long look in the mirror. Not only should reps have an appreciation for the sales culture that will bring them success, but they should like their coworkers.

7) Money isn’t important to them.

Money may be considered the root of all evil by some, but it’s also the root of all sales. If generating revenue for the company and making money on a personal level doesn’t motivate your team members, you are going to have a hard time finding ways to keep them going.

At the end of the day, the role of a salesperson is to make their company money, so you need a sales team that wants to execute on this goal -- and make money for themselves along the way.

8) They are pessimistic.

Do your sales reps take mistakes and learn from them, or wallow in the defeat?

If you are trying to build a sales dream team, you need positive players on the court. Success in sales requires irrational optimism. If you have pessimists on your team, they are never going to be able to deal with the daily rejection and stress of sales. Only optimists can be true salespeople.

What other warning signs tip you off that a salesperson isn't cut out for the job? Share your thoughts in the comments.


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