Sales Leaders: 3 Reasons Why You’re Setting Your Sales Reps Up For Failure

Sales Leaders 3 Reasons Why You're Setting Your Sales Reps Up For Failure

by Larry Levine

Failure and success, a one-two punch for those living inside the sales world. View it like the two-headed monster. You can’t have one without the other.


The best sales professionals don’t close every sales opportunity. It would be fair to say they don’t close on a majority of their opportunities. A batting average of .300 in the big leagues and a baseball player has set themselves up for a huge payday. Ironic isn’t it that they fail to hit the ball 70% of the time?

Are your sales reps failing 70% of the time to close their targeted opportunities?

Why I am being so harsh?

Your sales reps have developed the dreaded disease called lackitis prospectitus

This dreaded disease attacks 1 out of every 2 sales reps. Lackitis Prospectitus doesn’t happen overnight. It is a slow-growing, self-induced disease. Through years of scientific research, I have pinpointed the cause, identified the culprit and even created a name for the culprit.

Allow me to introduce you to… Managementus Enablementus – otherwise known as enablement by management

When your sales reps spend a majority of their time managing their client base, moaning and groaning about how busy they are, not paying attention to net-new business opportunities because of all the “stuff” they are doing while then being rewarded extravagant President’s Club trips, I call this Managementus Enablement. This is why your sales reps fail to close more business!


Article upon the article on sales tells us how it’s harder than ever to sell. The buyer is now in control and ignores sales reps throughout most of their buying journey according to industry pundits.

Are most of your sales reps still stubbornly trying to sell in chronological order as they dictate their sales process to their clients or prospects? Would you even know?

The modern buyer has evolved. They are much more sophisticated in the way they evaluate their buying options, where they get their information from as well as how they view your sales reps.

How many of your sales reps are crushing quota? How many are developing net-new business?

More and more sales deals are ending up in “no decision” status than ever before. Deal sizes are dwindling. All these sales statistics thrown around by industry pundits are very sobering but this doesn’t mean you simply accept this and effectively throw in the white towel! Unfortunately, most of you have given up. You have let complacency, your ego and yes fear set in. You have allowed it to get the best of you!

The way it is now is the not the way it will be

What if you examined the way your sales reps engaged with your clients and prospects? Is it conceivable they could sell smarter and more effectively than they are today? The status quo, it’s not working and it’s getting worse! Sales leaders, fight back and look for better ways to improve your sales reps results.  Rather than lamenting, bitching and moaning – do something about it! It is not 1999 any longer!


Mindset plays such a huge role in your ability to succeed or fail. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll stop yourself from trying new things. You will miss out on having the opportunity to broaden your skillset as well as trying a wide variety of new experiences to help you and your sales reps grow. Take a deep breath and be willing to take the leap.

Ask yourself:

“What can I gain, what do I want to learn, and what opportunities will be lost if I prevent myself from taking new actions? How will this affect my sales team?”


Whether it’s staying ahead through education or by uncovering new ideas and trends within your specific industry, you must continuously be adopting new competencies and skillsets. In turn, it is your responsibility to pass on these new skill sets to your sales team in order for them to do their job better.

Imagine the coach of any professional sports team… if they aren’t enhancing the level of their teams’ play, what usually happens to them? Need I answer?

Being open to new ideas and sales approaches do not come easy. In fact, change plays mind tricks on us all but without the right mindset, learning will not occur. Your sales team will not grow!

You and your sales team must develop the mind of a champion. You must adopt and develop a growth mindset or you are setting your team up to fail.

A successful sales team obsesses with a growth mindset. They thrive on treating their minds like muscles, stretching and developing them to learn new things. Failure is not being able to move forward and seize the opportunities to stretch for the things one values.

A growth mindset is based on the belief you can cultivate your sales teams ability to learn. It’s not about getting things right the first time, it’s about learning over time. You must realize, in order for your sales team to succeed inside this highly connected, rapidly changing the business world, you all must adopt a new mindset.


In today’s sales environment, the gap between relevance and obsolescence is growing wider every day. If your sales reps are to stay relevant then they must adapt to change. They must do so before “change” beckons the call. This means you must adapt to change yourself.

I leave you to ponder this picture for a moment…

In order for your sales reps to stay relevant, they must get connected, connected with their current clients and more importantly connected with future clients. They must adapt and self-educate themselves with emerging trends inside their industry; to anticipate the new direction and foresee the writing on the wall which demands innovation.

You are letting your sales reps down and set themselves up for failure if have them failing to adapt to emerging threats, themselves.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

General Eric Shinseki

Coach your sales reps to stay relevant and adapt to the changing environment by:

  • Welcoming and learning from failure
  • Asking for help and soliciting feedback
  • Becoming voracious learners through self-education
  • Becoming focused on the process of growth
  • Becoming extremely accountable to themselves and their clients
  • Checking their ego at the door


Sales in all facets have evolved immensely over the last 5-10 years. We can thank the internet and Google for driving much of the change. It is unfortunate, as sales leaders and their teams are wrestling with how to combat their selling efforts to these changes.

One huge area you and your sales reps are setting themselves up for failure is not effectively building and tapping into your social networks.

The reality, like it or not, the presence of all types of social whether it is social media, social selling or social networks is here to stay. It is not going away anytime soon. If anything it’s becoming a bit more mainstream and all the more encompassing as it layers in quite nicely with traditional sales approaches.

Social networks, offer an excellent opportunity for you and your sales reps to demonstrate their expertise. Yes, I know it is a tricky endeavor as you all try to manage your time and patience levels but failure to cultivate your social networks will become your recipe for disaster within your sales team.

Traditional techniques are still alive and well albeit time-consuming by limiting the exposure your sales reps can have within their client base. Social in all aspects enable your sales reps to expand their reach exponentially simply by using technology allowing them to socialize on a grander scale.

Coach up your sales reps to develop the mindset and skillset as they tap into their social networks to help grow their business.

This will allow you and your team to:

  • Find out where your clients and prospects hang out online
  • Listen, listen and continue to actively listen to what is being said online – dial up the social phone!
  • Reach out, start conversations, build relationships geared towards moving to an offline conversation

In the sales world of today, intelligence is key. Social is changing and influencing the way your clients and prospects view your sales reps. This is the harsh new sales reality my sales leader friends!


Every quarterback in the National Football League has a quarterback coach. These are the best players on the planet and they all have a dedicated coach to help them improve performance. Why shouldn’t the people directly responsible for generating revenue for your company have the same?

Let me be very clear, every sales rep has an area of development they need to work on to get better. A good sales coach (yes this is you) knows the strengths and weaknesses of each sales rep and always has a working development plan in place.

You are directly responsible for ensuring all of your sales reps meet or exceed quota!

What are you going to do about it?


My question to all sales leaders, why are you accepting a failure to adopt and adapt a growth mindset, thus settling for status quo? This is equivalent to a sales death sentence.

You all must set aside and squash “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. This would be acceptable if your current sales conversion rates for profitable net-new business was 2-3X higher year over year. We know the harsh reality as your sales death spiral hits you by not adopting, adapting and leveraging social networks for business growth.

I understand I get where you all are coming from. Every day, I walk in your shoes. I am fully committed to helping your sales team integrate social aspects and modern strategies into your current sales process to grow new business. I want you to get results. This is why I am passionate about doing this the right way, the genuine way, the authentic way!

In 2016, I was recognized by ENX Magazine as, “The Difference Maker,” as someone who is making a difference inside the B2B office technology sector. I am passionate about helping sales reps succeed in creating their online brand image

You can find more advanced training material inside the Social Sales Academy website.

I appreciate getting the opportunity to share my LinkedIn stories. Integrating the use of LinkedIn was my “game-changer” in the highly competitive office technology world. With great pride, I transform, challenge, coach and inspire sales teams to grow new business by helping them tell their story and communicate it out by integrating the use of social media.

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