How to Improve Employee Sales and Service Performance–Part 2

30 June, 2009 (20:31) | Blog | By: admin

By: Michael Neill

In last month’s issue, we examined why employees under perform and found out a few important facts:

  1. Many employees know they are under performing
  2. Employees who are able to perform do not do so due to:
    a. Managers who “parent” rather than coach
    b. The use of negative/neutral reinforcement in organizations
    c. It is human nature for employees to be comfortable rather than improve their performance 

In this month’s article, we will examine an equally important issue, “Given the above, what can we do to improve sales performance?” 


1. A coach must analyze the employee’s behavior to determine the CAUSE of the under-performance.  We often misdiagnose the symptom as the problem.  For example, the problem is not that employee is failing meeting their sales or service goals.  The fact they are not meeting goals is a SYMPTOM of the performance problem.  ALL performance problems are due to a lack of WILLINGNESS AND/OR ABILITY.  In fact all performance types can be summarized in the grid below. 


                                                       ABLE                                        UNABLE

                                                      Delegate/                                  Train
Recognize                                                       Coach                                     Terminate


                    WILLING       Delegate                            Knowledge Problem

                                                                                                Train and Coach

              UNWILLING Motivation Problem                Employee Nightmare

                                                1. Confront
                                               2. Solve Problem 

2. How you define the problem will determine the resolution you choose.  For example, if you MIS- IDENTIFY the problem, as the employee is not meeting sales goals, you will be left to handle the problem in a particular manner.  It’s like when you identify your headache and sore throat as the problem.  You will take aspirin to make the SYMPTOM FEEL BETTER.  If the sore throat and headache are caused by an illness you have TREATED THE SYMPTOM NOT DEALT WITH THE PROBLEM.  When the aspirin wears off the problem is still there.  UNTIL YOU DEAL WITH THE PROBLEM IT WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST.  It may feel better for a short time if you treat the symptom, but none the less the problem still exists.

3. You can see in the grid above how to deal with each of the three performance problems.  Remember that 84% of employees said they could perform significantly better if they wanted to in last month’s article.  That is the very definition of unwilling/able.  If you follow the grid above you can determine coaching is the correct solution for unwilling/able employees.  Training will only solve willing/unable problems.  The only productive action to take with an employee who is unwilling/unable is to terminate them. 

So if you determine coaching is the solution, what can I do to properly coach you?  I will be speaking about this subject in detail at the CoreTrac Users’ Conference in April.  I look forward to seeing you there!

Michael Neill is the president of Michael Neill & Associates, Inc.  Since 1998 MNA worked with credit unions and banks to assist them in the development of a lasting and effective sales and service culture.  Credit unions can find out more at and banks may visit

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On LinkedinVisit Us On Google PlusCheck Our Feed