Why Are My Relationship Managers Not Performing as Expected?


by Tony Cole, Founder and CLO, Anthony Cole Training Group

If you are a Bank CEO or LOB sales leader and you look at your numbers and the people producing those numbers, do you ever scratch your head in confusion over why you are looking at a lack of sales results?

Certainly, you didn’t hire these people to be in the middle of the pack or at the tail end of the conga line, but sometimes, that is right where they are.  I know you don’t want to believe you hired them that way, but it’s either that, or you made them that way. Don’t get upset.  The reality is that your team’s performance is a result of who you’ve hired or what you’ve done (or not done).

So, in general, why do many salespeople fail to perform? Here are some detailed answers to that question so please keep reading.

  • Underperformers have 80% of the desire of top performers. (*Note – not all performers have off-the-chart desire – that is about 7% of all top sales people.)
  • Those that underperform have about 44% of the commitment to succeed in selling that top performers do.
  • These two factors combine to measure motivational level. Underperformers have about 60% of the motivation of your top people.

SUMMARY – Underperformers just are not as motivated to succeed. So how do you stop hiring RMs that are not motivated to succeed?

Using the Objective Management Sales Evaluation, there are over 100 data points to measure the opportunity for sales growth of a sales team/organization.  Additionally, this data helps us to predict the likelihood of success of new sales people and managers. 

Here are some interesting findings based on the raw data our company has collected from assessing hundreds of financial salespeople (as well as firsthand knowledge of some of the people in the study).

  • Top performers are trainable and coachable
  • Top performers have a high figure-it-out factor
  • Top performers have a low need for approval and…
  • Top performers score an average of 86.8 and underperformers score 39.6 for handling rejection!
  • Top performers are hunters, consultative sellers and closers (average score for skills is 55% of required skills while underperformers average 39.6% of required skills)

So here is a tip:
Do not hire based on past performance. (It’s like investing in a mutual fund – past performance is not  indicative of future returns.)  During the interview process, reject the heck out of the sales candidate – the strong ones will recover and attempt to close you over and over again!

According again to Objective Management Group, there are 5 specific sales strengths (called The Will to Sell) that you want to know about a candidate as well as about your current salespeople. These include desire, commitment, outlook, responsibility and motivation. The following data indicates that these sales strengths are even better indicators of success than sales skills:

  • Underperformers have 85% of the sales skills of top performers and have…
  • Only 71% of the sales strengths that support execution of sales skills and…
  • The severity of their sales weaknesses is 52% higher than that of top performers

SUMMARY – The skills are about the same, but those with strong sales strengths of desire, commitment, outlook and responsibility rise to the top.

Make sure your pre-hire assessment process looks for these sales strengths and “will sell” rather than just skills, personality and behavioral traits.

So, back to the original question:   
Why are my salespeople not performing as expected?”:

  • Do you have a lack of data around sales strengths and sales skills?
  • Has there been a poor diagnosis of the right contributing factors for success?
  • Is there too much focus on “being nice” during interview process??
  • Is there a lack of solid training and development on the root causes of poor performance?

Now that you have some of the answers to the question, is it time to do something about it?

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