Non-compliance is our bane as trainers. Or is it? Why are some non-compliant salespeople capable of ultimately embracing change, while others remain steadfastly opposed? Here is a tale of two non-complaint salespeople.

1. Joe

Joe, 60 years old, is a social values seller – he wants people to like him. His customers reorder online from his line of hundreds of items. He calls on 100 accounts each month, sticking his head in the door, seeing if the customer needs anything, dropping off some literature on a new item and always sharing a positive emotion. He never challenges prospects’ thinking when they say, “I’m good.”

Joe participated in a change program with weekly assignments. The assignment for this week was securing one introduction to a new prospect. Here’s the conversation we had:

Sales coach: Joe, how did it go with the introduction assignment?

Joe: I didn’t get any.

Sales coach: How many people did you ask?

Joe: No one.

Sales coach: Did you know everyone had an assignment to secure one introduction?

Joe: I know.

Sales coach: Why didn’t you try to get one?

Joe: The CEO said I don’t need to do this program.

Two weeks later, the CEO participated in our next one-to-one. Here’s the conversation we had:

Sales coach: Joe, how did it go with the introduction assignment?

Joe: I didn’t get any.

Sales coach: How many people did you ask?

Joe: No one.

Sales coach: Did you know everyone had an assignment to secure one introduction?

Joe: I know.

Sales coach: Why didn’t you try to get one?

Joe: The CEO said I don’t need to do this program.

Sales coach to the CEO: Did you tell Joe he didn’t have to get introductions?

CEO: No, I didn’t tell him that. Everyone needs to get introductions.

Joe: Oh, I didn’t realize you wanted me to get an introduction. I’ll get one now.

Within two months, Joe resigned.

2. Sally

Sally, a 47-year-old key account manager, is a social values seller – she wants people to like her. She covers one key account, which does 50 percent of the company’s sales.

Sally participated in a change program with weekly assignments. The assignment for this week was securing one introduction to a new prospect. Here’s the conversation we had:

Sales coach: Sally, how did it go with the introduction assignment?

Sally: I didn’t get any.

Sales coach: How many people did you ask?

Sally: No one.

Sales coach: Did you know everyone had an assignment to secure one introduction?

Sally: I know.

Sales coach: Why didn’t you try to get one?

Sally: You don’t understand; when I was hired 20 years ago, my job was to wait for the phone to ring. When our key account called, I raced over there and took care of their business needs. I wasn’t hired to get introductions.

Sales coach: Sally, you are blocking the superhighway of sales. Our delighted customers are our greatest selling assets. You are the only one calling regularly on our key account. If you don’t ask for introductions, no one will do so. You must make a choice. If you don’t want to ask for introductions, you can take another position. But if you want to stay in this position, you need to ask for introductions.

The alternative position would have entailed a 30-percent cut in compensation. Two weeks later, Sally had an introduction.

To succeed in changed behavior, salespeople need the following:

  • Strong support from the top
  • Consequences for non-compliance
  • An inspirational motivation for change
  • Strong training
  • Homework assignments and one-to-one coaching
  • Frank conversations in the one-to-one coaching

With all these support mechanisms in place, you can expect a 70- to 80-percent success rate in changing sales behavior.

Share