Why Johnny Can’t Sell

By Andrew J. Birol, President, Birol Growth Consulting, Inc.


The economy is improving and with it the confidence of my clients and most other entrepreneurs. Even more exciting, many are hiring or recalling sales reps back to hit the streets and aggressively close new business. But can they?

Recently I have seen many sales reps, previously successful in the 1990s, fail because:

  • They were not selling, but rather were taking orders.
  • The quantity and quality of their sales activity was inadequate.
  • Their customers or distributors changed their buying habits.
  • They did not believe in what they are selling.
  • They were not selling what their customers said they are buying.

As the economy picks up steam, please do not assume that your business will grow back just like it did in the 1990s. The first sign of how much times have changed is coming from the font line. If you "Johnny" is not selling as he or she used to, there are some quick steps to understand why and what to do about it.

  1. Ask them to define their ideal customer and why they are particularly good at serving them.
  2. Agree on some goals to see if the problem is lack of activity or ineffective activity.
  3. Interview your rep’s customers to see if what they are buying matches what your folks are selling.
  4. Determine how much of your sales can be attributed to the people you have selling for you.
  5. Make quick and firm decisions to invest in training or coaching or replacements for your problem sales reps.

There is an old expression: If you cannot change the people, change the people. In this new decade, it will be time for all sales people to change some of their ways, if they can.

Articles by Birol Growth Consulting are © copyrighted and all rights are reserved. However, articles may be reprinted with prior written consent if attribution is included as follows:

© Copyrighted by Andrew J. Birol, President of Birol Growth Consulting, who helps owners grow their businesses by growing their Best and Highest Use ®. Andy can be reached at (412) 973-2080, by email at abirol@andybirol.com, or on the web at www.andybirol.com.


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