Having Trouble Coaching “Sherlock the Sales Rep”?

Doug Robinson

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

This month local sales trainer and author Doug Robinson offers some comments to help you better manage Sherlock, your omnipresent sales guy. Certainly you are thankful for this senior, albeit anal, member on your sales team. You know who I’m talking about; it’s Holmes, the laser-focused, analytical rep who’s always working puzzles, researching everything, and seems to always know where all the bodies are buried at your company. You know who I’m talking about; the one you secretly dubbed “Wiki”. 

Visitors to your sales room know he’s the one when they hear the sucking sound coming from his cubicle, as he absorbs all the information in the selling universe. He stores this treasure in a secret underground lair he accesses at will, or when one of his colleagues (your other sales reps) needs to be rescued from a selling box canyon. By default this makes him the perfect go-to advice-giver in your shop, especially considering he views the majority of situations differently than most any other mortal. 

It’s weird, like he almost looks at the world through a window nobody else has access to. He has the ability to meticulously reassemble Humpty Dumpty, to the point that if you watched him work you would be reminded of Lt. Columbo, the ‘70’s TV homicide detective.

An added bonus with a guy like this is that he can find and uncover customer problems as well as solve them. Sounds like a seller you might ask Santa for, right? Not so fast. The bad news is that managing a guy with this temperament and personality is a lot like herding cats. 

Here are some suggestions to keep Columbo on the bus with everyone else and coach him to achieve his potential:

Realize boredom may set in quicker on Holmes-type salespeople – Alter his territory occasionally, encourage him to sell using different techniques, and change up training opportunities to keep him sharp and on the “cutting edge.”

Let your P.I. show off his expertise in front of others – Consider assigning him a portion of your sales meeting or let him contribute to the blog your company just started. His chest will swell with pride when he’s in position to wow’s his peers.

Include the gumshoe in regular brainstorming – He will make some helpful & unique contributions, and the creative thinking will keep him pumped. 

Remind Sherlock to keep an open mind – Although his personality will naturally cause him to organize, arrange, practice, and prepare for every appointment, you still need to remind him that, assuming makes an “ass” of “u” and “me.”

Insure your detective doesn’t overwhelm buyers with his “buffet” – Rather than confusing buyers with countless options, myriad choices and endless possibilities, help him boil it down to a manageable “gold, silver, or bronze” decision.

Discourage your sleuth from calling it a day after simply introducing a masterful initiative – Confirm that he instinctively follows up, understanding that closing means agreeing to a logical next step and not just signing the sales agreement.

Remind the bloodhound to decelerate – Since his mind processes ideas so quickly, he needs to slow down and recap by asking questions to ensure the client stays with him. 

After looking over these ideas, be careful not to characterize this guy as a one-trick pony. He is a unique mixture of talent that needs to be coached with all these strengths and weaknesses kept in mind.

If your sales team isn’t consistently exceeding your sales budgets, Robinson Training Solutions might be the missing piece to your company. Doug’s hourly rate costs far less than missing your sales budget…again.