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4 Tips to Effectively Manage Sales Performance “Whiplash” – Sandler Training

Sandler Training




Written by Hamish Knox; President of Sandler in Calgary, Canada

Creating accountable, sales focused organizations in Calgary



Eddie gives his manager performance whiplash, bouncing between all-star performance one month and “why did I ever hire him” performance the next.

Eddie isn’t at fault. His performance fluctuated like that during his probation period, but his manager rationalized that he “just needed to get his feet wet” and gave Eddie more time to perform consistently.

Now Eddie’s been on the team for three years. With his manager’s tacit approval of his up-and-down behavior he’s settled into a pattern of exceeding his targets one month then taking the next month as a mental vacation until his manager begins threatening consequences unless Eddie’s performance picks up.

Eddie’s manager feels lost trying to stop his performance roller coaster. They’ve tried coaching, training, tough love and threats, none of which changed his behavior. When he’s exceeding his targets they feel fortunate to have him on their team and when he’s on an “off” month they spend their time agonizing over if they should let him go and fearing the pain of replacing him.

One morning Eddie’s manager sits down with him and shares a performance improvement plan with him. On the front page of the plan is a graph that compares his performance against target for the past 12 months. Averaged out his performance was on target, but month-to-month he could be above or below target by 20% or more. A second graph shows his performance against his monthly prospecting plan, which has even greater variance month-to-month.

Eddie’s manager gives him a moment to review the data then says, “Eddie, if you were me what would you do?”


Maybe you’ve been Eddie’s manager enjoying the ride up to the top of the roller coaster when he exceeds his targets then wasting a ton of mental and emotional energy on the way down until you slam to the bottom and get performance whiplash again.

As Eddie’s manager there are four actions you can take to support him performing consistently.

  1. Create clarity from his first day – about the performance you expect from him daily, weekly and monthly and the consequences for not performing.
  2. Always be recruiting – just as it’s easier for a salesperson to be gutsy in front of a prospect when they have lots of opportunities in their funnel, it’s easier for a manager to be gutsy with an under performing employee if they have a strong “bench” of potential employees.
  3. Correct under performance in real time – Eddie’s behavior in the first few weeks in his role was an indication of his future behavior unless you correct him through coaching and role play and not hoping he will get better.
  4. Implement consequences as they are earned – like a child who learns that they parent will never get to “three” when they are misbehaving, employees learn that their managers won’t implement consequences when they fail to perform as expected. Consequences should be like a ladder starting small then working toward the ultimate consequence of termination. By implementing consequences when they are earned you tell your employee that, while you are their to support their growth and success, you are comfortable holding them accountable to performing and applying consequences if they aren’t.

Don’t let Eddie give you performance whiplash. Be clear with your expectations and let him choose to “self-select” if he won’t perform.

Until next time… go lead.


Leadership for Organizational Excellence

When: Thursday October, 25
Time: 11.15AM-1.30PM
The Roadmap to Organizational Excellence

Roadmpa to Organization Excellence

“Excellent” caliber businesses are growing and expanding, and constantly moving beyond comfort zone to adjust to changing technology and market conditions.

Join us on Thursday October 25, 2018 from 11:15am-1:30pm for an interactive discussion on the 6 Ps (Planning, Positions, People, Processes, Performetrics and Passion) that support mitigating or eliminating the 13 common leadership blind spots.

This workshop is best attended by CEOs, Owners, Presidents and their leadership teams:


  • 1 attendee – $250 plus GST
  • 2+ attendees – $235 per person plus GST

Reserve your seat today. Seating limited.

BONUS: Attendees will receive a copy of the Road to Excellence and the tools to start creating your excellence organization.

Reserve your seat today  Limited Seating.


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