QUIZ: What should you do when your best salesperson is a jerk?

You are a regional sales manager, and, despite your admonitions, your highest producing salesperson regularly verbally abuses clerical help, stretches the truth, and ignores other company policies. Business is bad and this person accounts for about 20% of your business. You feel certain that if you are too harsh, or if you fire her, she will go to work for your main competitor and take a great deal of business with her. And, if your sales go way down you may be fired. What do you do?  Is there anything you can do to prevent this sort of thing from happening again?  (Please share your thoughts including any real examples you’ve faced in the comments below.)

After you formulate and post your answer in the comments you may find these articles helpful :

JERKS AT WORK – AND 5 WAYS TO DEAL WITH THEM By Alexander Kjerulf (AKA The Chief Happiness Officer)

7 TIPS TO MANAGE JERKS By Michael Mercer, Ph.D.

Comments 5

  1. The sales woman is an accident waiting to happen. Sooner or later she will destroy what you are working to build despite her good sales.
    If she won’t respond to retraining or behaviour modification she is like keeping a cobra in your home because it’s the best thing you’ve ever found for killing mice.
    Sooner or later it will bite you or a member of your family.

  2. If they will be harsh to a co-worker, they will ultimately do the same to a client, which will cost the company. If after it is addressed the behaviors do not cease, his employment should.

  3. Perhaps the reason the other people aren’t performing well is because of the abuse suffered at the hands of this “top” sales person. If we have values, they can’t be held hostage by finances. Ultimately, I have to do the right thing, even when it costs me. I have personally walked away from customers who were abusive because I don’t want to work in that environment. It poisons me too.

  4. It seems this sales person is toxic to the company, outside of revenue. Employees and moral as a whole, feel/seem to me, to be the driving force of business and success. Personally, I’d try to coach the employee to redirect her behavior and make it clear that unhealthy behavior will result in termination. I’d follow through if redirection didn’t help to curtail the abusive behavior. I’d take my chances that supporting other internal employees by eliminating the bully would return more of a profit than allowing her to stay at the top with revenue and squander moral. Happy employees will aspire to do their best. Possibly, as Bridget mentioned, sales are down because everyone else is feeling down around this person.

  5. Well, I would try to talk to her and make sure that she realizes that if she keeps abusing the other employees she will be fired. If she abuses her co-workers then, more than likely it will happen to the clients as well. No matter what the consequences (if she goes to the other company) happy employees will be better for business in the long run.

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