Cry Baby Saleswoman —– What should we do?

Rick, I have a salesman who does a pretty good job, but he always whines something. He takes up a huge amount of my time, in sales and anyone else who will listen to her. I don’t want to fire a guy because he has decent numbers. What do you suggest?

Joe, vice president of sales, construction products industry

Dear Joe;

Wow! If I had used this term with my wife, she would probably have gotten off my head, but you have what is commonly called “Cry Baby Salesperson”

This condition is known as “high affective needs”. It can be a drop in salesman. We all have partnership needs, but a salesperson, if it becomes excessive, can undermine any real talent he possesses. That person is generally a very nice person and can start a conversation about anything, anywhere. That is why they seem to achieve relative success in field sales. But remember, if that person is wasting your time because of this condition, chances are high that some or most of his or her customers feel the same way. You have to find out.

The question you need to ask yourself: “Does this salesperson maximize the full potential of their territory in terms of market share, profitability and consumption share in existing accounts?

The answer to that question will determine if you need to coach, mentor, or manage that individual.


o If it achieves top performance in the territory. Become confidential and be completely honest with him. When his points are valid – admit it. When he just whines — let him know. Be constructive and supportive. Encourage him. Give him examples and help him draw the same conclusions about each situation as you.


o Since you stated that he inserted neatly, it sounds like it’s worth the time. Start with numbers. What peak should be in his area? Set some stretching goals. To achieve these goals, unburden yourself with it using your sales expertise in targeting, goal setting, and action planning. During the procedure, his great needs for maintenance and affiliation should be manifested. Prove how they can interfere in achieving his goals.


Some management certainly mixes with the coaching process, but if coaching doesn’t do the trick and it actually works below the expectations of the territory, maybe it’s time to get strenuous. Stick to objective facts. Stick to the numbers. Clearly define expectations and stick to them.