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Written by David Mattson

You might reason that with the appropriate education, training, direction, and encouragement, any one of your sales team members can become a top performer—a “superstar.”

Is that true?

It’s likely that everyone has the ability to improve. But not everyone will become a superstar, regardless of the resources and opportunities made available to them.


Becoming a superstar is primarily a function of two personal characteristics: the desire to learn and the willingness to take action. Top performers strive to achieve at higher levels—to take on more challenging tasks and responsibilities.  And, they are willing to invest the time and energy to learn and develop the skills required to meet those challenges and responsibilities. They are the people from whom the company obtains its greatest return on investment. It’s important to keep them engaged to ensure continued growth in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum are the poor performers who are unwilling, or simply lack the innate desire, to learn, to improve, and to grow. Not all poor performers are “deadwood,” however. Some are simply in the wrong roles.  These people should be moved to more fitting roles if possible…or move out.

Team members whose performance falls between the two extremes of the spectrum can be grouped into two classifications. Closest to the superstars are the people who have reached a relatively high level of performance…and remain stuck there. They are the “workhorses” of the team. They are dependable. You can count on them hitting their quotas month after month…but not doing much more. Perhaps, they’ve reached the level of their competency. However, if you can offer them challenges and responsibilities that tap into their undiscovered passions, they have the potential to grow…and become superstars.

The final group is the “underachievers.” These are people whose day-to-day achievements don't match the potential they’ve demonstrated (though, only on rare occasions). It’s important to find out what motivates people in this group to perform. Then, with proper coaching and/or training (and perhaps mentoring from a workhorse or superstar) underachievers’ performance levels can be improved…sometimes dramatically.

While you can’t turn every member of you sales team into a superstar, with careful analysis and proper investments, incentives, and encouragement, you can improve your team’s overall performance.

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