You are about to do the three month evaluation on the newest sales person you have on your team and wondering, “Is she or he a keeper”?

Sales and sales teams are a lot like sports. They are competitive, few have what it takes to do it and succeed, and picking a winner is a crap shoot. At the end of each season you find pre-season favorites not make the playoffs and teams who are dark horses that only the die-hards believed in make a run at the championship.

Each pre-season, there are players who have all of the tools to make it to the big time that disappear when the real season starts. They become answers to the “Whatever happened to?” trivia questions. Others seem to surprise us fans as they come from nowhere to succeed. But what we fans don’t see is the behind the scenes work that goes into the game and goes into winning and losing.

Sales leadership is a lot like sports leadership. You have to watch all of the little things that make up a winning player and ultimately a winning team. As one of my mentors once said, “It is the team that completes the six-foot passes every time that wins”.

So, when deciding on whether to keep a new rep or not, you have to look at whether they are doing the little things that will bring success. Do they bring leads in that you work with them on or do they talk about all of the great prospects in their sales funnel? Do they pepper you with endless questions to learn more or do they nod knowingly when you have team meetings? Do they ask for your help in getting better or do they tell you “all is fine”?

If they are completing the six foot passes more often than not, you probably have a keeper. Are they doing the things that you know will bring long term wins? Or are they just talking a good game? I would take the six foot passers over those who have all of the tools but never seem to deliver on their promises any day of the week.