9 Ways to Avoid Getting Made Fun of as a Sales Manager
Did you ever wonder how some executives get into the position that they are in?
Judging by their lack of interpersonal skills, arrogant attitude and weak sales game, they must have some damning pictures of the boss in Vegas. Does this sound familiar?
Actually, many of you reading this may have thought this very thought, what is even more alarming is that some of you reading this could be the very subject of this blog, but have no clue. We used to call my second sales manager Colonel Mustard - he thought it was due to his mustache but it was because he didn't have a clue. The sales manager that is arrogant and basically worthless on a sales call, might be you and you don't know it. For me, as a sales manager, the respect of my team is just as important as the good graces of those to whom I report.
Here are some ideas to help you not be the dorky sales manager everyone makes fun of.
Make Sure You Can Fog a Mirror.
When you are on a sales call, you bring strength and experience. You should bring energy and understanding. You should bring the communication of a vision for the business relationship you are proposing. Most of all you should know what you can commit to and be a master negotiator. Bring value to a sales call or sales presentation in the form of energy and knowledge. Do not sit like a bump on a log. Conversely,
Do Not Dominate the Sales Call.
When on a sales call, do not miss the opportunity to develop your team. You must realize that when you are riding along with a rep on a sales call, that there are two basic starting points. One is your top performers are going to be prepared to show you how well they are doing and be looking to gain your respect and trust by knocking it out of the park. The second situation is when a rep is ill prepared, and runs the sales presentation haphazardly. Yes, you are there to bring value, but the greatest value is the development of your sales people. Recognizing the well prepared and coaching the ill prepared are more important than flashing your fancy sales techniques. Then,
Make Sure You Are Prepared.
Ask for the agenda ahead of time, take a look into your CRM to check the activity on the account, potential revenue, level of contact you are meeting. Look at the company website, and competition, think of similar companies you may have dealt with previously. Leverage technology like Inside View or Gist to learn more about your prospects. Think ahead of time about which elegant negotiables you are be prepared to offer to advance the deal. After a meeting,
Make Sure You Send a Follow-Up.
All sales managers should set the tone for pinpoint, heartfelt follow-up. Use whatever means necessary; I'm partial to a personalized online sales communication, but no matter what you use, make sure you are delivering on your promises. And for heaven's sake, if you make a promise, live up to it. If you do not, I promise you...you thought of as a jerk. Try hard to
Never Disrespect or Belittle Your Reps,
no matter how they act, no matter how they stumble and whatever they say... do not disrespect or talk down to anyone - especially someone you manage and especially in front of a customer. We have all seen this type of behavior, and can remember who committed this terrible act and when and where. No one wants to do business with people like that. It's also good to
Know What the Heck You're Talking About.
Just because you are the manager please do not regard your title as an excuse to get soft on sales skills. As a leader, you should set the example of product mastery and artful negotiation. Since you're reading this post, chances are you're among the leaders who seek opportunities sharpen your skills. For the busy professionals, be sure to check out SalesAce where you can see excerpts from the best of many of the top sales blogs.
Never Hide or Point Fingers
when things do not go as planned. When things are going badly, do not shrink back and point fingers, instead stand up and take responsibility, then take corrective action to make sure there is not a repeat. In Good to Great, Jim Collins describes this trait as the ‘mirror and the window'. He explains that when true leaders have problems, they look in the mirror and take personal responsibility while the weaker ones look out the window and blame the problems on other people.
Learn to Delegate;
get everyone involved in sales management. Many managers think they exist to remove extraneous burdens from the sales team. However, this often becomes an excuse for not digging into more important, uncomfortable matters. Delegate what you can and spread these activities evenly through the team. This will help to develop your future leaders and free you to spot the "kick me" sign before someone hangs it on your back. Now, the best for last,
Give Your Team Credit When Credit is Due.
If you make sure your team shines, they will make sure you shine. When someone has a great idea and executes on it, give them all of the credit and recognize them for it. Never, never, pass someone else's idea off as your own. The best of the best, are focused on simply getting things done.
Please share your Colonel Mustard stories with us.