Learning from other’s mistakes and failures is a good way to speed up sales management success.
When I asked seasoned sales managers what they learned the hard way, and I got these fourteen lessons. New sales managers can learn to make their job a lot easier using these fourteen Sales lessons.
1. Trust instincts from day one and act on them quickly. Proactive sales managers do not wait to respond to trouble. They act at the first small sign of something being wrong.
2. Firing an underperforming salesperson is usually a relief for both parties involved. Failing is not fun but it can be the wake-up call needed to re-energize a sales career or choose another career.
3. Salespeople always rebel against “the boss.” Telling people what to do is not leadership. Asking questions and listening resolves many sales management dilemmas.
4. Share control and let salespeople buy in. Sales representatives who run passionately with their own ideas they usually are more successful.
5. Salespeople will have problems that paralyze them, and a sales manager will hear about them. Sales people bring their personal problems to work and eventually these can interfere with their performance. As a manager it is important to know the difference between counseling someone on a personal problem and coaching them with a sales problem.
6. It is helpful to become conscious of leadership style early. Being a leader means knowing when to be autocratic, democratic, or a delegator. There is a spectrum of leadership styles and a sales manager will choose all three options at some point.
7. Salespeople want to please their sales manager and will often tell them whatever they think they want to hear. A manager’s reaction to lost sales and mistakes determine how open and honest sales representatives will be with their boss.
8. Salespeople may not want to hear what their prospects really think so they do not ask.
9. To surpass old limits, a sales manager needs higher standards. It is important to develop them from the ground up instead of dictating them. Standards are measurable and there is a consequence for noncompliance.
10. Without standards there is no discipline. It is better to have a few standards to enforce instead of a dozen that do not get enforced.
11. A sales manager can be an umpire or a referee. Disciplining salespeople is a duty of the sales manager’s job. The upside of correcting someone is that it can save them from failure.
12. Sales managers are in the belief business. First, find out what salespeople believe. In order to influence the salesperson’s beliefs in a productive way take the time to ask questions and listen to what they believe about their accounts and level of success.
13. The top producer may not be the top performer and customers buy in spite of salespeople. The sales manager’s responsibility is to monitor salespeople’s meetings, calls, and make certain their performance is based on standards, not on luck.
14. Salespeople often do their best selling in the office. This happens when salespeople think the prices are too high for the products they are trying to sell so they try and convince management to lower prices to make their jobs easier in the field with customers. The sales manager needs to instill in their salespeople a sense of pride and appreciation for the product or service they are trying to sell.
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