Many of the people we offer sales training to in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria entertain the idea of becoming a Sales Manager at some point in their career. For those of you thinking of such a move, ask your Sales Manager what he or she wishes they would’ve known from the start of their management career. Chances are you’ll get a smile and a thoughtful look from your boss. Listen carefully. You’re about to learn some valuable lessons.
What I wish I could’ve known from the start
Great Salespeople are always a strong consideration for management. It makes sense to think that a top producing Salesperson would make a great Sales Manager, right? Any company would love to clone their best Salesperson and have him or her in the field. Consider that the two roles seem very similar yet are very different. It’s like Salesperson and Sales Manager are on two opposite ends of the same coin.
A Salesperson is responsible for selling. A Sales Manager has the duties of teaching Salespeople to sell. While it certainly helps to know how to do the job, coaching people and bringing out the best in them is much different than doing it yourself. Here are the Top 10 things that I learned as a Sales Manager. None of them came from the experience of being a Salesperson.
1. Understand the difference between Management and Leadership.
Managers manage people. Leaders teach people to manage themselves through empowerment, self-accountability and great coaching skills.
2. Surround yourself with Salespeople who have passion, enthusiasm, work ethic and drive.
Don’t think you can coach a Salesperson to want to win. They either have it or don’t. As Jim Collins says, make sure you have the right people on the bus. You can determine where they should sit based on their individual skill set and abilities
3. Don’t solve everyone’s problems and consistently close the tough deals.
You are not the star Salesperson anymore. Make the transition to the Sales Manager’s office, check your ego and realize that your job is to train people to become the Hero. Strategize with your sales team to come up with group solutions. They will support what they help create.
4. Customize your Management approach with each Salesperson.
You did this as a Salesperson with your clients previously. You have a new set of clients now – your Sales Team. Your role as a Sales Manager has a great influence on the success of each Salesperson. The motivators will be different for each individual. It’s your job to know what makes them tick to bring out the best in them.
5. Stop trying to save Salespeople who aren’t investing time and effort in their career.
You can’t replace someone’s lack of commitment to success. By attempting to do so, you’re robbing the people who need and want your efforts.
6. Don’t try to sell Salespeople.
They will smell that approach from miles away. Be direct, open and straightforward. Tell them the facts and what needs to be done. When you have news to deliver that they won’t like, tell them you don’t expect them to like it, however, you want to explain the reasons behind it. That will help them best deal with it in time.
7. Appreciate the Salespeople that don’t agree with you.
You’ll learn from them if you listen, don’t interrupt and keep an open mind. While we would all like everyone to agree with us, Salespeople are strong willed and outspoken. The industry brings that out in the best Salespeople. Harness and direct that energy – don’t fight it.
8. Have the tough conversations needed with Salespeople, your Boss and your clients.
Respect the relationship you have with them to know that at times, your message may mean that you’re not they’re most popular person. The smart people will understand and appreciate your candor.
9. Lead by example and don’t forget what it was like to be a Salesperson.
Don’t change your philosophies the day you become a Sales Manager. You now have to be better at everything and know that your Salespeople are always watching you – what are they seeing?
10. Finally, don’t ever take anything too personally.
Ask yourself this question when facing a frustrating situation – will this issue even be something I remember six months from now? Laughing at yourself and maintaining a great sense of humor when it’s most needed will keep things in perspective.
What teachings would you like to pass on as a Sales Manager? What do you wish you knew the first day you started?
One of our most popular programs is Sales Management Training. It’s an intensive, six-month on the job training program and it’s customized to your specific role and company whether you are in B2B Sales, B2C Sales, a Sales Supervisor, Sales Manager or CEO of your company. It’s 100% practical and comes with On-Demand Access.
If you’re a Salesperson looking for cost-effective sales training, check out our CYBER MONDAY pricing this week only! Our five-star rated online program The Sales Skills Incubator is $50 off at $149 Canadian including taxes. Our book SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money available on Kindle for $4.99 Canadian on Amazon.
Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY