Category Archives: Sales Management
Typically November is the time of year when sales reps decide if they can make a push to reach their goals (if they are not there yet), or “pack it in” until January 1st.
One year in the mattress business, I was lagging behind as mid-November hit. I was frustrated that the results were not there, and I was not “feeling it” anymore. Shortly after the “pity party”, my boss gave me a wake up call – and said that I could still do this. A trip for two including airfare and hotel to an exotic location was on the line for my wife and I. Giving up was not an option. We were able to qualify for awesome trips if annual goals were achieved.
I fully revised my account strategies. I went to the extremes as part of the plan. I evaluated how to get added business from the highest growth accounts, and the ones that were struggling too. I remember thinking to myself,
“I have to call that guy”?
Yep even the accounts that I did not like, I reached out.
I planned promotions, strategized with other reps, and squeezed every ounce of potential business out of the territory, without over stocking customers unnecessarily. My plan worked to perfection.
On December 30, I remember returning from holidays and going in to my home office for the best “fax of my life”. That was about 10 years ago – faxing was still cool -:)
My boss sent me the monthly goal update early, because I had achieved – I achieved by .5%!!!!!
I was so excited. I performed when the chips were down, when I could have easily “taken the rest of the year off”. Sorry Managers, it does happen.
I won’t end this with some big rah-rah you can do it pep talk!
Instead, just 4 words!
Believe, Plan, Implement, Smile (like crazy when you hit your numbers)!
ps. If you knew that question “So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?” was from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” staring Jim Carrey, you were right!
Summers are short in Northern Canada, so I have to make the best of the warm weather and longer days!
I actually do sell in the summer, and just wanted to get your attention with a catchy title :-)
Here are the top 5 things that I like to do with customers and/or prospects when most of my competitors are on the golf course:
- Drop by later in the day with cold drinks and snacks. Most people are stuck at their desks just counting down the minutes until they get to leave and enjoy the sun too!
- Take them out to lunch! Make sure to sit on a patio and take in the great weather.
- Attend an outdoor sports game, concert or other outdoor event. No better way to get to know them than enjoying these activities together
- Plan a trip with key customers. Every time I hear about customer trips they rave about the good fun for years to come!
- Have a “there are still people to sell to” mentality vs. “everyone is off ’til September so I will just coast” mentality.
These business building activities will pay dividends in the long run. Nobody likes being stuck in the office when the weather is balmy!
I am sure there are many other great ideas that I am missing. But the key is to:
- get creative
- build rapport
- get sales!
You don’t want to risk your competitors having all the great ideas!
I was working at my first job out of university and was having a blast. But it was tough – long hours, cold weather and demanding work. I was on an awesome team and learned a lot every day.
I don’t remember if I received an annual performance review, but I remember being at the office one day thinking,
“I wonder if my boss thinks I am doing a good job?”
Within a few days a co-worker came up to me and said that the manager had mentioned to him that I was doing a great job.
To this day, I still remember the incredible feeling of satisfaction. It was instant validation for all the hard work that I had put in. The funny thing was that it was not even said directly to me!
You can make a difference with your team or coworkers.
- A simple thank you
- A pat on the back
- A special mention at a meeting
- Treat them to lunch or a refreshment after work
- You could even get wild and crazy and let them leave early on a hot summer’s day!
None of this is reinventing the wheel. People just want to be recognized for their efforts. Making them feel appreciate will go along way for them sticking around and having long prosperous careers with your organization.
When I recently discovered that Jeb Blount had a new book out called “People Follow You”, I was very excited! I have been thoroughly enjoying his content since I started listening to the “Sales Guy – Quick and Dirty Tips” podcast last year. I really enjoyed this video on leadership and am sure you will too! Stop by and check out the website for his new book at:
As we start a new year, people in the sales profession get to “wipe the slate clean” and start all over again.
Last year’s results are in the rear-view mirror, and it is game on once again!
- Here are five phrases that I focus on each year after “the ball drops” in Times Square
- “What Have You Done For Me Lately? – If you had a great year last year, more will be expected this year! If last year was a struggle, you will need to rebound and get back on track as soon as possible
- Optimism/Positive Outlook – This is the only way to go!
- The first quarter is the key – If you get out of the gate fast, it will set the table for the rest of the year. Don’t you dare drag your feet with the “January blues”; then you will be playing catch up
- Goal Setting – Forget about new year’s resolutions for your territory! Resolutions are made to be broken (just ask the fitness industry!) Right down measurable, achievable goals and track progress throughout the year
- Have fun, keep smiling, and just relax – If you are prepared, eager to learn and stay patient it will all work out!
Have a great day!
I recently posted a question on Paul Castain’s Sales Playbook LinkedIn discussion group about the “Ideal Sales Management Style”. The responses varied, with the majority concluding that a combination of “hands-on” vs. “hands-off” was the best solution. I agreed with that analysis. I am with my 7th company in 16 years of corporate life, so I have a very good idea how I like to be managed, and how I manage now.
I had no intention of discussing this thread on my blog until I saw the comment below. I received this startling entry from Kevin Dankosky about two weeks ago, and it has really stuck with me. I will abstain from my opinion, rather eagerly anticipating your take on his incredible story!
“Funny this question comes up. I went to visit an old childhood friend for lunch last week and we were talking about his career in health care sales. He is about 15 years my junior. Let me predicate this by saying that I’ve always more of hand-off type of sales manager who is very selective about his hires, trains them well and then treats them like gold – 99% of the time they do a great job.
So we are having a nice lunch and he gets a text message from his boss reminding him (and the other regional sales people) of the daily conference call at 1:00 (it was 12:30 at the time). We are having such a good discussion at lunch we run a little late so at 12:58, while taking me back to the airport, he has to put the conference call on in the car through the radio.
I was shocked, the sales manager has everyone check in .. Joe here, Mary here, Larry here, Curly here .. then the meeting begins. Details on all the main target accounts, timelines on closing deals, number of sales calls made today, number of cold calls made, etc. Fortunately I got to the airport (20 minutes later) before the end of the call.
I was shocked. If I were a sales rep and that occurred on a daily basis, I’d go nuts. In addition to having been a sales manager and sales person, I’m also a coach and teacher. I think it’s up to you as a sales manager to know each person on your sales team and find out what makes them “click”. Some will need more hands on attention while others need just a nudge.
Regardless, if you feel the need to “ride” them each day, you either don’t have confidence in them or you have a power obsession. Again, if you hire the right person, train them well, support them and treat them well, the rest will fall into place. I guess that’s a long way of saying I’m more “hands-off”. – Kevin Dankosky
Oh yeah, if you love sales and business and you are not a member of Paul Castain’s Sales Playbook Linkedin Group, what are you waiting for? Here is the link:
No spam, no personal promotion, 30,000+ members. It is the best place to hang out that I have found and it has changed the way I sell and manage.
All I wanted to do early in my sales career was manage the team that I was working on. I was young, I was new to the industry and I thought I knew it all! I was confident that some day I could handle the role. Unfortunately changes happened within the company, and I turned down my dream Sales Manager role when it was finally offered to me. Even with that setback, I have continued to follow sales and executive management throughout my career.
I did have some experience managing a team before I was ever interested in Sales Management. I was a Branch Manager in the car rental industry straight out of university. It was a great experience, and certainly taught me a lot about managing a diverse group of associates at a young age. Some of the employees were more than ten years my senior, and I learned very quickly how difficult being in charge could be.
The Sales Manager is arguably the most important person within the organization. They have a direct line of communication with the sales force; the associates who drive most of the front line revenue.
It can be very easy to get in to a rut with your day-to-day role. Sales reps certainly do, and it happens to managers as well. It is valuable to take a step back and think outside the box sometimes, from how you typically manage.
Great sales managers use enthusiasm and excitement to their advantage. They celebrate their team’s wins, while proudly announcing personal and team achievements. They may high-five team members in the office, or keep it simple and just pat everyone on the back when there are reasons to celebrate. The positive energy does wonders for everyone.
I have always been keenly aware of my manager’s actions, and I focus on a few areas:
- how they lead the team
- how they treat me
- how they treat other reps
- how they handle adversity within the team
- the relationship they have with their immediate supervisor and others on the executive management team
If they excel in all the above areas, they probably have “it” with their team. “It” is hard to explain, but it can be summarized as the group is firing on all cylinders, and no issue is too great to break the cohesiveness within the group.
I have reported to a total of 16 assistant managers, sales managers and branch managers during my career. I have also had close working relationships with 12-13 executive managers. This has provided me a rich foundation of experiences.
- As a manager what is it like to have “it”with the group of reps that you lead every day?
- If you have “it”, you can probably describe “it” in general terms, but it may be hard to explain overall.
- If you have never had “it” with your team, would you not like to know how to get “it”?
As I continue to discuss Sales Management in the future, I will build on the theme of having “it”. I will leave you with one other thought to ponder….
Are you just a boss to a group of employees, or is their much more depth to your relationship with the team?
One Sales Manager in my career was a cut above the rest. As I think back to our first meeting close to 11 years ago, I realize that it took about 5 seconds for us to click. Sometimes it is there, and sometimes it is not in a business relationship. But I knew right away that I had made the right decision to move and start a new life in Edmonton.
Everything between him and the team worked. There was limited drama in the office, and the focus was always growing the business, and having fun along the way. He never made it feel like he was our boss, more of a team captain. He was a leader who supported us in every way. He was there for us when we succeeded, and when we failed. He assisted in our personal development, and often commented on how lucky he was to have a team like us to support. It was never “below him” to help us with whatever we needed assistance with. He was a manager, but he was more than willing to get “dirty with us in the trenches”.
He was the consummate mentor, and was always thinking about succession plans for those who were interested in moving up within the organization. He was an ear for everyone with respect to business or personal problems.
I had often thought about what would happen to the team if he ever decided to move on. I have to be honest; it worried me a bit, more than it should have. When he finally did move on, as expected, things were never the same again with our sales division.
I called him out of the blue when I was in his city a few months ago and we had a last-minute coffee. Before I knew it, more than an hour had passed. We picked up right where we left off from the last time we saw each other! I had to pinch myself to realize that we were not between sales calls working for the same company anymore. I will always credit him for being the most influential person who assisted in getting my sales career to the next level as quickly as it did.
- Who has been influential in getting you to where you are today?
- What awesome things have they done that really stand out in your mind?
I really enjoyed Kim Brechin’s post on leadership over the weekend. It is insightful, and delivers a very powerful message that all leaders should keep in their hip pocket.
Recently, as I was looking for inspiring quotes on leadership, I found this gem and it resonated with me.
“The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” ~ John Buchan
On Pushing or Pulling
The article describes the push and pull concept of today’s savvy consumers and also touches on the concept that leaders these days need to take a note and apply some pullvs. push in their style.
It’s true… people don’t like to be pushed.
I certainly do not — whether it’s in a long line at the airport queuing up or in a boardroom — I find it’s…
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I was debating what I would post for Have A Laugh Fridays this week, and received this as an email yesterday! I think it is a sign that spring is in the air, and the golf clubs will be dusted off soon for all of us that endure long, harsh winters.
Sales and business professionals take a lot of heat for all the golfing that we “apparently do”, so I thought some golf jokes were a great tie in for some laughs this week!
Remember, if you have any videos, pictures, or jokes that you think would be worthy of Have A Laugh Fridays, send me an email at:
Have a great weekend!
When I die, bury me on the golf course so my husband will visit.
I don’t say my golf game is bad, but if I grew tomatoes they’d come up sliced.
I’ve spent most of my life golfing. The rest I’ve just wasted.
They call it golf because all the other four-letter words were taken.
The ardent golfer would play Mount Everest if somebody would put a flag stick on top.
Pete Dye (His golf courses reflect this belief!!!)
Golf is played by twenty million mature American men whose wives think they are out having fun.
It took me seventeen years to get three thousand hits in baseball. I did it in one afternoon on the golf course.
Golf is a game in which you yell “fore,” shoot six, and write down five.
Give me golf clubs, fresh air & a beautiful partner, and you can keep the clubs and the fresh air.
Have you ever noticed what golf spells backwards?
The only time my prayers are never answered is on the golf course.
Reverse every natural instinct and do the opposite of what you are inclined to do, and you will probably come very close to having a perfect golf swing.
Go play golf. Go to the golf course. Hit the ball. Find the ball. Repeat until the ball is in the hole. Have fun. The end.
If you think it’s hard to meet new people, try picking up the wrong golf ball.
It’s good sportsmanship to not pick up lost golf balls while they are still rolling.
Don’t play too much golf. Two rounds a day are plenty.
Golf is a game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose.
A golfer’s diet: live on greens as much as possible.
Gone golfin’ … be back about dark thirty.
Born to golf. Forced to work.
My body is here, but my mind has already teed off .
Golf and sex are the only things you can enjoy without being good at them.
May thy ball lie in green pastures …. and not in still waters.
If I hit it right, it’s a slice. If I hit it left, it’s a hook. If I hit it straight, it’s a miracle.
The difference in golf and government is that in golf you can’t improve your lie.
Golf is a game invented by the same people who think music comes out of bagpipes. Author Unknown