Category Archives: Sales Manager
I was attending my first trade show with a company many years ago. I had just committed to move to a new city and was very nervous. Everyone was friendly, but I felt alone, and was unsure if I had made the right decision.
A fellow sales rep then approached me unexpectedly late in the first day, and took me under his wing for the rest of the event. He made me feel welcomed, and instantly put me at ease! For the next four days I had somebody that I was comfortable around, and could ask them any questions, no matter how silly they seemed at the time.
That event inspired this list, and I have always remember my colleague fondly for helping me out!
#1 Ride-A-Longs With Top Performing Sales Reps – I was just there to observe, nothing more. I once flew across the country and spent one day each with the top two performers in an organization.
#2 Working With A Mentor – It was great to have somebody to go to when I needed them, and not feel like I was being a bother. Helping me when necessary was part of the “mentor-newbie deal”.
#3 Joints Calls With A Sales Manager or Senior Sales Rep – I may have taken the lead on a call, but it was comforting to have them there if I needed any “back-up”. In the event a call was more complex, they would take the lead, and I would be there for support
#4 Guaranteed Salary and/or Commission As A New Rep – This was a game changer for me! It took all the pressure off at the start of a new role, and I could focus on learning the complete job for the foreseeable future. I had a guaranteed salary in one role for the first year and my results far exceeded budget!
#5 I have several other thoughts, but wanted to leave this one up to you. In your experience in sales, or what you have witnessed being involved in business, what else has assisted new sales reps to get acclimatized in their role?
When I was selling in a retail market many years ago, it became common knowledge that one of the chain stores had a simple selling strategy:
- “Make sure that you sell to the first person that walks through the door every morning. It will set you up for the rest of the day.”
Really think about that for a minute. How different would their mindset and attitude be if they had a great start to the day? Don’t get my wrong, I am not asking you to beg for the sale, or hang on to their leg as they try to leave the store. But you get the idea!
For sales reps, business people and anyone trying to sell “Widget XYZ”, listen up….
You should have laser focus from the moment the calendar changes to a new month, and start that selling period with a “Bang”! A strong first day or two (or even a week) sets you up for the rest of the month. You will feel more confident, have a bounce in your step and presentations will flow more naturally. Heck the challenges won’t even feel as painful! You won’t feel as much pressure to sell, because you are already well on your way to reaching the monthly goal.
Think back to those months that you had a fantastic start vs. a poor one. One felt great while the other one felt like the weight of the world was on your shoulders. I can vividly recall having both types of feelings, and one is obviously better than the other!
Sales is a lot like sports, and when you are “feeling it”, good things happen.
Try “feeling it” when you have only achieved 25% your monthly goal with three days left in a month. OUCH!
Get in the mindset that NOTHING will get in your way to starting a month with a “Bang”!
Don’t get distracted in the office doing busy work and returning email. Focus on a detailed sales plan for that first week and don’t deviate from being in front of customers unless absolutely necessary.
I would love to hear if a very focused sales strategy for the first week of every month helps your results. Keep me posted – I would love to hear from you!
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?
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:
Great sales results are always a reason to celebrate! See why this party should not be happening! Check out this quick 30 commercial in my latest edition of “Have A Laugh Fridays”