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The Five Star 5 – “Dinner? Not Again!”

How do you spell sales team dinner? “B.O.R.I.N.G.”

Ok, it is not always boring, but over my career the team dinner concept has been uneventful most of the time. Why not mix it up and plan an event that will be memorable to the team in the future?

If you are having trouble deciding what to do, ask them! Reward the winning creative idea with a gift card.

I can honestly tell you that I barely remember anything that happened at team dinners over the years. But from my list below, I have vivid memories of laughter and fun that will last a life time. You don’t have to make a big splash with an expensive outing for this to be effective. Just try something new to show the team that you are thinking outside the box.

I could blog for a couple of weeks straight sharing stories from participating in these events:

  • Weekend retreat at a Sales Manager’s cabin
  • Go Cart Racing with the sales team
  • Movie Night with the sales team
  • Golf outings (many gatherings were at dream locations in the picturesque Rocky Mountains)
  • Professional sporting events

Do You Have “It” With Your Team?

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?