If you were Eli Manning then this was not a good day to wake up! Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong for him during the Giant’s game with the Vikings. If you’ve been in any kind of sales management position for longer than a month, then you can probably sympathize with Manning. The quarterback has one advantage: he can turn everything around by playing like a stud the next Sunday. Sales managers rarely have that chance.
Here’s a snapshot of what can happen to a sales manager:
1. You have to fire a salesperson for poor performance.
2. Another rep quits, which caught you totally by surprise.
3. Two of the major accounts in your region decided to move half the business you were getting to competitors.
4. It’s close to the end of the year and sales revenue for the year is below plan and your boss wants every manager to shave expenses.
You can add or subtract good and bad news from these four but the message is that being a sales manager can be a real drag. It can sap the energy right out of you or rocket you to a massive high when the moons are aligned and everything good happens. All the good, the bad and the ugly can happen in the space of a day, a week or a month. It is during these times that a good sales manager has to reflect on a few things. They are:
1. What was your goal in becoming a sales manager?
2. Are you really prepared to assume this role?
3. Do you have the fortitude to ride out the bad news when you know that good news will eventually follow?
4. Will you let the bad news influence how you do your job?
History will tell you that a host of very creative and talented people met and overcame huge obstacles to achieve their goals. I believe that greatness evolves from maintaining a philosophical balance about what happens around and to us. Greatness also comes by maintaining a focus on what our plan for life is. It takes phenomenal patience to remain loyal to your beliefs when everything around you shouts for a knee-jerk reaction.
The best advice I can give any sales manager is to scrutinize why you manage other people. If you find that you don’t like the pressure, intensity or the emotional ups and downs then you should rethink why you want the job of managing others. The Roman poet Horace said it correctly in The Final Thought: Adversity reveals genius, prosperity conceals it.