Monday Morning Manager-Keeping Your Pesky Sales Manager Happy!

We’ve all had sales managers we would rather banish to the archipelago than work with. You know the type. He or she flashes too many smiles before telling you that you’re a crap salesperson; they promise never to take your best customer but the manager’s fingers are crossed behind their back; they tell you at 9AM that you definitely have management potential, then at 2PM promote Bill Joe Bob who can’t spell the word sell!

You swear upon a stack of Zig Ziglar books that you will undermine this yahoo’s corporate career if it’s the last thing you do. But wait! Please reconsider. If you think about it you are not alone. Probably half or more of the sales managers in corporate America aren’t worth the powder to blow them up-as managers. So, don’t get caught trying to download voodoo.pin. Try the following:

  1. Before you get an evaluation ask your boss for an honest appraisal of your sales skills, both positive and negative.
  2. Ask your manager for an hour of his or her time so you can lay out your sales strategies for the next quarter.
  3. If you have an urge to manage ask your manager to tell you what you have to work on to get that promotion.
  4. Ask your manager for advice when you’re trying to close a big piece of business.
  5. Compliment the poor stiff once in a while if he or she actually does something of value.
  6. Take him or her out to a nice place for lunch instead of dutch treating it at Mac and Dons.
  7. Try connecting with them on a more personal level.

I know what you are thinking. Schaber had a little too much Makers Mark over the weekend. No, I am completely sober and of sound mind. Do you realize that your sales manager was never taught how to manager? They may not know how to critique your sales call, help with a key account, listen effectively. They may be dealing with corporate or personal issues that you just don’t know about. And, they more than likely don’t know the difference between managing and leading. It is easier (for some managers) to hide behind the “protective” wall of aloofness than it is to pop out, say something, then suffer abuse because what they said was nonsense or at least interpreted that way.

A good sales manager needs to show vulnerability, which simply means that they are OK opening themselves up to ridicule, abuse, attack and a host of other bad adjectives. Do salespeople really understand that it is damn hard opening oneself to abuse or mocking laughter? Maybe more do than I think. Some really good leaders-who may not know they are good leaders-have to be lead to the “leadership” trough. Salespeople can and should do that.

The Final Thought: Tell me and I’ll forget it, show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand. Chinese Proverb

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