We have all worked for people that we like more than others. But many of us have also worked for people that are simply just short sighted. People that cannot see the forest for the trees, that walk over dollars to save pennies and 20 other clichés’ that I won’t bother to mention.
In the world of sales management, these shortsighted views can often get in the way of running a successful organization. I thought I would write them down and look for your ideas on how you have fixed them within your companies.
1. Only travel to visit a potential customer when you are certain you are going to make a sale. This requirement is normally only imposed onto a sales team by a sales manager that has never sold and never traveled. It is like saying a retail sales person should only go and speak to a customer that wants to buy something. How do you know?
a. I realize that you should qualify a customer before you go and visit with them in person, but in the world we live in today, if the customer is willing to give you some of their time (and they are the right person), they have an interest.
b. Shortsighted Sales Managers do not realize that many good things come out of making presentations.
i. You get to practice your presentation
ii. You get to learn about the customer
iii. The customer gets to learn more about your company
iv. You get to encourage them to dream about what your product and service can do for their company.
v. You get to find out who they may know that could use your services
So there are many advantages of going on an appointment but poor sales managers tend to miss them.
2. You can Manage your way to a successful sales career. I cannot tell you the prevalence of this trait in Shortsighted Sales Managers.They are so concerned about process over product it makes your head spin. I can certainly understand the importance of recording all interactions with the customer. I also understand how poorly sales people do in this area; it is right brain vs. left brain. It is actually a good way to create effective habits for new sales people. But a shortsighted sales manager seems to treat everyone equally, not giving latitude to the winners and more direction to the people struggling for success. Leaders lead and Managers should not be in sales.
3. Thinking that budgets and goals are the same thing. I have never understood paying an employee on a budget, especially a budget set by someone other than the employee. For the first 25 years of my working career I worked for Tandy Corporation/Radio Shack. We never had a budget in the entire time I worked for Radio Shack. We certainly had lots of goals for the company. We had Leaders Club goals, we had the goal for our first Billion Dollar year. We tracked our sales for computers until we got to the first 100,000 (just like McDonalds). But, no one got paid on these goals. We got paid on how much money we made. And that is how all sales people should be paid. Shortsighted Sales Managers use budgets to punish some people and reward others. Budgets that are set by an accountant (no offense to accountants) are the scariest thing to put into a sales organization. Budgets are used by sales organizations that are afraid they are going to pay their sales team too much money. NEVER worry about paying your sales people too much, worry about them not earning enough.
4. Shortsighted Sales Managers never want to face the customer.Shortsighted Sales Managers think their job is to manage the sales force, not to lead the sales force. They only want to go out on the “sure thing” sales calls and then blame the rep if the sale does not happen. Great sales leaders always want to be in front of the toughest sales opportunities. They also take public responsibility for all failures and give praise to their team for all success.
5. Finally, Shortsighted Sales Managers pick favorites. It is so obvious in some organizations that a Sales Manager has picked a favorite. Some times that favorite is because they are the best sales person in the organization, but even then it is shortsighted. While no one can be even handed all of the time, it is important to not appear to have a favorite. It makes all of the disciplines you have tried to put into the organization seem worthless. Why try to get ahead when the boss is going to take care of Mr./Ms. X no matter what happens. One of the best sales managers I ever met always had a favorite. It was the person that had just closed the latest sale. And that favoritism lasted just until the next sale was made.
Shortsightedness keeps you from seeing the big picture. It makes you focus on the wrong thing. By letting these wrong ideas get into your sales organizations you are seeding a crop of failure. It may not happen today, but unless you focus on the big picture you are on the wrong road. Steve Jobs had the right idea. Hire smart people and listen to them. Often times 1 person plus 1 more person can yield you the ideas of many people.
You might want to get onto a great sales organization by looking at Axcelora and the unique service we provide to the B2B retail/restaurant world. We are constantly looking for people that want to join our group and grow with us.
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Rich Hollander is a retail expert with over 40 years in the industry.