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Things Sales Managers Should Never Say to Their Reps

December 11th, 2017

Different sales leaders have different management styles to lead their team and achieve their revenue goals. However, no matter what type of manager you are, there are certain things you should never say to your sales reps.

Here are nine phrases that are easy to slip of the tongue but can be incredibly demotivating for your sales team members.

1) “What were you doing all this while?”
As a sales manager, don’t act like a dictator or a school teacher who goes around keeping account of every minute spent by sales reps. There are softwares and dashboards through which you can get an insight into how sales reps are utilizing their time, without being direct and unpleasant.

2) “That’s not my job!”
Sometimes sales reps will need you to intervene while interacting with decision-makers on the buying side or even to solve issues within the team. Turning down the subordinate’s request to solve the problem gives an impression to the team that you are not familiar with your job responsibilities.

3) “I can’t spoonfeed you every time.”
Sales manager’s foremost responsibility is to coach the sales reps. While there is a difference between mentoring and spoonfeeding, a good sales manager is expected to be supportive in every way. If you say something similar to the reps who need help then you are closing windows to engage in a healthy and open dialogue with the team.

4) “When I was a sales rep, I was closing deals faster than you.”
That is not a motivating phrase! Because of your position you are already a shining example and a role model. There is no point in bragging about how much you’ve done in the past. Instead of bragging help your sales reps know that you are there to inspire them with your abundant experience.

5) “Don’t give me excuses!”
They might not be complaining. They might be presenting their side of the story. Their perspective. As a sales leader, you are expected to be a good listener, a person your sales reps can look up to. Don’t be blunt. Listen, think and give a solution- that’s what great sales managers do.

6) “Marketing is a separate entity.”
How can marketing be a different department when they share the same goal as you of driving growth and revenue. As a sales manager, please be clear that you can help your team reach the target if they work unanimously with the marketing department.

7) “Your job is to sell and not to give ideas.”
Your sales reps are the ones who are interacting with the prospects on a regular basis and they know the loopholes in your sales process. They know why the deals are not moving. You have to listen to them if you want to fix glitches in your process. Just closing the door and having complacency doesn’t help you and your organization.

8) “You need to learn a lot from Miss/Mr. ABC.”
No one likes to be compared to somebody else. Remember, as a kid, how many times you were asked “Why can’t you be more like [name]?” And now, remember how you felt about it. Were you motivated? Did you change your behaviour? My guess to both is NO. So, don’t do that to your salespeople. Instead, have a mentorship program in place if you think that sales reps need to learn from seniors or performers.

9) “If you don’t show improvement, I will have to let you go.”

Do not just criticize. Always do your research and support your input with data. Give reasons why you think the person in question is not improving. Have one-on-one meetings, review and give a chance to the sales rep to clarify. A successful sales leader must be sure he/she has provided all needed, including trainings, tools and time, to their underperforming reps before letting someone to go.

As a good sales manager, it’s your duty to help, guide and coach your sales reps. Give them a chance to improve and prove. And, If you still see no progress, you can always turn to the HR department for help.

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