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Friday, March 4, 2011

Manager and Salesman

The difference between a great sales manager and a great salesman is the difference between a wagon master and a gunfighter. The wagon master has to get as many as he can to the destination. The gunfighter is the icon of individual contributor.

Most salesmen cannot build a compelling handout. They can't build a moving presentation. They don't use the stories they gather talking to customers and prospects to improve their performance.

The sales manager cannot meet enough prospects. He doesn't have direct contact with the buyers. He might have the input of the sales force, and if he is good, he can have them upgrade their work based on their (not his) experience in the field.

What is needed is the fastest, easiest way to have all the salesmen believe in and adopt their collective best practices. The person making that sale is the sales manager.

This does not mean a sales manager is inventing a theoretical solution, as when one of my sales managers read a book on an airplane and had me spend six weeks proving it didn't work.

This does not mean having the sales force try to go in a hundred different directions. These guys should spend the majority of their time interacting with prospects to the best of their abilities. Moving the group forward means constant identification of what is working best right now.

Best practices can change quickly. Remember when the planes flew into the buildings?

That doesn't mean great change, no matter where you start. If you can do a 2% improvement every week, you are going to see logarithmic results.

Sales Lab Status Meetings allow the people interacting with the buyers to report. They learn that misdirecting the meeting doesn't help anyone. They learn first hand what has worked that week, they get to adopt what they learn, if they wish. This is not to create a phalanx of Stepford Clones, but to provide the quickest improvement based on the largest direct sample for anyone who wants to improve.

By shifting the responsibility for performance back to the performers, you get a healthier culture, one of applied leadership.

Any ideas you care to comment?

Meaning of Life - A Better Way of Looking at Our New World.
Monday, March 7, 2011 9:30AM
40 Plus - Washington, DC N.W. More Info:

Rainmaker #3 - Process to Purchase
How To Sell Your Skills
300 seconds, March 8, 2011, 6 pm
The Sales Lab Rainmaker Series are five minute tactical selling presentations starting the CTMH Monthly Meetings 

How To Turn Prospects Into Clients
Monday, March 21, 6:30 – 8:30 pm, Alexandria, VA

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