5 Sales Management Errors That Make You Look Like An Ass

March 30th, 2012

sales management assSales management professionals unwittingly look like asses all the time.

I know, because I’ve done it plenty of times.

One time, I showed up for a sales meeting in front of my entire sales team with my fly wide open (I even had the t-shirt hanging out a little bit too).

Thank God for Dustin MacPherson who coughed “FLYIN LOW!!!” as I entered the room.

Dumb…horse’s ass.

Well, actually embarrassing is more like it…that could be entire series of sales management blog posts on sales management mistakes.

Looking dumb is inevitable, you just can’t avoid it – we’re all human and were going to make mistakes.

But as a sales manager, when you start making the same mistakes over and over again they make you look like an ass…and that’s when it becomes a real problem.

And when you look like an ass on a regular basis, your sales management leadership goes right down the crapper.

So in an effort to help you not to look like an ass in front of your sales team on a regular basis, in this sales management training here are five things you want to avoid as much as possible in your sales management career:

1. Claiming credit for the sales management wins of your sales people

Sure, we all want the glory of getting credit for the big sale, however, one of the best ways to look absolutely foolish in front of your sales people is to consistently take credit for their excellent sales efforts.

Salespeople are simultaneously egotistical and at the same time insecure. No sales person loves to play second fiddle and get one upped by the boss. Give credit where credit’s due, and don’t take credit for the great stuff that your sales people do give them credit.

As Harry Truman once said:

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit”

2. Constantly talking about when “you were a sales person”

This is what we call making the fatal sales management mistake with your salespeople. No sales person likes to talk about how great you were when you were sales person – they only like to know how great they are as a salesperson right now.

So get over yourself and forget about how good you were when you are a salesperson… You no longer are! They don’t care. They only care about how much you can help them to become a great salesperson.

Also, “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care”, so don’t waste your time trying to find ways to make yourself look so smart by bringing up how great you were back in the good old days. Set your ego aside and help them.

Its just that simple.

3. Taking over the sales call of your top sales people because YOU are the sales manager

This is one that a lot of new sales managers and new sales management professionals get in trouble with.

The reason why so many sales managers are promoted into sales management is because they were excellent sales people; this becomes a liability often times when in the sales call.

The new sales manager, eager to prove himself to the A player, he takes over the sales call for the perfectly capable sales person, making himself look foolish in the process.

Sure, there are gonna be times when you will need to take over a sales call for floundering salesperson.

However, when you were with your best sales reps this is not that time. Keep your mouth shut, take some notes and critique what they do instead of butting in.

4. Accusing your salesperson of making a mistake when you haven’t done your research

This happens way too often incorporate America.

We’ve seen this movie before: the salesperson makes a mistake. The sales management professional accuses there sales person of making the mistake because of negligence.

The salesperson gets ticked off because it actually wasn’t their fault. Maybe the operations department made the mistake (its always convenient to blame them).

When in fact, if the sales management  pro had just inquired about what actually went wrong – they would have found out that the sales person was not responsible.

So many sales managers are very eager to place blame on their sales people – but the far more prudent thing to do is to shoot first then ask. As opposed to shoot first then ask later.

There’s nothing that sacrifices the loyalty and trust of your sales people like this egregious error and it makes you look like an absolute fool in the process.

5. Being badly prepared for sales meetings

There’s certainly a lot to do as a sales management professional, and prepping your speech for the next sales meeting is certainly not high on the priority list.

Make it the number one priority though.

It’s so important because in these meetings, this is where you exert your sales management leadership and it’s crucial that you prepare extensively – whether they be once per week or once a quarter.

It doesn’t matter. Prepare for them no matter what to make sure you know your stuff.

Winston Churchill was said to have “spent the best years of his life composing his impromptu speeches“.

So if he did it, you should do it as well.

Of course, some sales management professionals are better public speakers than others so someone need more time and someone needs less time.

Winston Churchill was a pretty good speaker…I think you’ll agree – and he realized that public speaking was so important for his career he practiced this extensively. When it comes to public speaking, preparation and knowing your stuff is absolutely critical to your success in sales management…otherwise you’ll end up looking foolish.

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12 Responses to “5 Sales Management Errors That Make You Look Like An Ass”

  1. wileroberger says:

    Without a doubt its true that we all want the fame of getting credit for that big sale, nevertheless, among the finest strategies to look absolutely irrational in front of your sales people is always to repeatedly steal the spotlight from them at the national sales meeting too!

  2. Chantal says:

    I can’t believe that managers would make these mistakes so blatantly. To take the credit of other people even their ideas is the worst possible thing you could do to your employees. Using your employees to move up the ladder is no way to be a manager and yes they look like asses when they do this.

  3. Kyle says:

    I’ve just recently gotten into the sales world and I appreciate these pointers on how not to look like an ass. Thank you for pointing out the most important things to not do. I came from a place where the managers were all the time taking credit for things they didn’t do or even for ideas that were not theirs. That’s the reason I left so I’m glad to see this article out and about.

  4. Lloyd says:

    There is nothing more annoying than when you take a problem to your manager and all he can say as far as offering you advice is how he used to do things when he was in my position. Things are different now and you can’t do them the same way they could 50 years ago. Thank you for including that point in your list of five things not to do.

  5. Bob says:

    Unfortunately, Ive done all those as well! Well, always good to be reminded of the basics!

  6. Ralph says:

    Well done for admitting it Bob! Sometimes, as AA says: acceptance of the problem is the first of 12 steps to recovery. Thanks for your comment!

  7. Ralph says:

    Well said Lloyd, if we could all just calm down our egos…tough to do dpeasy to say to do. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Ralph says:

    Hey Kyle, I unfortunately know alot of same types. I especially love the ones who are nowhere to be found when the s–t hits the fan and you take all the abuse. Worked for far too many cowards in my time there as well. That could be another post although I think I’d have to put the “hole” at the end of that one :-)

    Best wishes n your career—if you ever need advice, we’re always here to help in any way.

  9. Ralph says:

    So true. We are all human, but enough is enough. The job of a sales manager is to get results THROUGH others, motivate others, lead others– hard to do all that when you hoard the credit and keep it to ourselves.

    Spread the credit and take the bullets whenever possible. Your sales team will love you for it…and work like hell for you too.

  10. Antonio says:

    Thank you for pointing out the most important things to not do. I came from a place where the managers were all the time taking credit for things they didn’t do or even for ideas that were not theirs. That’s the reason I left so I’m glad to see this article out and about, I am looking to get back into the sales field and I want to make sure I do the right thing.

  11. Ralph says:

    Unfortunately, Ihave some personal experience giving it out (especially when I was new) and being the unlucky recipient. Both ways stink! Good luck getting back into sales – hope your sales manager does neither! Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Bob says:

    Very true, we are all human!

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