GRE ASING wheel THE
Attention Sales Managers —
Nine Tips to Enrichment
BY LINDA P. KESTER
Great sales managers are just like salespeople ... hard to come by. Linda Kester offers nine tips for any
sales manager seeking to empower and enrich his or her staff.
LINDA P. KES TER
Writer & Professional
Speaker, Institute of
When I sold photocopiers there was a guy, Andy, who was a phenomenal salesperson. He consistently surpassed his goals. He
sold so many copiers that he was rewarded by being
promoted to branch manager. That was a big mistake.
It’s common in many companies to make the top
sales rep into the sales manager.
Just because the salesperson has excelled at sales
does not mean that he or she is good at managing and
motivating people. Someone should have told Andy
that management is not a promotion, it is an assignment to a different job requiring entirely different skills.
I have had some great sales mangers. One guy
would put notes of thanks and encouragement on my
desk. Twenty years later, I still have those notes.
On the flip side, I had some terrible managers who
thought they had to be authoritative and mean. One guy
thought the only way to get deals approved was to have
an adversarial relationship with the credit manager. He
also felt that he had to have his foot up my butt to
A good sales manager realizes that money is not the only
motivator — there are many other things that motivate like
recognition, flexibility, appreciation and respect.
increase volume. The pressure was always on. It was
a horrible work environment. It didn’t motivate me, it
frightened me. Scared employees don’t work harder,
they work scared and become quickly disenchanted.
What Makes a Good Sales Manager?
A good sales manager enriches the team with knowledge, training and motivation. A good sales manger
asks questions like, “What can I do to help my team?”
“How can I make this job more engaging for them?”
instead of “How good am I?” A good sales manager
realizes that money is not the only motivator — there
are many other things that motivate like recognition,
flexibility, appreciation and respect.
How Can You Make Your Salespeople Feel Better
About Themselves & Their Jobs?
• • Mange from a place of concern and kindness. Don’t
manage from a place of fear; your employees will
just get resentful.
• • Invite your salespeople to e-mail you feedback.
This two-way communication might enable
you to empower them to sell more. Your sales
force contains talented people with specialized
knowledge of your company, industry and
customers. Tap into their knowledge and many
times you’ll see surprise and gratitude because no
one has ever asked them their opinion.