In my more than three decades in sales, I’ve seen lots of sales managers. The vast majority fall into one of four categories. I discussed two of them last week. Here are the other two:
1. The Super Closer. We all know The Super Closer who believes she can close anyone, anytime. She generally has a massive ego, more than likely a strong sales history, an A-type personality and very little respect for her sales team. The Super Closer sees her charges as grunts who know nothing about sales and whose only job is to go out, work through the chaff to find a prospect and call in her in to go to work.
The Super Closer is concerned with one thing and one thing only—today. Get today’s numbers—numbers, numbers, numbers! He’s never missed a quota, and he’s not going to start now. If you suckers can’t get the business—and God knows you can’t—he’ll close it for you. His sales team doesn’t have to worry about anything except getting him in front of a prospect.
Planning? Who needs it? Reports to management? All she cares about are quotas being met and exceeded, so she’ll tell management what they want to hear and then worry about making it true later.
These types of sales managers have developed their own definitions of the job. Most companies don’t train new sales managers. They assume that good salespeople will know what needs to be done. Adjusting to the role of manager is impossible for some of these stars. Fortunately, there is a fifth type of sales manager—the real deal.
2. The Sales Leader. The Sales Leader isn’t focused on today but plans for the future with the intent of molding it instead of being molded by it. He looks to coach his or her team members to stardom, not to be the star himself.
He manages through example and inspiration, not intimidation or fear. He is a student as much as a teacher, open to suggestion, criticism, advice and continual education. He leads by being trustworthy and demonstrating integrity and honesty.
His team members may not always like The Sales Leader’s decisions, but they know those decisions are honest and based on what he believes is best for the team. He’s not afraid to make difficult choices and live with the consequences.
If you’re looking to hire a sales manager, there is only one type you want, and if you’re looking to rise to the position of sales leader, there’s only one type you want to be: The Sales Leader.
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Paul McCord is a best-selling author, speaker and leading authority on lead generation. He has more than 20 years’ experience coaching and mentoring salespeople. For more information, go to mccordandassociates.com.