Dear Butch—I just got promoted to Sales Manager and wondered what advise you’d give a newbie. Any help is greatly appreciated. I’ve not gotten much training as of yet but I am very capable of doing the job. I have four salespeople that work under me and I’ve been with the company for 7 years.
Thanks for your time,
Leslie P. Hartford, CT
Congratulations on the new job! I’m sure you’ll do fine and hopefully the company will invest in some training for you to help you adjust to the new job and to continue to hone your skills. Now, to the matter at hand: what would I tell a new sales manager?
Well, I’ve thought about this for a while (I actually received Leslie’s email a couple of weeks ago) and I’ve come up with several things that I think are vitally important to being a good manager—of any kind.
-They don’t work “under” you: I know I may be nitpicking, but change that verbiage. In fact, if the truth were known they don’t work for you at all; you work for them! They are the reason you do what you do. Your job is to make THEM successful. Keep this in mind and focus on building a strong team and you will be a great manager.
-They don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care: I heard it from Zig Ziglar years ago and it is oh, so true. Be humble and you are on the right track.
-Talk to them and not ABOUT them: don’t fall into the trap of talking about one salesperson with another. If one has a problem with what another is doing, get them both together to discuss is. Remember: Let’s talk TO them and not ABOUT them.
-You get what you INSPECT, not what you EXPECT: get out of the office! Don’t get bogged down to where you can’t go work with your people. INSPECT what they are doing on the floor (or in the field). Trust me, there are times when it is drastically different from what you expected.
Leslie, I hope this helps. These are some tried and true principals I’ve learned and used throughout the years. Put your customer first, the rep second, the company third and then yourself—and you’ll be fine!
Lagniappe: In South Louisiana “Lagniappe” is defined as “a little something extra”. Here’s your Lagniappe for today:
One final point for all new managers: DO NOT accept mediocrity. Don’t even let it get started. Set your standards high from the beginning and keep them there. If you ever get to where average is good enough—that’s all you’ll ever get.
Question: Got a question for the mailbag? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org