Managers who have not been salesmen often have trouble managing them. They would appear to not understand the salesperson’s situation. First, a salesperson is a unique individual. The professional ones are energized by the chase of the sale.
They are driven by the challenge of finding a potential customer, creating a need for a product, closing the sale and earning the commission. Often salespeople are loners, they work on their own and sell on their own. They tend not to easily fit into the typical employee mold. Their hours are irregular, and their involvement in the office is haphazard. Recognition, prestige, reward and money tend to be motivators for them, although it may differ from person by person.
Managers of these individuals often attempt to force salespeople to conform to the employer/employee norms. This is seldom effective. The nature of the salesperson’s job is built upon the need for independence. Effective managers of salespeople do the following:
o Focus salespeople on the things they control; obtaining prospects, approaching these prospects, holding quality appointments, and after-sales services.
o Create a positive and safe environment in which the salesperson is welcome. Salespeople receive a steady diet of rejection outside the office, therefore, it is important they don’t get it from their manager.
o Understand, empathize and support the salespeople plight.
o Promote the salesperson’s qualities, efforts and results to all who will listen.
Salespeople are unique employees who deserve special attention from their managers. If a salesperson doesn’t sell something, the economy does not grow. They are critical to most organizations.
By John Hester