When Management Gets Push Back

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, May 10, 2007 @ 11:05 AM

It's not unusual for management to get push back during the sales development process.  Whether it's during the evaluation of the sales force, raising expectations, initiating accountability, when coaching, modifying compensation or during training, push back is the one thing you can count on. 

There are two underlying factors surrounding push back. First but not foremost, are the reasons for it.  If you've already evaluated your sales force, the push back is another example of the assessments coming to life.  The excuse makers start giving you reasons why what you're doing won't work or why they can't do what you want them to do.  Those with Need for Approval will respond in ways that show they're afraid you might not like them anymore and they'll overcompensate in their comments.  Those who don't have Need for Approval will tell you exactly how they feel about the new initiatives. Those who have difficulty with Rejection issues will show their fear.  Those with lack of Commitment won't play, and those with an Outlook problem will develop an even deeper level of concern. 

The biggest underlying reason is that you're asking people to leave their comfort zones and many of them won't want to leave!  And this is the good news!

Here's where the second factor comes into play and that's your response.  If you take their push back seriously and give in to them at any point, you've instantly defeated your goal for improvement and growth.  If you don't get them to leave their comfort zone, nothing will ever change.  If not caving in to the push back causes you to collide with leaving your own comfort zone, so be it.

You have a choice.  Resist the temptation to make it go away, leave your comfort zone and you'll cause everyone to leave their comfort zone too.  Give in to your temptation to make it all better and everything stays the way it was before.  Complacency and stagnation abound and flat sales and profit continue. Which way would you prefer to have it?

So how do you resist the temptation?  I'll give you one example and you can leave your suggestions by clicking the comment link.

"I understand it's uncomfortable for you but this is the direction we're going in, I'm committed to it and if you aren't committed to being part of this, you'll have to look somewhere else for a new job."

© Copyright 2007 Objective Management Group, Inc.

Topics: coaching, accountability, leadership, Motivation, Featured

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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