Timid Sales Managers Fearful of Confronting Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Thu, Nov 20, 2008 @ 22:11 PM

Two things are very clear from my post earlier this week on ultimatums.

  1. All the readers who observed that ultimatums are not necessary if sales managers are doing the right things are correct.  But Objective Management Group's data from tens of thousands of sales management evaluations show that fewer than 15% of all sales managers come anywhere close to spending enough time and having the required skills to consistently coach, develop, motivate, inspect, measure, train and hold their salespeople accountable. So yeah, in theory, ultimatums aren't necessary and you can rely on the myth that salespeople are self-starters who don't need to be managed.  Tell that to the sales manager with 12 remote salespeople. In reality, the ultimatum is a powerful weapon that allows a sales manager to gain back some degree of control over performance.
  2. Those of you who commented also approach the ultimatum with the same degree of comfort that you might have for embracing a skunk ready to cover you with some of the most long-lasting stench of a liquid known to man.  You would sooner put up with or terminate an under achiever than put yourself through the discomfort of an ultimatum.

Next we are going to perform some algebra. Do you remember expressions like 40 is to 8 as x is to 5 where x = 25?  Then ultimatum is to x as confront is to deal with issues.  The words ultimatum and confrontation scare the shit out of most of you but, in reality, an ultimatum is simply a conversation with an underperforming salesperson where you reset expectations and let them know the consequences for failing to meet those expectations. Confronting is when a salesperson deals with issues created by their prospect or customer.

Now how do you feel about ultimatums?

(c) Copyright 2008 Dave Kurlan

Topics: sales assessment, Sales Coaching, Salesforce, Sales Force, sales motivation, sales evaluation, Sales Accountability, overachievers, how to improve sales

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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 eight 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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