Are You Managing Teenagers or Salespeople?

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, Jun 23, 2011 @ 16:06 PM

Do you have teenagers living with you? Have you raised teenagers? If not you can surely remember your teenager years? It’s a challenging time full of fear, frustration, pride, disappointment and joy. Some days it looks like smooth sailing ahead..other times you hold tight on hoping for a break in the weather.

As the CEO or Sales Leader this probably sounds familiar. Wouldn't it be wonderful if logic always applied? You could simply explain what needed to be done and wait for it to happen. In reality it doesn’t work that way.

Here’s a parallel; managing salespeople is like parenting teenagers.

Lets look at some comparisons. These are literal; you can adjust as needed

  • Salespeople are very emotional
  • They have frequently mood swings
  • They say what they believe people what to hear
  • The “truth’ can be redefined
  • They are usually egotistical
  • They are often motivated by fear
  • Anything can be rationalized
  • They are prone to distraction
  • Their needs are more important than anyone else’s
  • They are not good asking for help
  • It’s hard for them to accept your critique

Effective sales management requires patience, persistence and continued reinforcement. You need to comfort them, push back on what they say, help them see things from a different perspective and increase their humility. It’s a balancing act between direct, forthright accountability and careful, patient, nurturing. Remember that the traits salespeople exhibit, (principally the passion and emotion) are what drives them to succeed. So have fun and embrace the "teenage years." It’s worth the journey.


Topics: sales management, sales people

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