By Amy O’Connor
Remember the 2003 romantic comedy “How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days” starring Mathew McConaughey and Kate Hudson? You know the one where her job assignment is to write an article for her magazine on all the things girls unknowingly do that make guys bolt? It’s cute to watch if you find yourself with nothing better to do on a Friday night, but I digress. The key sales lesson in the movie is our need to recognize what we unknowingly do that drives people away.
Here are the top 7 things I see company leaders doing that drive their sales leaders away.
1. Not Giving Them Any Decision Making Ability
If you’ve hired the right person, give them the respect they deserve and the space they need to make an impact on the business. Daniel Pink in his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us, talks about the three factors that motivate people to perform better: mastery, purpose and autonomy!
You’ve hired them to do a job, get out of their way and let them do it.
2. Belittling Their Sales Team
Great sales leaders become fiercely attached to their sales teams and will protect and defend them to the bitter end. Few things feel worst to a sales leader than to hear their sales people being bashed by others in the organization.
If you have true concerns about the sales team, have a strategic conversation with the sales leader that focuses on specifics. Leave out the snide remarks, they are not helpful.
3. Minimizing Their Efforts
Sales leadership is TOUGH! It’s one of the most difficult jobs I’ve ever done. They work hard for their money, as Donna Summer would say. Sales leaders work long hours, weekends, holidays…and minimizing their efforts is a huge blow!
Avoid statements like “selling is easy” or “in this market our product really does just sell itself, am I right?” No, selling is never easy, and no the product doesn’t sell itself.
Give that sales leader of yours a big ‘ole hug and tell them you appreciate everything they do.
4. Overworking Them
Sales leaders never stop. Sales happen 24/7, and they require leadership oversight. This is a recipe for burnout!
Force your sales leader to take time off. They need the time to rejuvenate and de-stress. Trust me on this one, the best way to lose a great sales leader is to allow them to work non-stop.
5. Underpaying Them
Want to know how much to pay your sales leader? Pay them enough to take money off the table. You don’t want your sales leader fretting about if their compensation is high enough, you want them focusing on getting you more sales!
6. Making Their Hiring Decisions For Them
A sales leader must cultivate their own team. They must hire appropriately for the goals required and for the culture they are trying to create.
Thrusting a person at them and requiring them to put that person on the sales team is not only disruptive, it undermines what they are trying to build.
7. Allowing The Sales People to Come Directly To You With Problems Or Requests
I know everyone likes to feel important, and we like to think that we have all the best answers. So when sales people come directly to you, it can seem flattering. But I have to say, “STOP!” You are undermining your sales leaders authority.
If you don’t respect the sales leader, why should the sales people? And if that’s the case, why do you have a sales leader at all?
So there you have it. Now you know! Are you guilty of mistreating your sales leaders? If so, what are you going to do about it? The health of an organization lies in its ability to sell so protect your sales leader at all costs – you’ll be the better for it!