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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

John Wayne Need Not Apply: Coaching Your Sales Team

sales manager coaching teamI was listening to a sports radio station in town last week, and it had breaking news that the Major League baseball team had just fired their manager.

It wasn't a big surprise. The team had underperformed for the last couple of years, but what was surprising was the reason the club gave to the media.

His style wasn't connecting to his players.

What? His style? They didn't mention his performance, his attitude, or even lack of confidence by management. Nope, it was that his "old school" style didn't connect with his young(er) players. He didn't know how to connect with his millennial or Gen Z players.

One of the radio hosts said that he was too much like John Wayne. He was tough, to-the-point, and not very touchy-feely. He wasn't very caring, emotional, or even friendly with his players. To him, it was all business. They weren't friends. He was their boss!
Wow! Does that sound familiar to you? Maybe in your business or organization?

It does to me. I see that in sales organizations all the time! You have an "old-school" sales manager that struggles with his millennial staff. He just doesn't get them and hasn't figured out how to connect with or even motivate them.

3 Ways to Connect With and Motivate Your Sales Team

Here are three ways that you can get the most out of your salespeople, even if they think that you are John Wayne (or maybe Tommy Lasorda):

1. Build a strong relationship with your team.

There is a common myth that if you are too close to your salespeople that won't be able to discipline them. It's just wrong. Think about being a parent. You love your kids and should be very close to them, but still hold them accountable, right. Did you know that 70% of top salespeople who leave their jobs because of a breakdown in their relationship with their manager? Relationships matter.

2. Don't follow the Golden Rule.

We've all heard of the Golden Rule - treat others as you would want to be treated, but as a Sales Manager, you need to do better. Great managers understand the unique talents and needs of each person they manage and in turn coach each one exactly as they need to be coached. So skip the Golden Rule and go with the Platinum Rule.

3. Be positive.

Who doesn't want to get positive recognition for a job well done? But, old-school managers sometimes think that if they are too nice, salespeople will take advantage of them. That's just wrong. People want to feel appreciated. U.S. Department of Labor statistics shows the number one reason people leave their jobs is because they “don’t feel appreciated.” And 79% of employees who quit their jobs last year cited a lack of appreciation as the main reason for leaving. So, give positive feedback often and publicly!

Today, we don't need John Wayne to be our sales managers. Instead, we need to find a manager that isn't afraid to share his feelings, connect with his staff, and show appreciation. We need more Chris Pratts.

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Topics: motivation sales management sales culture coaching