If salespeople are generally optimistic (I think we can all agree they are), then the words “sales manager” may as well be Greek for God of Optimism. We have to believe to achieve! In sales, the glass is always half full. But these three optimistic phrases will actually hold you back, so be careful not to let your optimism trip you up.
1. “We’ll be at full staff any day now!”
Every sales manager has been there: "If I can just get this last opening filled, we’ll be at full staff!" Well, that is until your star leaves for the competition, you have to let a struggler go, or that solid "B" player decides to take the plunge into early retirement. Furthermore, as an old boss of mine used to say, even if you are at “full staff,” and the Tom Brady of sales moves into your market, wouldn’t you make room for him? We’ve always heard the importance of ABC — Always Be Closing, but I would argue ABR is even more important in today’s climate… Always Be Recruiting!
2. “We have the pending business to get us there!”
One of my mentors likes to say, “Hope is not a strategy!” Often our reviews of pending revenue are more rooted in hope than strategy. If you have a big quarterly revenue goal to hit, you absolutely need the pending revenue to get there. But pending revenue alone will not get you to the number. Challenge your sellers to commit to the action they will take, and when they will take it, to move the business from pending to real. Waiting for the client to make the next move leaves too much to chance.
3. “He’ll pop out of the slump next quarter!”
We often give our stars a pass on a bad month or a bad quarter, but in my mind a slumping star deserves much more time and attention than the person who is already struggling (that’s a whole separate challenge). Don’t ignore this opportunity to help your star identify the misstep(s) and prevent them from happening again. A slow or bad month from one of your stars may create a revenue gap you can’t make up, even with the rest of the full team. Did something change in their process? Have we created roadblocks or hurdles as an organization? Is something going on outside of work? If you don’t quickly identify and address any underlying issues the slump could turn into much more of a problem.