Recently, I had lunch with a salesperson I had trained over 25 years ago. As I listened to her, I realized that even today with all the management and sales training; the countless books and webinars; and the availability of small business coaches and consultants, there are far too many short sighted sales managers and small business owners.
Imagine for a moment one of your top and loyal customers requests a routine tour of your facility to ensure you are still honoring your commitments regarding inventory, technology, personnel, etc. as per your existing sales agreements. The salesperson communicates to the sales manager and the small business owner about this pending visit 30 days before the actual visit. On the day of the visit, neither the sales manager or the small business owner bothered to accompany the salesperson on the tour. Then after the tour was over those in sales management never even inquired about the visit.
Does this behavior really make sense?
Does this behavior inspire continued customer loyalty?
Would this customer recommend this small business to others?
When she asked me my opinion as how to explain this poor sales leadership behavior, I suggested that this particular customer was viewed differently. This customer even though a top revenue producing account with good and stable profit margins was secured prior to the third generation taking over this family owned small business. Additionally, the new and obviously younger regime resented the salesperson who was hired by the current small business owner’s father.
Each day there are thousands of examples of poor sales leadership behaviors being demonstrated by those in sales management as well as by small business owners. In many of these cases, the two primary words are:
This is the core of many small business problems and often not discussed or ignored. No one wants to say the emperor is naked; that his or her leadership and management behaviors are driving not only external customers away, but internal customers as well. Sales Training Coaching Tip: If a small business has continued turnover in salespeople, this is an indicator of sales leadership and sales management problem and not necessarily a sales training coaching problem.
Unfortunately, big ego sales managers and small business owners will always exist. And eventually one of these two things will happen:
- The small business will stop growing and either be shut down or sold
- The small business owner will have an epiphany
From my experience it usually is the former and not the later.
P.S. For those who truly wish to make 2013 better than 2012, this FREE webinar on Thursday, February 7, 2013 from 12-12:30 pm cst, Your Values Are Your Small Business Differentiators, make be worth attending especially for small business owners and sales managers. Register even if you can’t attend and receive the recording. Those who attend will receive a special thank you gift.