5 Things Sales Managers Should Never Say To A Salesperson

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Frustration manNo matter how long you’ve been associated with sales, you’ll never know it all even if you have been on the most advanced Sales Management Training Courses.

We’ve worked with sales managers and directors who have been involved in sales all their working lives, sometimes over 40 years, and the evidence of bad leadership exists in the wastelands of their past, through poor motivational techniques, overload of their teams and a determination to prove no-one is as good as they are.

This can be the result of hardening of the attitudes or simply an inattention to their emotional intelligence, or a plethora of other reasons.

Whatever the case, a sales manager needs to watch how they communicate with their salespeople.

Here are five things you would never hear a sales manager say to the people who are their bread and butter:

1) When I was selling, I would never have done that

OK, it may be true that at one time you were a better salesperson than your team member.

But these words not only demoralise the person, but also inhibit future creativity.

It makes their self-esteem fall through the floor, as they feel criticised and embarrassed.

We know you mean well, but these words simply don’t hack it for the sales person.

2) Why can’t you do it like xxx?

This again undermines their confidence.

It follows the age-old ‘why can’t you study like your sister?’ from your parents when you were young.

That other person may be performing better but they don’t have the same roots as the person you’re talking to.

Besides, how will it make this salesperson feel about their peer?

Will it enhance teamwork and collaboration?

I seriously doubt it!

3) Don’t blame me. This is company policy

Passing the buck like that is making the salesperson feel they are the victim again, and nothing can be done to deal with it.

Blaming company policy, or your boss, or legislation changes only puts more pressure on people to conform, you want people who have creative ideas and innovative thoughts to build the future direction.

This statement does the opposite

4) It’s always been done that way

So you’re saying there’s never any progress or improvements necessary in your department, and if you think you can develop business in a different way then you’re in the wrong place!

Yes, this will kill growth and forward thinking better than a kick in the teeth!

5) If you don’t like it, go somewhere else. There are plenty of others out there who can do your job

Is this supposed to motivate a salesperson?

Are you trying to get the person to now say ‘Wow, you’re right, this really is a great job and I’m sorry I even had a negative thought about it!”?

Well, it certainly won’t happen if you try this classic phrase from the bottom drawer!

Remember, what you say will stay a long time in the salesperson’s mind.

It will drive them straight to the job websites if you insist on belittling them and demeaning their self-worth.

Instead, think first about what you’re trying to achieve with your communication.

Analyse what effect your words will have before you say them.

Build a more positive outlook by considering the person’s behavioural style and work with them on the solution, not the problem.

That way, you’ll never say things to your salesperson that will demoralise or dishearten them.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

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Originally published: 26 February, 2018

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