In Sales Management, The Time To Motivate, Is Not Always The Time To Educate

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Got for it switcherAs a sales manager, director or other frontline supervisor of a sales team, you will often have to help sales people correct mistakes. There are times when you absolutely must teach, correct, fix, train or rectify problems and sometimes you will have to reprimand or take disciplinary action.

However, there are some times when you must hold back on the correction in the face of positive growth. Below is an example of one of those critical moments, when you should leave the teaching for later, even if you have to bite your tongue!

After the Big Sale
Here is a sales person who has laboured long and hard, only to face usual disappointment. In spite of constant failure and tremendous rejection, the sales hero perseveres. Finally, she closes a sale; a big one and comes running to you to report the great news.

You immediately notice that she made a couple of mistakes on the contract. While you do need to correct those mistakes, give the sales person a chance to enjoy the success for a moment, first. Allow the feeling of victory to set in before you rip their heart out.

Sales Person
“Look! I finally got one—a big one!”

“That’s great…oh, oh… wait a minute. Nancy, you didn’t mark the delivery method the right way. I told you, you have to make sure to indicate the rush or regular delivery. Plus, I can see you also failed to add the warranty information…”

Sales Person
“Pizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….” as in all of the air being let out of a big beautiful balloon!

Good Job!
In cases like this, and even with lesser victories, just let the sales person know that it was a job well done. Unless the situation calls for some emergency, drastic, life-threatening, immediate action, just give him or her, the old “pat-on-the-back,” and let the problem rest for a little while.

“Congratulations Nancy! I knew you could do it! I told you that if you just hang in there and keep pushing, you would make it happen. I’m proud of you!”

Then, address the other issues later; in private and with a positive attitude.

Manager (Late the following day)
“Now as we submit your big sale from yesterday, Nancy, let’s go over a few things. You did a good job closing the sale, and there are a couple of points I think will help you make even more sales and get things moving even better for you…”

As the sales manager, do not to berate, deflate and humiliate, when you should elevate, congratulate and motivate!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 11 April, 2012

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