December 17

Confrontational or CARE-frontational Sales Management


You are a top sales producer that’s been promoted to sales manager. You’re excited about the opportunity to gain experience, improve your leadership skills and help your sales team succeed.

After a few months in your new role, a healthy dose of reality sets in. You realize that holding salespeople—human beings---accountable to continuous improvement is difficult. Some days you feel like you are a professional baseball player because you are fielding so many excuses.

“Do you want me to sell or spend the time plugging data into my CRM system?”

“I’ve been selling a long time. I don’t need to engage in role plays and practice.”

“I could sell something if we had better pricing.”

“I don’t have time to…….”

You recognize it’s time to have a crucial coaching conversation to change behaviors and eliminate excuses.  However, many sales managers do not like to conduct these difficult coaching conversations because they view these conversations as confrontational.

As a result, many sales managers simply avoid them and settle for mediocrity.

So, how do effective sales managers embrace conflict?  

The first step is to apply the emotional intelligence skill of self-awareness. Schedule time to think and ask introspective questions:   

  • What story am I telling myself about conflict?
  • Challenge the story. What else could be true?

The self-aware sales manager changes the story around discussing difficult topics such as a bad attitude, lack of buy-in or inconsistent sales results. They know and BELIEVE that confronting difficult topics is how leaders demonstrate they care about a person.  

The self-aware sales manager knows that if you don’t care, you default to the easy road of sales leadership called the hope strategy.

You hope and wish the salesperson resigns so you don’t have to have the crucial coaching conversation.  Good luck with that strategy. 

The self-aware sales manager is patient and willing to live with the temporary discomfort of holding difficult conversations. She stays the course because she knows when a salesperson improves their attitude, selling skills and habits, the profession of sales becomes easier and more fun.

Salespeople stop resisting feedback because when they see improvement, they

BELIEVE that caring feedback is truly the path to improved performance.

Improve your ability to hold the crucial sales conversations and you will improve your sales team’s sales results.

Good Selling!


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