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RAB Research Archive

Why Salespeople Lie to Their Managers

Jeff Schmidt, RAB Why Salespeople Lie to Their Managers As a new manager, I made lots of mistakes. One thing, unintentionally, was to suck the motivation right out of my sellers with what I thought was a typical and harmless question: “What did you sell today?” This was a question sellers became used to as they passed me in the hallway. I also started our Monday morning sales meeting by doing a quick “whip-around” the room asking, “What did you sell last week?” As I matured as a manager and got better, I realized how damaging that question was to my sellers, their morale and their motivation. Sales is a series of rejections and advances. Each day your sellers are being rejected by some and advancing the sales process with others. If the only thing you measure is the end result, you are not building up the motivation and morale of a seller; you are killing it. They get beat up on the phones and the street every day. The last thing they need is to be beaten up by their manager when they are in the office. When you ask, “What did you sell today?” You force your sellers to either feel like a loser, lie, or on rare occasions, they’ll have a truthful answer. If they didn’t close a deal, they are not likely to look you in the eye and say, “nothing” when you ask that question. If they do, the look on your face says it all. You know the look. It’s the look that says, “You’re a loser, why did I hire you, why am I paying you, why aren’t you better at this?” If you truly feel that way about one of your sellers, we have bigger issues to talk about. Salespeople want to be successful. They crave it, they are driven by it. That passion and energy are what helps them become more successful. W. Steven Brown’s book, 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them, provides this: In all of industrial history, we have developed only three approaches for getting employees to produce more. Every motivational scheme falls into one of these three broad categories: Fear, Reward and Belief Building… As a sales manager, the “belief building” of your sellers is critical. Belief in the product they are selling, but also belief in themselves. Plenty of things happen to them on the streets in the sales process that might cause them to lose faith in their abilities. Belief building for me was simply changing the question. Instead of asking, “What did you sell today?” I began asking, “What successes did you have today?” This also affected our Monday morning meetings. The “whip-around” was about the “greatest success” that a seller experienced the previous week. I defined success as an “advance” in the sales process. A seller lands a meeting with a prospect they’ve been chasing for weeks – that’s a success. A seller gets a return call from a prospect that they’ve been trying to set up a meeting with – that’s a success. RAB teaches the 7-Steps to Selling Success. Each of those steps provides an opportunity for success before a sale is made. When you define success as any advance in the sales process, you give your sellers much more opportunity to “win.” When you give them opportunities to “win,” they feel rewarded, appreciated and like winners. Do you want the truth? Start asking questions that allow sellers to stay motivated and feel like winners.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB