Being a sales manager can be trying at times. Between managing difficult employees, responding to client requests and interacting with company leadership, every manager is bound to have a bad day and say something that should have been kept to themselves. And because you are the boss, what you say and how you say it has a much bigger impact than if another employee had said the exact same thing. And if you happen to make your comment in front of clients or other employees, the unintended results can be exasperated. While how and when you say things is important there are a few phrases that should never be uttered to members of your sales team.
1. "It's only a small account."
Using this statement to dismiss a concern you sales person has or to console your sales person over a lost account can set a precedent within your team regarding what clients are important. If it is heard enough, you risk having your team start only caring about the large accounts. This can lead to less than stellar support for "small" clients and failure to follow up in a timely manner for "small" prospects. Both of these attitudes can have a negative impact on your long term profitability. It is much better to address the concerns and use them as a training opportunity than let a simple phrase make a drastic change to your sales culture.
2. "Let me do all the talking."
Ride alongs are a key component of a successful sales coaching program. But they can cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your sales person as well as damage your the trust your sales person has established with the prospect if you take over the meeting. The ideal role is to observe and provide support IF your sales rep needs it. If the sales manager continually steps in to close the deal, eventually the sales rep will depend on the sales manager.
3. "This is the way we've always done it."
Great sales managers need to be open to new ideas and your sales people are bring creativity and innovation to the table. Because they are in the field everyday interacting with clients and prospects they are a great source of information on your target demographic. And in today's business environment it is more important than ever to adapt to changing technologies and shifts in how your clients buy. If a sales manager is stuck in the past and resists testing new ideas, it is likely their sales team will be left to struggle while everyone else adapts.
4. "It's out of my hands."
A manager's job is to support their sales people and help solve their issues, and this statement is basically the opposite of helping. You want your sales people knowing that you will go to bat for them to get things resolved. This statement undermines your credibly with your sales people and leaves them feeling discouraged or like they are on their own. Instead of telling your team that "It's out of your hands", outline the steps you are going to take and give your sales person an approximate timeline as well as what you think the outcome will be. You want to manage expectations so that you are successful in influencing the decision maker you scored a victory but if you are unsuccessful you haven't let your sales person down.
5. "We're scheduling another meeting to discuss..."
Every minute you take your sales people out of the field you are shrinking the amount of time they have to close business. Any meetings you bring your team out of the field for need to focus only on the most important topics and bring value to your team. If your team doesn't view the time spent in your meetings as valuable will drive your team crazy and lead them to consider any opportunity for group interaction as a waste of their time.