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Becoming a sales manager is a transition from a producer to a teacher. Have you made this transition recently? What are your tips for success?

Jim is the best. He can close 10-15 mortgages a month without even breaking a sweat. He knows every Realtor, CPA, and financial advisor in town. His phone is always ringing.

Sue is the top producer. She pulls in advertisers who don’t even need to advertise. Her charm and social grace seems to literally print money.

Both are new sales managers. And both are in trouble.

Sales coaching

For some reason their success is not transferring to their teams. These stories are typical to sales organizations. Good sales managers and top producers are often very different people.

So if you just got promoted to sale manager from top producer let me share some personal advice.

Stop Trying to Be the Top Dog

It all starts here. Negotiate with your supervisor, boss, or CEO to understand that the sales manager role has to be your primary mission. Your sales numbers will slip. Shift your goals and metrics to that of the team.

If you’re still trying to be the top producer the team and the sales organization will suffer. And chances are your numbers will slip anyway from the additional responsibility.

Here’s the idea: If you shift your attention from your single sales pipeline to optimizing the sales management skills of a team, you get a huge sales multiplier. But, it can’t happen if you don’t invest in each of those team members.

Start Handing Out Gifts

Investing in your sales team starts with handing out gifts. We’ve all got special talents and gifts. In the sales business that might be prospecting tricks, networking techniques, scripts that just work, or secret tactic that seems to be a bottomless well of opportunity in tough times.

To be a great sales manager you have to start handing out those gifts. Bring folks along on sales appointments. Let them set and listen to you sell. Ask them what they learned. Highlight points in the meeting or conversation that made you take a certain sales tact.

Help Your Folks Set Goals

I think this is the cornerstone of building a great sales team. Sit down with each member and have them tell you what their goals are. Chances are they haven’t thought about it all too much. In which case, you simply get the shoulder shrug. Opportunity!

Without goals your team, with or without you, will wander aimlessly and everyone will settle into their warm, comfortable, no-growth job and become employees. We don’t want employees on our sales teams–we want team members.

Immediately, sit down with each team member and help them identify their goals. Get commitment for their role and their contribution to the team.

I recommend keeping this simple and tied to dollars. Something like this:

  1. What is your commission or earnings goal?
  2. How many sales would that take per month?
  3. Based on your current conversion, how many appointments or calls per day does that require?
  4. Start tracking it!

You would be shocked how many sales folks have never been through this simple exercise.

Hold Them Accountable to Their Goals

Now that you have goals for each of your sales team members. Record them and regularly check on them. Have your team members report back how they’re doing on their own goals.

I know this is silly to mention, but I see it neglected routinely. Even though your team is reporting on their personally set goals make sure you’re tracking too and looking for teaching moments too.

Track daily or weekly calls, appointments, presentations for each team member. This gives you the opportunity to coach with numbers and goals, not simply rah-rah emotional pleas.

Let Them Make Mistakes

Have the confidence in your leadership to let them make mistakes. You made them and learned from them. Give them the same opportunity.

Becoming a sales manager is a transition from a producer to a teacher. Have you made this transition recently? What are your tips for success?

Bill Rice
About Bill Rice
Bill Rice is the Founder & CEO of Kaleidico. Bill is an expert in designing online lead generation strategies and programs. Kaleidico blends web design, development, SEO, PPC, content marketing, and email marketing to generate leads for mortgage lenders, law firms, fintech, and other businesses looking to grow a consumer-direct online strategy.

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