As Owner or General Manager Do You Sell?

As the Owner or GM do you go out, call on clients and actually sell?

I consult with and coach many business owners, and I hear a common complaint: “The sales team isn’t making their revenue numbers and I don’t know what to do to get their sales numbers up.  What should I do?”

When I ask how much the Owner or GM is selling, I almost always get the same answer – “My GM doesn’t sell.”    Really?  How can he be "in touch?"  Worse is: “I’m too busy being the Owner to go out and sell!”

The problem with many owners and managers is that they aren’t expected to get out of the office and sell.  And the problem with that is how can they teach and coach something they aren’t doing themselves (or worse, that they can’t do)? How do they have real credibility?

The most effective and respected owners and managers lead by example.  They have a personal quota (even if it’s a small number) and they keep their skills sharp and refined because they are on out in the real world closing prospects and clients every day.  This gives them a real understanding of what it takes to get the job done, and so they are in the best position to teach this to others.

The top 4 benefits of having an Owner or General Manager that actively sells:
1) Owners and managers who actively sell have a current and intimate understanding of what techniques, skills and strategies work in your selling environment.  And having this first-hand knowledge means they can teach it to others.
2) Because a selling owner or manager has this immediate experience of closing sales, they are in a much better position to help their team members close business as well.  
3) A selling manager commands the immediate respect and confidence of his/her sales team.  An owner is a leader of his team, and the best way to lead is by example.  Sales people respect and follow a leader who can help them close sales and achieve their goals.   
4) A confident manager grows a confident and productive team.  Nothing is better for a manager than to have him/her demonstrate they have what it takes to successfully close deals.

Smaller companies usually have no more than one or two sales professionals, along with a General Manager or Owner overseeing them. As a GM or Owner, they have a number of responsibilities and often don’t have sales backgrounds. Because of this, they struggle to provide the necessary direction and often fail to help their sales professionals realize their full potential.  

A great solution for a smaller company is hiring an "outside" coach or “remote sales manager" which can be far less expensive than bringing on a fulltime salaried sales manager in house. An outside sales coach can still review Daily Activity, establish Goals, and generally hold the sales staff accountable to the numbers and targets.   Even the smallest sales force needs some form of sales management.  An outside sales coach/manager brings objectivity, accountability, and valuable sales guidance.

At a minimum, a sales manager should:

1.    Know the real selling environment

2.    Have measurable goals / quotas

3.    Hold sales people accountable

4.    Be skilled in training sales staff

5.    Be able to motivate your sales people

A final thought:
Most managers believe that salespeople should be able to convince prospects to buy. It doesn't seem to occur to them that their salespeople can't convince people to do anything they don't already want to do.  Insist that your salespeople treat prospects with trust and respect, utilize an effective sales process, and abandon all forms of persuasion, false urgency and manipulation.  It’s about the client, NOT about the salesman or his services.

And most importantly, as an owner or general manager, establish your own personal quota and go out and sell – even if it’s only one qualified prospect each week!

Author: Dick Wagner, Restoration Coach and Consultant, Commercial Marketing Expert

Author:  Dick Wagner   Restoration Consultant, Restoration Coach, Marketing Advisor