Selling is tough!
And managing salespeople is sometimes even harder.
Even under ideal circumstances, a salesperson’s day comes with an above-average dose of rejection.
Determination, drive & the ability to overcome adversity are essential characteristics for success in sales.
That’s why knowing how to handle tough sales situations is essential for any Sales Manager.
Failure is bound to happen.
Not only are these tricky situations inevitable, but they can potentially decimate morale & slash revenues when mishandled.
The best Managers plan for failure to minimize the losses & rebound as fast as possible.
We have been there, done that during our own sales career, so do not worry, you are not alone!
To help you learn from my own successes & failures, here is a six-point list of helpful guides designed to help you through the toughest of sales situations.
1. Manage missed targets by setting better goals
Missing your targets once or twice in a row does happen.
Remember, you cannot control outcomes ~ you can only control your input.
If you consistently take the right actions at the right times as dictated by a consistent sales process, you should eventually find the peaks to make up for these short-term troughs.
However, consistent dips in results can be both disastrous for your revenue & your Team’s morale.
Consider missed targets as an opportunity to improve your sales process.
Rather than being a sign of poor performance, missed targets can mean that you’re setting the wrong goals.
And then too, there is the human side of things.
Your Team is likely to be diverse, both in terms of their personality as well as skill levels.
Monthly targets should reflect their unique capabilities, which is why tracking & evaluating your team’s performance is critical.
You, the Manager must set individual goals that motivate them to do their best according to their skill set.
2. Rebuild morale when targets are missed
Sometimes hard work in sales is not enough & that can be tough on Team Members. (as well as you the Sales Manager ~ for sure, it will be you who faces the wrath of the company Board)
Missed targets translate into failure.
The big “f” word is a taboo topic in sales, and yet it is an inevitable part of any Salesperson’s career.
Doing everything right & still not being able to close a deal is demotivating, even if due to forces beyond your control.
That makes managing failure is one of the toughest challenges any Sales Manager will face.
3. Bouncing back after a slump
The emotional impact of failure is immense & even a seasoned salesperson will wear down over a long period of repeated under-performance.
Like a tornado, bad vibes amongst a sales team can feed on themselves & whip things up into a more damaging panic.
If left unchecked, these negative emotions can irreparably affect your team’s culture.
The taboo nature of failure in sales also makes it unlikely that anyone will come to a manager directly and ask for help.
That’s why spotting dips are one of the toughest jobs for sales managers & getting your team out of a slump can be even harder.
4. Dismissing failures is important
Believe it or not, you can dismiss an employee without trauma for you, the salesperson & your team.
You don’t expect to have to fire a team member.
But sooner or later every Sales Manager has to deal with this situation.
You should have a clear, objective & professional plan in place for this tricky situation.
Of course, firing people is never enjoyable, at least not for a good sales manager.
It is crucial to install a solid procedure to be followed by every Team Member.
It may not feel great, but if you manage it well, both the dismissed employee and your team will recover in no time.
5. Handle any/all crises with confidence & craft a recovery plan
When tough times come, your team will thrive or crumble depending on the way you lead them through it.
That’s all the more reason why you need to prepare for the worst as well as plan for the best.
Interesting fact ~ only 29% of Sales Managers, ever have a contingency plan to manage a possible crisis scenario.
Considering that there are so many possible scenarios where environmental, legal, political or market factors can instantly threaten your growth – you should have a playbook to turn to in a time of unexpected crisis. Leaving the planning to later is a recipe for disaster.
7. Create tools to support your Team
Sales is tough even at the best of times.
Salespeople have a draining and challenging job.
A sales team relies on their manager to shoulder the burden of a crisis.
If you plan for the moments that will put your ability to lead to the test – you’ll be able to manage with composure and direction amidst the chaos.
Wishing you the best ~ covid CAN be beaten!
Get your Team on your side & seek out new & innovative solutions to recover lost sales.