Becoming a Flexible Sales Manager

Are you directive, or supportive? A bottom-line driver? Or a cheerleader type? A coach?

Hopefully, you are a combination of all of the above. Being flexible is the key, and your flexibility needs to be rep-specific.

Consider the skill and will of an individual salesperson. What does this rep lack: skill, will, or both? Once you have the answer, think about the best management style that will help them get better. In most cases, being a coach works best. You want to ask questions of the rep that will help him or her find their own answers.

When it comes to choosing our management style, one thing sales managers often forget about are all the “change” initiatives you are continually charged with implementing in the sales organization. When you change the rep’s job you need to remember that rep’s skill and will towards the new duties and responsibilities are likely to now be different as well—and you will have to change what you coach them in, and perhaps be more directive in some instances.

Whenever you change things, quickly get more “hands-on” with your sales coaching style. Ask more questions to assess the skill and will of individuals in regards to their new job requirements. Remember that even your “A” players may need coaching to adapt and excel in the new future you must create.

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.