What is “Positive Confrontation”?

Recently a prospect asked me to explain what I meant when I said that many sales managers would be more effective sales leaders if they used what I call “positive confrontation” with their salespeople.

Positive confrontation is the discussion that a sales manager has with a salesperson in a timely manner, regarding an unsuccessful behavior or attitude exhibited by the salesperson. “PC” just means that you slow down a bit, and talk to the salesperson about the issue. That’s all.

Like many words in the English language, the word “confront” has multiple meanings. One is “to face or oppose antagonistically.” Not good. But another meaning of the word confront is “to stand or meet face-to-face.” It is this 2nd meaning that I am referring to.

Many sales managers, when they see a sales rep do something that is not successful (or don’t see something happening that they should be seeing) fail to “address the issue” face to face in a timely manner. Because of all the other pressing issues and ”fires” the manager is dealing with, he or she is often reluctant to slow down and discuss what the manager just observed and why it is not consistent with the company’s expectations.

As a sales manager, you are responsible for keeping your salespeople focused on the behaviors you need for sales success. If you see something happen that is not successful you must use positive confrontation, stand or meet face to face with your salesperson, and just talk about it. Because what you don’t confront, you condone.

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!”.