Don't Rescue Your Salespeople

If you are a leader of a sales organization, you have your hands full. Pressure is high and results are required. Time management is the key to success and ensuring your reps close business as fast as possible helps with your overall goals and objectives.

Here’s the challenge. Your reps come to you for help in closing an opportunity and you don’t want to lose a piece of business. You need it to hit your numbers, so you help them close the deal. Herein lies the problem: you just fell into a key trend hurting sales managers across the country.

Rescuing salespeople

You might feel you're helping them and yourself when you perform a rescue, but in reality both of you are getting hurt. You have now become a crutch and the salesperson starts to notice a pattern. “If I need help, I can always bring the manager in to close the deal for me.”

Now the time you should be spending coaching, motivating, and mentoring your team turns into you keeping your sales hat on. It takes away from working on the business. Now you’re stuck back in the daily trenches.

Think of it this way. If you have children who can ride a bike, do you still hold onto the seat for them? Why did you let go of the seat early on? Did you have the energy to hold onto their seat for the rest of their lives? Of course not. Unfortunately, there are too many sales managers still holding the seat for their 18-year-old (metaphorical) children!

Let’s not be naïve. We aren’t going to teach our kids how to ride a bike on the interstate where they could get seriously hurt. But the neighborhood sidewalk or park is a great place to let them skin their knees. If it’s the largest order of the year, it might not be a good time to let your rep learn a lesson. But if it’s an average size order, don’t rescue. Reps learn more from getting a "No" than they do from getting a "Yes." Help debrief and coach them through the lessons learned from failure.

There are 4 different roles a manager can play when joining a sales rep for an opportunity:

  1. Visiting dignitary: A classic case of the potential customer meeting the “higher up.”

  2. Depth and breadth: Allowing the prospective customer to experience another person from the organization.

  3. Technical expert: You are playing the role of a higher level of expertise for your company’s product or services.

  4. Crutch: You are there to help close the deal because your salesperson doesn’t know what to do next or can’t close it themselves.

Think back to the past month when you joined reps on meetings or calls. How many times did you fall into role #4? If you find yourself in this role, it's hard to create self-sufficiency and your time will be spent selling instead of leading your people to new heights.

Aaron Prickel

Connect with Aaron Prickel

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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