Those in sales management know it can be a difficult task. Managing sales teams, working with business owners, and managing integration with the rest of the business can be rough to navigate. Many sales managers have mastered their craft, while others are in the position simply for more money. But good sales managers can teach us a lot about communication, conversation, and negotiation.
Rene Zamora joins me in this episode of Negotiations Ninja to share his expertise in sales management and communication. Rene is an expert sales management consultant who specializes in working with small business owners and their sales teams to redefine their relationships—and begin to sell more effectively. Over the years, Rene has learned what transforms sales teams and pushes them to excel. Don’t miss his expert advice!
Outline of This Episode
- [1:13] Rene’s background in sales management
- [2:47] Do good sales people make good managers?
- [3:47] The major challenges sales managers face
- [4:54] THE basic selling tool: conversation
- [7:31] Manage your internal negotiation
- [9:40] What if you don’t have experience?
- [15:14] How to manage your sales team
- [17:56] Clear and consistent communication
- [21:23] Procurement: how to connect with salespeople
- [23:38] It begins and ends with conversation skills
Good salespeople don’t always make good sales managers
According to Rene, most statistics point towards salespeople being awful managers. But he also points out that you can’t generalize—it’s 100% about the person being considered for the position. A manager has to be prepared to be responsible for someone else’s success.
Is the person being considered mature enough in their career? What is their intention for the position?
Rene believes you shouldn’t talk someone into a management position with the lure of money. They have to encapsulate a desire to help others. Without that desire, they will flounder in their new role.
The #1 Basic Selling Tool: Conversation
A good sales manager—and salespeople in general—need to be able to engage in conversation. They have to master not only face-to-face communication, but texting, email, and virtual meetings through Zoom. Each mode of communication offers its own set of challenges. It’s difficult to gauge body language and facial expressions through email and texting.
Conversation is a lost art. It involves active listening, asking open-ended questions, and keeping the conversation relevant and interesting to the person you’re conversing with. Listen to hear some of Rene’s techniques for generating useful conversation.
How to manage a negotiation
Inside every negotiation, THREE conversations are happening: the self-talk in your mind, your counterparts’ inner thoughts, and the actual back and forth between each side. You have to overcome your fear, self-doubt, and inner judgments to excel in the conversation. You have to actively listen, decide on responses, and craft the next question—all the while wondering what’s going on in the other person’s head.
Rene points out that as you become more experienced and confident in your negotiation and conversation abilities, the process becomes smoother. You spend less time focused on your next move and spend more time actively listening and being engaged. Conversation flows naturally. According to Rene, It’s akin to how professional athletes perceive the game:
“They say that—when they get experienced—the game slows down for them and they can make good moves. But when they’re new to it, it’s fast and quick, and they’re in their head trying to figure out what to do.”
Just like becoming a professional athlete, it takes hard work and dedicated practice to master conversation skills. You won’t become an experienced negotiator, salesperson, or sales manager overnight. You don’t have to be a “natural”. You just have to practice. Repetition is the mother of all skill.
Sales management is a whole new world
Rene usually steps in when small business owners become exasperated trying to manage their sales teams. Why? Because most people don’t naturally know how to manage salespeople. Sales professionals are typically assertive, influential, impatient, and unafraid to ask for what they want. All great qualities in a salesperson—but considered disruptive internally.
Business owners don’t know how to manage salespeople. It’s as simple as that.
Rene sees owners on both sides of the spectrum. They’re either too controlling and aggressive or avoid their sales teams altogether. A sales manager can’t be dominant, controlling, or micro-manage—but many do. So Rene steps in to help repair the relationship, facilitate communication, and help each side learn to excel in their given roles.
So how do sales managers/business owners set boundaries with their teams? How do they reinforce what’s important? How should procurement deal with salespeople? Rene covers these topics and much more in the rest of this episode.
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