New sales managers – pitfalls and perils of off-the-cuff comments

Sales managers and off-the-cuff comments

Everyone speaks off-the-cuff, but the impact of these comment varies based upon who’s talking.  We’ve noticed that one of many adjustments new sales managers must make is thinking about the impact of off-the-cuff comments.

Let’s take a quick look at this communication consideration from three perspectives:

  • Positional Authority. Because they are now in sales management, what the new sales manager says is taken more seriously.  While not necessarily a negative, an off-the-cuff comment can often have more influence than the sales manager intended.
  • Management Messaging. What the sales manager says cannot only be taken more seriously it can also be interpreted as conveying an official position of top management.  Particularly in times when the organization is going through a critical period of change this can be problematic. But even when times are “good” management messages can be misinterpreted. We’ve seen, for example, sales reps walk away from an off-the-cuff remark and interpret it as the company wants them to sell solution A, not solution B – even when it isn’t true.
  • Company Grapevine. From time to time everyone likes to be the one who has the “inside scoop.”  Hence an off-the-cuff comment can spread rapidly throughout the organization and morph as it moves from one person to another.

At any given time in any given company, five or six important things happening.  If you are a sales manager, someone on your team is going to corner you and ask, “”what’s going on?” How you respond – whether you’ve been in sales management for many years or you are a new sales manager is critical.

Particularly if you are a new sales manager, who is not use to handling these situations, spend some alone time and think about your answer if someone were to ask you – “Say, I hear we are merging with Borax, what’s the story?”  The recommendation is nothing more than the old lesson – think before you speak.

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©2013 Sales Horizons, LLC

About Janet Spirer

For more than 30 years Dr. Richard Ruff and Dr. Janet Spirer - the founders of Sales Horizons - have worked with the Fortune 1000 - such as UPS, Canon USA, Smith & Nephew, Boston Scientific, Owens & Minor, Textron - to design and develop sales training programs. Janet has followed two different, yet complimentary paths. First, as a B-School Professor she taught marketing, sales, and business strategy courses. She also managed a consulting practice focusing on sales productivity and marketing – working with a variety of clients ranging from Xerox to IBM. She translated those experiences into a book – “Parlez-Vous Business” – that helps sales people develop the business savvy to sell successfully. Since co-founding Sales Momentum® in 2000 with Richard Dr. Spirer received her Ph.D. from The Ohio State University, an M.P.A. from The University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in Economics from Brooklyn College. She holds the appointment of Professor Emeritus at Marymount University.
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4 Responses to New sales managers – pitfalls and perils of off-the-cuff comments

  1. Pingback: Sales managers should never underestimate the power of words! | Sales Training Connection

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