Picture this: you’re in your weekly 1:1 with your sales manager. Let’s call him “ABD” – All Business Dave. “ABD” opens each meeting by saying “It’s not all about the numbers. But it is all about the numbers. So, let’s talk about the numbers!” Next, “ABD” glances down at the list of deals and proceeds to ask for status updates on the same deals that he’s asked you about daily for the past month. You know the drill from here. Topics of significant value to you are rarely discussed.
“ABD” is not a bad guy. He means well. The question is: why does he, and other well-intentioned sales managers like him, consistently mishandle the most important meeting of the week by focusing solely on deals and the forecast?
In the high-pressure world of sales, leadership often prioritizes closing deals above all else. While achieving sales targets is undoubtedly important, a myopic focus on closing deals can hinder the long-term growth and development of sales teams. Problems arise when sales managers neglect the coaching aspect of their role, choosing to spend their 1:1’s solely on deal-related discussions. There are a lot of reasons for this: they might feel more secure reporting the news up the chain to their manager, they’re almost always under pressure to meet the numbers themselves, companies often have short-term goals, and more. But those aren’t excuses for underinvesting in personal growth.
Here are three compelling reasons why sales managers may want to consider broadening their focus beyond the deal:
- Improve Retention: Salespeople want to know their manager supports them. The 1:1 meeting is the best time to understand the goals of each employee. When employees feel like their manager understands and cares about them, they stay around longer.
- Increase Motivation: No salesperson was ever truly motivated by providing deal updates. Taking the time to understand the root cause of why deals aren’t closing helps managers uncover and tackle real problems hindering employee performance, and allows them to better coach on performance opportunities that will both help with immediate issues and long-term performance. This reduces stress & helps unlock intrinsic motivation.
- Build Trust: Sales is not just about closing one-time deals but also about developing the skills to add value and build long-term relationships with customers. When managers can take a longer-term, approach to helping their people continuously apply new skills and get outside their comfort zone, they’re truly adding value. This forges a stronger bond and creates a force-multiplier effect.
Salespeople join organizations for their own reasons – not their manager’s. They want to earn a make money, grow professionally, and have fun. When these three boxes are checked consistently, salespeople contribute to their company’s success for years, not months. The weekly 1:1 is where the magic happens. It’s where the bond is built between manager and employee. It should be the most important meeting of the week.
As John Wooden, legendary basketball coach, once said, “A good coach can change a game, a great coach can change a life.”
So, don’t be “ABD” and, instead, invest in building a coaching culture. It takes time but will yield higher sales and a happier, more engaged team. And the numbers? We guarantee that this investment will pay off as a result of your hard work Start coaching, watch the sales soar and change lives!