Don’t Kill The Enthusiasm

I have to tell you the story of something that I witnessed in a selling situation yesterday.  First, let me describe the basic setting.  There was a team of roughly 5-6 sales people that were selling to a group of 5 or 6 prospects.  The sales team was comprised of what I would call a Senior Level Manager, a Mid-Level Manager and 3 or 4 sales reps.  This particular presentation lasted for about an hour.  During the hour there was some minor group interaction, but the bulk of the time was spent with the Senior Level Manager conducting the presentation.  The presentation went pretty well, and it seemed as if everyone was positive and engaged for the entire hour.

When the presentation came to an end, and the Senior Level Manager was wrapping everything up, the Mid-Level Manager asked the Senior Level Manager if he could say something for a minute.  At first the Senior Manager was somewhat hesitant saying that time was running short.  However, the Mid Manager said that it would be short and only take a couple of minutes, so the Senior Manager agreed to it.  At that time, the Mid Manager got up and spoke for about 2 minutes.  After about 2 minutes, the Senior Manager jumped back in and cut the Mid Manager off.  The Mid Manager said that he still had one more quick thing to say, and the Senior Manager told him no.  The Mid Manager was standing there in shock.  The Mid Manager then went on to say that he would like to finish and it would be quick.  The Senior Manager told him no again.  So, with the room completely quiet, the Mid Manager stood there in embarrassment.  It looked like a parent telling his kid to quit talking.  This was turning out to be quite an embarrassment for the entire sales team and both Managers.  I am not exactly sure why the Senior Manager would not let the Mid Manager finish speaking and was so adamant in cutting him off.  I am still undecided on whether or not what the Mid Manager had to say was helpful or not, but it was not detrimental to the sale or the team by any stretch.

This ending took the air out of the room completely.  The sales team looked like a joke.  The Mid Manager probably lost all credibility and respect with the prospects and the sales team.  The Senior Manager shutting the Mid Manager down like that in front of prospects and in front of the Sales Team left the Mid Manager with absolutely no credibility, and as if what he had to say had absolutely no value and was not worthy of anyone’s time.  The Senior Manager looked like a control freak.  It was a horrible ending to a sales call.

How does a sales team come back from that?  How does a Mid Level Sales Manager maintain any sort of respect or credibility from his sales team?  How does a Mid Level Manager stay motivated after that?  How does the team stay motivated?  It was obvious that the Mid-Manager was eager and excited to share, and was passionate about what he was doing.  I don’t know what the outcome of this situation was or what it will be long term, but what was obvious to me was that there was a ton of enthusiasm that was crushed here.

Even if the Mid Manager was mis-speaking in this situation,  you don’t want to crush the Mid Manager’s confidence and destroy the team in such a detrimental way.  Make sure to always encourage in front of others.  Reprimanding or showing lack of respect for someone is bad enough in private, but it is crushing in public.

“Reprimand in private, Reward in Public”

-The Sales Leader


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