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Sandler Trainers:  Patrick McManamon & Jim Stephens

Behind the Business:   Janet Keller

Entrepreneur Radio:   Toby Lyles

Part One:

Pat, from Jacksonville, Florida, just started his 19th year with Sandler Training. At a crossroads in life Pat’s family and his kids were comfortable and did not like the idea of moving. So, when he came across the Sandler concept he took it to heart and became an entrepreneur as a trainer which followed his life as the International Sales Director of a large corporation.

The approach of not just technique, but behavior and attitude, supported by reinforcement prompted Pat to pull the trigger and invest in the Sandler system. His experience in management led him to the journey of writing the book, “The Intentional Sales Manager”. His book is aimed at being a mixture being the plight of the Sales Manager and the possibilities of a Sales Manager.

Often times the roadmap or training for a sales manager is sparse because the assumption is they will figure it out after being promoted and it winds up being a trial and error experience. This may not allow them to be comfortable in their new role and their need to feel as if they have all the answers leads to defensive and they assume that the rest of the world expects them to know everything. The habit without training is to hound an individual over the negative without providing them with resources.

The intentional manager focuses on fostering a level of trust to allow for agency and expression and build a sense of departmental integrity. This structured pace recognizes the collaborative nature of the relationship and deemphasizes the sense of a hierarchy, which may lead to unintended self-righteousness.

A manager that is constantly looking to learn and grow and be vulnerable is a manager that other people are willing to follow. This allows them to develop a level of trust and openness with their people. This helps goals become fleshed out, accountability grounded, and the manager to be more in control of what behavioral goals they want to promote and prioritize with their individuals.

The intentional manager needs to begin from a place where there is not a strain between the relationship of hierarchy and the sales people themselves. The fostering of the discovery process between individuals is key in maintaining that mutual business respect between co-workers and managers and their department.

Part Two:

Most managers live in the behavior realm and are busy telling people what to do. An intentional manager uses the technique that tells individuals how to do something. Rather than relying on guilt, the intentional manager is a coach and mentor for developing new techniques.

The intentional manager identifies the why behind the what and helps open up the world in the relationship because the mentee feels as if they are working in conjunction with the intentional sales manager versus the sensation that they are working in opposition to the organizational management forces. Often times the traditional manager looks at numbers, which they think are behaviorally tracked, but they are often looking in the rearview mirror to discover what has been done and what hasn’t been done. The intentional manager focuses on what we can do today for an outcome moving forward and how do I become a valuable resource to my people.

 The manager’s role in motivation is to pull the intrinsic motivation in an individual to the surface. They need to hold the parties accountable to what both have agreed to on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly basis. As long as there is a mutual understanding as to what needs to be done then the manager can take the role of couch and help the individual realize where a certain tool or technique needed to be applied or should be applied going forward. The manager needs to be present in getting ready for live sales situations and help their mentees hit on all cylinders and have an impact in what is required.

Getting into the habit of doing a pre-call strategy, debriefing a call, and identifying what can be learned separates top performers in sales from the rest of the pack and the intentional manager facilitates these tools and the discovery of their importance. Until you establish the why an individual won’t recognize that the way they are currently doing it and winging it is causing them frustrations and losses. The intentional manager needs to facilitate this discovery and be willing to say, “if you’re ready, let me know when you want to learn this approach.” By asking questions to reveal where they are versus where they want to be the intentional manager facilitates discovery through good, specific questions.

Sandler focuses on getting below the surface to help the individual discover why they need to change by digging deep and asking probing questions to discover the underlying problem and the personal impact which prompts the need to change. By being in the middle, the manager needs to facilitate discovery for both sides of the equation to create an avenue toward the desired outcomes and goals. By showing personal impact the intentional manager creates a way for individuals to hold themselves accountable.

Part Three:

The sales manager needs to provide accountability and discipline without making mentees feel like they are being persecuted, but how do they do this? It starts with having an assurance that there is no mutual mystification of what the expectations are. Often the root of the conflict comes from this misunderstanding of what the expectations are. By regularly confirming expectations and asking whether there is a gap, this conflict can be avoided.

The other important tactic for a manager is to address the roles of an individual and how they perform, rather than an attack that implicitly targets their identity. If an individual feels personally attacked it risks getting into an area where there is very little ability to recover from it in a short-term exchange. The identity is the recognition that we are all made up of our own self-worth. If we are not careful then we can hear criticism on our role side and let that bleed over onto our identity. For example, a sales manager can specifically ask questions to how an individual felt they performed in their role. If the manager needs to follow-up he can frame the question toward the role that they are in, rather than depending on the pronouns that intuitively come off as a personal attack to someone who may be in a defensive situation.

Most people are in sales because they’ve got a certain swagger and a certain level of confidence. In a situation where the drama triangle might come into play the manager may start as persecutor and the individual may be the victim, until the script is flipped. These locations on the drama triangle can rotate as a manager is trying to be intentional, but winging the exchange which may overcomplicate and cause issues in the exchange. The key to avoid the drama is to continuously practice and learn to ask questions. Questions pull individuals into the adult ego state when they respond.

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