Attention Sales Managers: Is Your Quota Breath Holding Your Sales Team Back?

I’m not knocking you sales managers. I know you’ve invested a great deal in creating sales strategies to help increase your teams’ win rate. I know you’ve heavily invested in helping your team get customers interested in your company’s brand.

What you may not realize is your pushy month-end and quarter-end sales tactics you hammer on are cheesy, tacky and old school, and are driving your customers away instead of pulling them in.

In a survey several years ago, the American Management Association asked buyers what they dislike most about salespeople.

The results, in order, are as follows:

  • Being too pushy (24% of respondents)
  • Not taking no for an answer (23%)
  • Not listening (18%)
  • Talking too much (9%)
  • Baiting and switching (8%)
  • Reading from a script (7%)
  • Using meaningless jargon (5%)
  • Upselling (4%)
  • Impatience (2%)

Customers hate it when salespeople hammer away at them, trying to close a deal. Nothing creates resistance faster than the old hard-sell especially at month-, quarter- or year-end.

Accept the fact, your clients and prospects are savvier and more educated than ever before, especially when it comes to choosing products and services to fit their business needs. They’re well astute with technology, have plenty of ways to research your business on their own terms, and most importantly, they know there’s an abundance of competitive options out there besides yours.

Prospects and your clients crave a sales professional who’s knowledgeable about their business and that can provide an outstanding experience. They loathe salespeople who lead with their wallet and reek of commission breath.

Sales Managers and Quota Breath

A quota breathing sales manager (a.k.a. commission breath) hammers on their sales team to get a deal at all costs. The craving for commissions and overrides is so immense, you drive your sales reps into psychotic behavior, saying things not aligned with your core beliefs. Come the end of the month, you surround your sales team like sharks circling their prey.

These managers focus on “do whatever it takes to get the deal.” The first half of the month, they’re coach, educator and a caring leader. Come the last half of the month, they turn into Dr. Jekyll as they reign terror without guilt or fear of consequences. Their motive is quite clear…make themselves and their numbers look good as opposed to doing what’s right in the minds of their client or prospect.

Sales Reps Can Smell Quota Breath

Stop treating sales goals as the only set of metrics. When you teach and preach to your sales team to push sales aggressively at all costs to meet a particular target, you’re basically telling them nothing else matters. Your team, in turn, starts emulating the foul odor spewing out of your mouth. They lose focus on meeting customers’ needs as they launch into using sales tactics that may annoy or even anger your customers.

Achieving numbers, I get it! Goal-setting helps your team to stay focused and keeps your boss off your back, but prioritizing a sales target over customer experience metrics will create frustrating situations for your entire sales team and the people they serve—your clients.

Your sales reps are smart people. They can immediately detect your quota-driven breath as you enter the sales bullpen. Showing up to Monday morning meetings and starting off with an insincere opening line such as, “I hope everyone had a great weekend,” as you immediately launch into asking the same old school question, “What are you going to bring in?” Sales managers who start off a meeting talking about what everyone is going to close stink up the sales bullpen. Sales managers who push their team to use outdated, old-school and ‘all about me’ closing lines stink up the sales bullpen.

If the ultimate goal is to provide an outstanding customer experience, then “throwing everything at them and seeing what sticks” at month’s end will not help you succeed.

Warning Signs

I know all of you have a heart. Set aside the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde approach. Your clients and prospects deserve a sales professional who’s knowledgeable about their business, cares about helping them and can provide a great experience. I guarantee you this, they’ve heard all the month-end closes. They’ve heard all the B.S. spewing out of your sales teams’ pie holes, so stop it!

Look in the mirror and ask yourself…

  • Am I focused more on the results than my people?
  • Am I investing in regular proactive coaching?
  • Am I being motivational in all the wrong places?
  • Am I barking orders at them or truly speaking to them?

Meeting Yours Clients’ Needs

If your sales reps are not focusing on your client’s needs at each point of their interaction, your team will frustrate your clients, driving them away with these outlandish month-end hammer sessions.

When you focus all your attention on sales metrics, you’re failing to meet the very needs of each one of your clients, and you risk losing them altogether.

Make it your priority to engage your sales team throughout the month. Truly get involved in their weekly sales lives. Truly get involved in their client-facing meetings. Truly care and give a rip about your sales team. More importantly, get out of the office and experience what your sales team goes through on a daily basis.

Larry Levine
About the Author
Larry Levine coaches copier sales reps to use LinkedIn to build out their credibility, prospect for new business opportunities and to protect their current account base. Larry brings 27 years of copier sales experience in Los Angeles, one of the most competitive markets in the world. In 2009 Larry started incorporating LinkedIn into his sales process. Using the LinkedIn platform and techniques he perfected, Larry closed over $650,000 in new business in 2014 in conjunction with $1,300,000 in total revenue. This was a net new corporate account position with a major OEM. Larry built a pipeline of $1,700,000 by developing relationships and using connections made through LinkedIn. Now Larry coaches copier sales reps to use LinkedIn to maximize their success.