The Perils of NOT Training Retail Sales Managers

Many companies invest heavily in retail sales rep training, but are disappointed when they see inconsistent results over the long term. Ironically, the lack of results from retail sales training can often be traced to a lack of training for their managers.

That’s why to get the most out of your retail training investment; the best first step is to train your sales managers how to do their jobs more effectively. This training is critical because sales managers are often top-performing salespeople who have been promoted into management positions. Their background and experience has honed their sales skills, but done little to prepare them to be managers.

Untrained sales managers are prone to a number of problems that can hinder their effectiveness and limit the achievement of their sales team. Unless they are taught how to do their jobs well, sales managers may:

• Fall back on their retail sales mindset rather than develop a leader mindset. Because they don’t know how to be an effective sales manager, they will continue to do what comes naturally….sell instead of manage their team.  That leaves the sales team to sink or swim on their own, without a leader/coach.

• Not manage time effectively.  Sales managers can easily become buried in “busy work” and fighting fires.  The result is that they can feel overwhelmed. They may be working harder than ever but are unable to catch up, and have no time for what should be their #1 priority: to coach salespeople.

• Fail to diagnose sales performance issues and then take action on them.  It is easy for them to harp on bad results, but fail to address the behaviors that create poor results for their team members.

• Tolerate mediocrity.  Because they are focused on their own personal results and/or fighting fires, newly promoted retail managers may accept their rep’s excuses for poor production and erroneously assume the rep will turn it around by force of will.

• Fail to follow-up. Untrained retail sales managers make suggestions to salespeople on how to improve and then assume that person will implement their suggestions. After all, when the manager was a salesperson, he/she implemented the boss’s suggestions.

 A great salesperson can become a great sales manager, but they must be taught how to avoid these problems and others. The good news is that the investment in sales management training is an easy one to make – if you are aware of the need.