I’ve had some truly incredible managers throughout my career in sales. But, I’ve also some that just plain ol’ sucked. One in particular really stands out. To this day, I think that his main goal was to make my life a living hell. (I mean, he didn’t even give us a proactive sales automation CRM!)
If your boss is just the worst, I hope that you can at least get some comedic relief by reading the 8 worst things that sales manager ever told me.
“You’re just lucky to have this job”
Whenever I had a single issue that I wanted to bring up (including something as minor as changing the temperature in the office), I was told to shut up, and thank my lucky stars that my boss was doing such a charitable act as keeping me around. Lucky wouldn’t quite describe my feelings on having a job where I was constantly belittled and made to feel like a complete idiot.
“Why can’t you be more like Bob? Take a page out of his book”
On the surface, this doesn’t seem too bad. But, Bob was the absolute worst, regardless of the number of deals he ended up actually closing. He was constantly stealing other people’s leads, and screwing the rest of the sales teams. A number of reps complained, but Bob was such a kiss-you-know-what that my boss couldn’t have cared less.
“We’re changing up your pay structure a bit this year”
Every rep knows this is one of the absolute worst things you can hear. It seems harmless, but let me tell you- hardly ever does the change result in you making more money. My boss once decided that we were going to pool our commission. Thankfully, there was basically a mutiny at the office, and the change was never actually implemented.
I don’t have time to do your full review, but you’re doing fine.”
My boss was always too busy to give me any detailed feedback on my performance. But he definitely had time to tell me how stupid something I was doing was. The kicker was, that sometimes if I wasn’t meeting my numbers, he’d tell me some “genius” tip on how to do better. When it didn’t work, he asked what I was doing, and I told him, he said that it was the stupidest idea he’d ever heard (obviously forgetting it was his). I agreed!
“You do know we could replace you in an instant, right? Anyone can do sales.”
Nothing grinds my gears more than people who dismiss the difficulty and intellectual rigor of sales. Building rapport, deciding which sales approach to use, and keeping consumer trust are all key skills in sales. And, I’ve seen more than a few people who simply can’t develop these skills, regardless of how much training they receive. Not everyone is a natural born salesperson!
As a more mature and seasoned salesperson, there’s no way that I would take this type of BS from a manager, but as a newbie I just didn’t know any better. After all, there are plenty of sales jobs out there!