Sales Managers Should Be Like Physical Trainers

Physical TrainersI often ponder how being in sales is much like your own physical fitness. To be in good physical shape you need goals, you need discipline, and you need to make the right choices throughout the day – all of which lead a healthy lifestyle. This feels very similar to being in sales. That you need to have goals, discipline, and make the right choices about where and how you spend your time – all of which will lead towards closing more business.

Have you ever worked with a personal trainer to try and get yourself in better shape? Imagine if every time you met with your trainer they’d ask you:

  • How much do you weigh?
  • How does that compare to your goal?
  • How much will you lose this week?
  • How can I help?
  • Session over.

Then imagine that each week you went to the gym to meet your trainer, they only showed up about half the time, and when they did they were typically late. This would make for the worst physical trainer on the planet. You’d fire them within weeks, and they’d be out of business in no time.

So why do so many front line sales managers function in this same exact way? Think about it, and be honest with yourself: Do your one-on-ones with your salespeople sound kind of like that personal trainer who’s now out of a job?

  • How much have you closed this month?
  • How much more to hit your quota?
  • What’s in your pipeline that’s going to close this month?
  • How can I help?
  • Session over.

With an interaction like this, neither the sales manager or the salesperson are getting much value. And then what happens is the one-on-one starts getting missed, people show up late, don’t reschedule, etc. That’s not the kind of sales manager anyone wants to be.

So when you think about your role as a sales manager, think about how you can be more like a great personal trainer. A great personal trainer won’t just keep asking you to get on the scale and report how much you weigh. A great personal trainer will help you figure out a plan to achieving your goals. They’ll break it down to teach you the specific exercises you need to do, how you can modify your diet, encourage you to try things that are uncomfortable, and help hold yourself accountable week-after-week.

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