Managers: Here's Why You Shouldn't Always Be Right

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Managers: Here's Why You Shouldn't Always Be Right”

As the boss, it’s easy to get into the mindset that you’re always right. After all, you’ve encountered most of the problems your sales reps are experiencing. You can quickly give them direction and keep them on track.

That attitude might be successful when a sales rep comes to you with questions on a specific issue. There are times when you don’t want to come across as a know-​it-​all. Colleen Stanley points out a couple of important instances in a column that appeared on CustomerThink.

Performance Problems

When you hire sales reps, you’re looking for individuals who can hold their own in discussions and negotiations with prospects. You’re also probably hiring employees who show they are able to think creatively. These same individuals may give you some pushback when you try to coach them in difficult situations.

If you point out that they’re doing some things right, but aren’t close to making quota, they may answer, “Our prices are too high – we just aren’t competitive.” Before you know it, you might find yourself in a heated discussion. “Emotions, not effective coaching and influence skills, are running this well-​intended coaching session,” says Stanley. 

Turn Around A Difficult Discussion

As a manager, it’s your job to turn the discussion around.  Start by slowing down and remembering your goal in the conservation. Your desired outcome is to help your rep improve their performance. It’s not about you being right. Instead of insisting that you know what the rep should do next, ask questions. 

And then, listen. Are they frustrated? Are they discouraged?  If so, remind them of the many successes they’ve had in the past. Ask if they have any thoughts on what they’d like to do next with a challenging prospect. 

When you let go of the need to be right, you can focus on what your reps need. Once they experience success in their career, you’ll become a more effective manager.