Sales Leadership vs. Sales Management vs. Sales Coaching

I've been at this game of sales management in the retail furniture industry for over 40 years now. I've seen the good, the bad, the ugly, and the great. So. at my advanced age, I want to pass along as much as I can through this Blog. Remember, the things I write here are matters of opinion, but no one can be absolutely positive about matters of opinion. Everyone has to fit any idea into their mental structure and philosophy of life - of how things should be. So, here goes...

I don't believe in "managing" people. I do believe in managing things, systems, non-human stuff that needs to be organized, controlled, counted, moved around, accounted for... like inventory or just plain old "stuff".

I believe in helping people, coaching them in the sense of sports coaching, leading them to success - teaching them how to "play the game", how to play their position, how to interact with team members, but remember, in the retail furniture business, in bricks-and-mortar stores, there is seldom, if ever, a "team" working with a customer. It's usually one-on-one selling - or maybe one salesperson and a couple, or a family, but there is seldom a "team" approach applied. In this regard, "team" means that group of people who work face-to-face with customers. It's singles tennis, not baseball.

People need to manage themselves. In work situations they need a structure, training, guidance, advice, a purpose (usually outside the workplace - like a family to support) or inside the workplace - the ability to succeed, to be respected and valued as a contributor to the success of the company and the "team" - and, most of all, to the quality of life for their customers. 

Salespeople need to have achievable goals for themselves, and a pathway to get there provided by the company - which, to me, is one of the purposes of the company - to help employees achieve their goals. I think the goals of the company should, and must be of equal importance as the personal goals for income and job satisfaction of the people who make up a company. And, for retail salespeople who go face-to-face with customers everyday on issues that affect peoples' homes and lives, achieving those goals is intimately connected to the company's success.

More on this next time.....