The ‘Dreaded’ Sales Meeting – Time to Talk Results!

There is nothing in this world as embarrassing as sales meeting when you don’t have your numbers! You might  as well be naked!  If you sold long enough, you know this feeling.  Read on….


As a first year sales rep I never looked forward to the dreaded sales meeting. As always, unit results would be reviewed early on in the meeting and my production, which was severely lacking, would stand out like a sore thumb. The sales meetings were also tough because the unit was not doing well, not to mention that my production “sucked”.

In front of the other sales reps, the regional sales manager, and God, they focused on the results for the month.  Quite frankly, it was ugly, I felt as if the world, and everyone in it was looking at me when they read the results.

I don’t have to go much deeper into this story as I think you get the picture.  This scene plays out in sales meetings across the globe, and will continue to do so. It may be lessened with ‘virtual’ sales meetings, but the feeling is the same.   Poor results, for even a portion of the year, affect you in the form of embarrassment and performance hampering stress.

Motivator? Yes or No?

No one wants to surrender to this condition.  Is it a motivator?  Can you use this to increase your energy level and effectively change your situation? Your ability to deliver job saving, high-level results can be at risk when you put up your defenses, or even retreat because of this condition.

There are better, more effective ways to be motivated. See Black Sales Journal Getting Motivated – What Motivates You?Just maybe it is one of those items that has a life of its own.  It might just be part of the landscape of sales that will always be with us.

Does this act as a motivator?  It probably does.  Black sales professionals consistently battle with the perception that they will have difficulty in the corporate sales world, and the bright lights of the sales meeting seems to have the effect of amplifying that if they are having some sales difficulty.  You cannot only succeed; you can make money and enjoy the spoils of a good job.  Don’t let anyone tell you differently.  If you are good, you only need to survive the difficult periods.

What Can You Do?

No one wants to be embarrassed by disappointing sales numbers.  If you are in sales for a long period of time, it will happen to you and often it is just situational, a matter of timing which will solve itself at some point.  No matter whether short or long lived, there are some things that you might want to consider:

  • Look Confident – as if you know it is going to change.  If your co-employees and management can tell you are embarrassed by your performance, your customers will be able to tell also.
  • Sit Up Straight and Relax - Body language is important
  • Your Face Tells a Story – your expressions will make you transparent
  • Bide Your Time - You will live through this…there are others just like you in the room
  • Be Productive – Understand what others are doing to get results. I know, this does not solve the pain, but this is the only way to make sure that you won’t have the embarrassment in subsequent sales meetings.
  • Thicken your skin – As best you can, harden your exterior as you are in the most measurable occupation out there and you will continue to be measured by your peers, your management, and yourself.

The Shoe on the Other Foot

To be sure, there are some things that you will not be able to control, and this is one of them.  Practice on your ‘poker face’, and recognize this is a ‘place in time’ and with good work ethic and some good luck, things will change.

Think about what happens when the fortunate ones that do have great sales results ‘spike the ball’ in the sales meetings as opposed to taking a nod of the head and accepting praise.  We know that this happens, and it can be embarrassing as well.  When you do sell remember to act like you have been in the end zone before.

Above all, always be prepared.  It is natural to have pride in what you do.  If the numbers are not there, it can be a fleeting moment.  You will get over any embarrassment and move forward.

Your comments are appreciated.

Are You the Next Sales Manager?

It is a great job, and someone has got to do it!  Sales management is one of the best and most important jobs in any organization.  How do you land this important position?  What tools is your employer looking for?  What do you have to do to stand out?

This job, which is the logical ‘next step’ is sought after by those that realize that there is more to a career than money, although the job pays well.  This job is an important ‘gateway’ to the management ranks in your organization.  Knowing the customer as well as you do gives a leg up to sales managers when other jobs open up in an organization if they perform well.


The role of sales manager was one of the most rewarding positions I ever worked.  To be able to bring fresh new sales talent into an organization was always exciting.  To make the moves to mold an existing sales unit into a conglomeration of individuals who reached and exceed sales goals with regularity was exciting as well.

The patience and determination that job required was amazing, while at the same time, it required one to quickly see thought the mud while pressing for accountability from sales the professionals.

It is a fact that sales managers, if they are solid in all aspects of management, make good managers in total.  They understand the customer better that others as well as the process of business development.

Even more important is the reality that the Black sales professional, even when moderately successful in sales, should consider a pitch for that important sales management job.  We will touch on that in this post.

Being prepared, and having the tools is important.  Let’s discuss some of the ways that you can be prepared for the opportunity.

The Most Important Tools for Sales Management

There are requisite skills for every job out there, and that is true for the job of sales manager as well.  Most sales managers are given a first assignment in a field unit, then increasing responsibility as District Sales Managers, Regional Sales Managers, and Vice Presidents of Sales.

Someone with responsibility for an operation, such as a General Manager, will want in their employ someone who does not resort to excuses or finger pointing at other units.  They need someone who understands the sales process.  I listed some of the skills and attributes that individuals responsible for operations look for when they seek a leader for a sales unit:

  • Leadership
  • Coach and Trainer
  • Visionary
  • Team Builder
  • Motivator

Now, couple these with the fact that you also want these attributes in the leader of your sales unit:

  • Intelligence
  • Responsibility and Integrity
  • Mental Toughness
  • Accountability

If you can get these items, in various amounts, even with need for improvement, you can be an effective manager.

Do you have these skills?  If you have them, have you been able to demonstrate them? These are important questions as this is where you can make a difference.

Let’s Take A Closer Look

Leadership - This most important attribute can be demonstrated by your accepting responsibility in meetings, projects, breakout groups, and other assignments.  Don’t be in the “everyone else took a step back” situation.  Step to the front and claim the role as a leader.

Coach and Trainer – This is an important role for a sales manager, so to the degree that you can demonstrate it, you will show initiative and skill.  Best suggestion; mentor other sales professionals in your organization.  Nothing works better than another professional saying that you helped with his or her career.  You also learn in the process.

Visionary – This is an attribute more than a skill, yet totally necessary in the sales management realm.  I speak of it in Black Sales Journal, March 7, 2010, Be The Consummate Professional. It is what happens when you know what you are doing well as a professional, and knowing your organization, and are able to determine ways processes or products can be done better.  It is foreseeing the change before it is necessary.

Team Builder – This one you can do, and are probably doing already.  Now, remember why it is important … Sales professionals are used to being mavericks.  They are used to a “zero sum” game, “I win, or you win, we both don’t win.”  The ranks of sales is not stocked with team builders, you can stand out from those that are faking it.

Motivator – It might be hard to prove your level of skill on this one.  You can show energy, enthusiasm, as well as drive in interacting with your manager and others.  They must see you as being able to provide an atmosphere of motivation that will benefit others.

Intelligence – This one is one that cannot be faked.  You need to have the basic intelligence to run the business of distributing the company’s product.  They will not give you an aptitude test, yet they will look at everything you have done lately, and how you handled it.  Do you understand business functions, and can you think “on the fly?”

Responsibility and Integrity – I put these two together for a reason. These, as is intelligence, are reasons that professionals don’t get into sales management.  If you are whiney, and complaining, even when you are correct, you will not get there.  If you “fudge” on expense reports, and the only reason that actions are not taken are that they cannot prove you did, you will not get there.  Show responsibility and always exude integrity, and you will be looked on favorably.

Mental Toughness and Balance – You cannot be a sales manager if you don’t exude mental toughness.  You cannot be down one day and up the next.  It does not work that way when you are responsible for others.  Know that the “sun will come up tomorrow” in everything you do.  Know the law of large numbers and be able to teach it to others.

Accountability – Be accountable, and be able to expect it from others.  Avoid excuses, and always know your role, your goals, and everyone else’s.  Accountability is the rule in management, and even more in sales management.

How You Can Get Prepared?

If you are Black, you recognize that Blacks are underrepresented in sales.   It suffices to say that they are well underrepresented in sales management.  We, frankly have woeful numbers in the sales management ranks.

The way to have more Black sales managers is to perform well and formulate and implement strategies that make you successful.  Black Sales Journal can help you in that regard.   Perform well as sales professional, and strategize as to the best time to make the move to management.  The positions come up when managers retire, get promotions, or are terminated.

That means you need to draw up ‘your own’ succession plan for your organization.  How long does your managers, or his or her peers have to work before promotion, retirement, or termination?  Who is your competition, and what do they have as their attributes as compared you?  Show your motivation, always increase your knowledge, and above all, do everything you do with integrity.

You will get your chance to show your  preparation and you qualifications.  Don’t waste it.  Always be prepared!

We welcome your comments.