Why You Want Your Sales Manager to Ride Along

You can’t see your own swing. Because this is true, some of the best feedback you can get will come from someone who is observing you making a sales call. Because they are there with the intention of observing with the idea of providing constructive criticism, and not responsible for making a call, they can offer you suggestions and choices to help you sell better.

My first real sales manager went on calls with me. We had review meetings on the sidewalk after the call as we were walking to the car. He was able to share with me the things that I hadn’t noticed. Things such as leading with things that didn’t matter to the client, but that I was familiar with enough to talk about intelligently. Later he taught me that I didn’t need any resources in a sales call with me, even when presenting a solution. Before that, I was dependent on presentations and proof providers. I became more conversational as a result of having him observe my calls.

In one case, while I was working for a particular company, I was required to have a prospective client agree to allow me to videotape myself making the sales call. You will not do anything that makes you feel worse than watching yourself on video in a room full of your peers. And it wasn’t all that easy to find a prospect willing to allow me to videotape the conversation either.

What’s important is to ensure your sales manager knows that her role is to be an observer and to offer constructive criticism. By letting them know that you’re going to run the sales call, they can shift their focus to helping improve what you do in front of a client. Once you have this agreement, there are a few other things you still need to do.

You are going to have to explain to your client why your sales manager is with you and why they are not an active participant in the call. You’ll have to let them know that your sales manager is there to offer you feedback on how you might better perform your job of creating value for them. This doesn’t have to be awkward. You just have to let the client know that as part of your development your sales manager has agreed to join you to help offer you advice on how you can deliver greater value to your clients.

If there are areas you believe you need to improve, you may want to let your sales manager know this so they can assess how you do in that particular area. But you also want to be careful about making this decision until your sales manager has made a number of calls with you so you can discover the things about your swing that you can’t see for yourself.

If you want to get better faster, ask your manager to ride along on calls and to provide you with actionable feedback. Even if it can be uncomfortable, it speeds up your development.

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