Another rant post of mine….If you have spent any appreciable amount of time in sales and/or have had a variety of sales managers then I’m sure you have come across some of these. They might sound encouraging or helpful but let’s peel back the first thin layer of the onion here.

“Start Doin’ It.”

This phrase is used when the sales executive isn’t performing up to expectations. I was told this genius phrase a few times by my sales manager when I was in my mid 20’s and selling for a major electronics and home furnishings ‘superstore’. It went something like this: “Mark, look…you’re falling behind in sales. We need you to ‘start doin it’. Because if you’re not doin it now we will start to wonder when you’re gonna start doin’ it”.

This completely useless form of sales coaching is not only insulting but doesn’t accomplish nor teach anything! As if this was some form of grand motivation where the employee tells their boss in reply: “Yes! I understand now! I need to ‘start doin it! Thanks for the tip boss!”

Thanks for NOTHING is more like it. Sales managers need to take accountability for their jobs and recognize their employees’ strengths and weaknesses. They need to be a coach and not a threat nor deliver vague messages that communicate nothing.

“You need to go after the low hanging fruit.”

Yes! The proverbial ‘low hanging fruit!’ As if there were an abundance of deals everywhere for you to close and you’re either somehow too lazy to go after them or too stupid to realize they’re out there for the taking. Sure. This is yet another phrase that makes me want to slit my wrists when I hear it. All kidding aside, depending on what it is you’re selling there sometimes is low hanging fruit. From my experience however, there usually isn’t any at all. This low hanging fruit is mentioned either because management is out of touch with their industry and require a reality check of sorts in terms of one or more of the following:

  • The real difficulty in finding opportunities
  • Your company is late to the game in your industry
  • Management has no clue on what a sales cycle really is for your market.

If you liked these first two then you’re going to love this next one:

“You need to close more deals”

Ah yes….the “You need to close more deals” coaching. Although very similar to the “Start doin it” phrase this one actually tells you specifically what you need to do -and that’s close more deals! As if the employee will respond with “No kidding?? I need to close more deals! I had no idea it was so simple!”

Beyond ridiculous! Can you imagine a hockey coach of a major league team telling a player “Hey dude, let’s have a chat. We’ve been watching your games and we need you to…uh…score more goals, ok?” (Although I have heard that this was the actual extent of coaching for my hometown Maple Leafs some years back). If this is really the extent of that team’s coaching skills then good luck in making it to the playoffs!

If you’re getting these useless phrases thrown at you then it’s your right to challenge your management (or whoever is throwing these at you) and ask WHAT SPECIFICALLY you should be doing to perform better. Now, the answer will usually be things like:

  • You need to make more cold calls
  • It doesn’t matter so long as what you’re doing works.
  • You go ahead and do whatever it is that you need to do to make this happen.

Again, you’re not really being told ANYTHING. It’s because your company has no sales strategy and it’s a case of the blind leading the blind. So you know what your next question needs to be….

What is our company’s SALES STRATEGY!??

I invite you to send me any responses you hear to this question and I’ll be posting them for everyone to read someday soon!


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