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Mike Whitty

Mike Whitty Author, Trainer, Consultant

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One of the first things you become aware of as an Auto Sales Manager is that you have many roles to play. At various times (and often all the time) you are a time management supervisor, a meeting planner, a contest creator, a report generator, a talent scout, a disciplinarian, a coach, a salesperson, a customer service representative, a trainer and a psychiatrist. All of these roles, well executed, make for a great Sales Manager - one whose main purpose is to get the best out of his/her salespeople.

That is the bottom-line goal of every Sales Manager - to build a strong, confident, productive sales staff. It's not always an easy job, and their are many factors that block our success in that effort. Based on interviews I've had with many salespeople around the country, the following portrait of the Sales Manager everyone hates to work for was created.

Ever hear this horror story? A salesperson, little shakey about closing the deal, asks his Sales Manager if he'd come in for a T.O. The Manager, basically a lazy desk-type says, "If you can't close it, what makes you think I can", and continues leaning back in his chair. The salesperson makes a last effort, then escorts the customer to the door. The Manager then replies, "You are really weak. My mother could have closed that deal!".

Not only did the Manager lose any possibility of a sale, he lost all credibility with his salesperson. No doubt this salesperson will complain to everyone else in the dealership. A good Sales Manager, who truly cares about his/her people, and the dealership, would never make this kind of mistake. Which is not to say that great Sales Managers aren't infallible. It's just that if they do make a mistake, they're the first ones to admit it. Every salesperson when asked the type of Sales Manager he/she would like to work for, has the same thought: someone who is honest and upfront, who gives his all to the job and to his people, and who doesn't have time for blame or games.

Unfortunately, horror-story Managers do exist. Just so you'll recognize one if you ever run into a bad Manager, here are 10 most common characteristics of the Manager everyone hates to work for:

1. Low energy, low enthusiasm
Mr. Negative never gets excited about anything. He's unhappy with his job and shares this information freely. He's constantly depressed and so are his salespeople.

2. No vision
He sets no goals for himself or for his staff. He gives the salespeople one direction on Monday morning, and by Tuesday afternoon he's saying something completely different.

3. Willing to settle for average performance
He "doesn't have time" to work with salespeople or develop their potential. He doesn't expect much from his people, and he doesn't get much.

4. Takes credit for everything
This Manager's ego needs constant stroking. So ever success becomes his own, no matter how much or how little he had to do with it. He takes full credit for his salespeople's success.

5. A finger-pointer
When something goes wrong, he's the first one to point out who did it and what went wrong (unless the mistake was his). He is quick to point out the salespeople's shortcommings, and slow to offer any suggestions or solutions.

6. Glued to his desk
He always has paperwork to do and seldom gets out on the showroom floor. He is always telling his salespeople to get to work early and stay till the bell - but is not willing to do the same.

7. Cares more about getting his money then he cares about his people
He's more concerned about short-term results then the long-term success of his salespeople.

8. Lack of communication skills
He knows how to tell his salespeople what they did wrong, but doesn't know how to teach them to do it right. His listening skills have a lot to be desired, and his salespeople don't feel comfortable asking his advice.

9. Let's his friends stop pulling their weight
He has favorites in his department who take advantage of his friendship and get away with low activity and poor results, causing resentment and discontent among the other salespeople.

 10. Doesn't stand behind his team
He's only interested in impressing the dealer. He doens't realize that the success of the Sales Manager is in direct proportion to the success of his salespeople.

Fortunately, many Managers don't fit this profile. There are a lot of caring, supportive, enthusiastic team leaders in dealerships all over the world. I hope that you're one of them.

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