Dave ‘Giff’ Gifford

I’m delighted to welcome a good friend and mentor of mine to the blog. I’ve know Dave Gifford for almost 20 years and I can honestly say his advice and systems set me on the path to whatever success I have had to date (and hopefully in the future!)

This is an excerpt from his ‘Giff’s graduate school for Sales Management which I have attended numerous times and have based an awful lot of my sales management theory and practice on!

See this article in its original form on Giff’s website and check out what he is up to and the innovative approach to sales management consultations he has these days.

Without further ado: The 20 commandments of Sales Management

(Revised excerpt from Giff’s Graduate Schools For Sales Management)

  1. Either you manage your Sales Execs (SE’s) or your SE’s manage you. You’re their boss, not their “buddy”.
  2. Management must be demanding, honest, consistent, supportive, and “judiciously” fair.
  3. Whereas managers push from behind, leaders pull from the front. Therefore, to manage by “example”, management’s job is to model the behavior management expects.
  4. As a manager you can lead, influence, inspire and activate, but you can not motivate anun-motivated SE. Face it, some people have an “inner urge” to succeed, others don’t, and motivation can not be internalized from an external source. Disagree? You’ve motivated many an unmotivated SE? Or, closer to the truth, was it because you were successful in activating the trigger mechanism of a self-motivated SE? You didn’t motivate them, you activated them!
  5. No two SE’s are alike. Effective communicators understand the differences between people’s backgrounds, motivations, lifestyles and “life stage” circumstances.
  6. Every conversation you have with an SE changes your relationship with that SE. However minimally, it either improves that relationship or sets in motion it’s deterioration. That’s how “fragile” the relationship can be between a sales manager and an SE.
  7. Fair to the company has to be fair to the SE. Fair to the SE has to be fair to the company. Never set up your SE’s to lose! Sales targets must be as realistic as they are challenging.
  8. Salespeople will not accept change, willingly, without their consent. Key word:willingly! You don’t manage change, you sell change!
  9. In addition to their ideas, recommendations & suggestions, solicit your SE’s opinions, perceptions, criticisms and grievances as well. Note: Cowards ignore that advice!
  10. Listen first, talk last! Anytime an SE complains about something, turn it around: “Fine, what is your solution?” Make it a Rule: “Come to me with solutions, not problems!”
  11. Recognition and praise are the real “Breakfast of Champions”! SE’s who feel good about themselves, sell better! Your management style should be made up of an equal mixture of “positive pressure” and “passionate praise”. What I call “Tough Love Management”: managing SE’s for their own good!
  12. No procrastinating! Poet Robert Frost said it best: “The best way out is always through.”
  13. No Train, No Gain! Your SE’s need to be known for what they know, not for what theydon’t know…recognized as professionals with a “unique expertise” for helping companies grow their Top Lines.
  14. Required “Standard of Performance” Criterion for SE’s: “Constant Progress”!
  15. A “mature” manager is only as tough as she/he has to be. Never reprimand an SE in public…private, 1:1, face-to-face meetings only. (without bullying!)
  16. Never be negative! Not about the company, not about its policies, not about its products, not about your boss…not about anything! Whereas managers can not motivate, managers can de-motivate. Further, an abusive memo is the hand-maiden of a coward.
  17. Share no “confidences”! Ben Franklin said it best: “Three people can keep a secret…if two of them are dead.” Also, steer clear of giving advice addressing an SE’s “personal” life.
  18. Let your daily mantra be, “Ladies and Gentlemen, inasmuch as you can give yourself a raise every day, you have more control over how much money you can make than anybody else in business. If you want more, you have to sell more! And the only way you are going to sell more is to make more presentations!”
  19. Never apologize for requiring SE’s to do what they agreed to do when they took the job!
  20. If you don’t hold your SE’s accountable, you’re not accountable!