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Sales Managers-Do you need to change the way you think about money?

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 5/8/19 8:00 AM

focusing on price

The ability to have in-depth financial conversations with buyers depends on how comfortable your team is discussing money. So how does the way that you think about money impact your sales management?



Do you believe that it’s impolite to ask people what something cost? Did your elders scold you when you were young when you asked someone how much money they made? This may have affected how comfortable you would be when discussing money as an adult.

Does a small amount of money seem like a lot to you? Are you in awe of prospects who say they have a lot of money to spend with you? Do you drop everything you are doing, ignore other “smaller” deals to spend all your time on this “big” deal? Do you pull your team off what they are doing to spend a lot of time on the perfect proposal?

These are all possible signs of a low money tolerance and you may find it uncomfortable to have an in-depth financial conversation with your salespeople.

When your salesperson pushes back that the product is too expensive, are you likely to agree with them? Instead of helping them focus on the value of solving the problem, do you focus on price?

When that happens, you aren’t able to find the real budget for a solution for three reasons:

  1. When you focus on price, you are not asking the right questions to make sure you understand the problem. To you, the problem is the price. You can understand that, it seems like a pretty high price to you too.
  2. Selling on price doesn’t put you or your salesperson in front of decision makers who can tell you what the real problem is and what the value of a solution to it is.
  3. The price of the solution doesn’t matter as much as the price of doing nothing. When you negotiate on price, you miss discussing what the cost of doing nothing is. Proposals and quotes are rejected or delayed as a result.

Symptoms of NOT being comfortable discussion money can include:

  • Not uncovering budget, or finding more budget
  • Discounting and price negotiations
  • Uncover the cost of the status quo
  • Find an ROI
  • Sell on value

And this is a real problem when 21% of sales managers are NOT comfortable discussing money, and 62% of salespeople are not.

For managers who are NOT comfortable discussing money, their team is 31% more likely not to be comfortable either.

Yet if a manger IS comfortable discussing money, their team is 78% more likely to be able to.

Why is talking about money such an issue?

Money is equated to status. If we don’t have enough of it, we fear that people will think we are a failure, or lazy. And if we do have money, we can also fear what people will think of us- that we are snooty or that we ripped someone off. This is why nearly half of Americans would rather talk about religion, sex, or politics before money.

As a manager, if you aren’t able to talk about money- it will also make helping your salespeople quantify their personal goals very difficult. Or it could be that you become the wet blanket to a salesperson motivational fires when they say they want to double commissions next year and you respond with “Well, let’s be realistic here.” Never say “if” to your salesperson, instead ask “how do you think you will do it?”

How do we get better at talking about money with our salespeople?

To get over our own money issues, we need to have more conversations about money. For your salespeople to get over their issues, they need to have more conversations about money. Therefore, have more conversations about money with your salespeople! Start small, How much is their rent? Where did they get those cool shoes they have and how much do they cost? What if they won the lottery, what would they do with their winnings? Why did they choose those things?

One way to start is by encouraging your salespeople to set financial goals. How much do they want to make this year? What will that enable them to do? What will they do with their bonuses?

When you are comfortable talking about money, your salespeople will be as well.

I even encourage the salespeople I coach to take financial literacy and planning classes. The more educated they are about how money works and how they can make it work for them- the less mystery and fear will be around the subject of money.

Topics: sales management, #livesalesmanagement