Sales “Tough Guy” Problem

Sales has an interesting legacy culture. It’s a “tough guy” culture. I still see it lingering around.

mean-bossIt works like this. You get your quota and you make it. Period.

The “tough guy” culture doesn’t allow for business discussion on the reality of the quota or how it was derived. It’s not open to industry or environmental impacts. It basically says; if your a real sales guy, if you’re a good sales guy then you’ll make your number and if you can’t, you aren’t and we’ll find someone who is.

The “tough guy” culture celebrates the person who makes their number, regardless of how they make it.

The problem with the “tough guy” culture is important information doesn’t make it back to home base. Customer feedback is buried, for fear of not looking tough. Product enhancements are not shared, because a “tough guy” can sell it anyway. The impact of a competing product is dismissed, because a “tough guy” can sell against his competitors. An unsatisfied customer . . . who cares, I sold them something.

“Tough guy” cultures are aggressive and cut throat. They aren’t a fun place to work. Little emphasis is put on the customer, or the product. It’s all about pushing sales.

It’s an old culture. It seems to be dying, but it’s a slow death. There are fewer companies with a “tough guy” culture today, but many companies are still holding on to parts of it.

The “tough guy” culture creates a big wake. A wake of unsatisfied customers, inconsistent sales, and high sales turnover.

The “tough guy” culture used to work when information was hard to come by. When those who controlled the information had an advantage. In today’s open, social internet world, a “tough guy” wake can kill you.

How much of the “tough guy” culture is in your organization? Get it out.

As my dad used to say; “It’s not about being the toughest, but the smartest”

Build a “smart guy” culture, it’s what today’s information world demands.

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