Share this article

Limiting beliefs of sales managers - Prima Resource

As a sales manager, your daily concern is probably to make your team better, improve sales and increase overall performance. It’s a huge responsibility that requires considerable work sustained by strong coaching, motivational skills, as well as holding your representatives accountable.

Unfortunately, it’s possible that your efforts may not be as successful as you’d like. One reason sales managers don’t thrive as much as they’d like is their limiting beliefs. Some are related to sales, but others are strictly related to sales management.

Here are 4 beliefs that can hinder your effectiveness when managing your sales team.

1. My salespeople have to make presentations

In traditional sales practices, presenting is often considered an essential step in winning sales. In reality, especially if your team adopts a consultative sales approach, the classic presentation is not a required step in the sales process.

It’s difficult for managers to shed this belief because of their previous life as a representative. You probably conducted many presentations, and you were counting on them to close your sales.

How can you correct this belief?

  1. Review the sales process using a consultative approach that focuses on the real needs of potential customers instead of presenting your company, its products and services.
  2. Train your representatives to get them to ask more questions and listen instead of presenting.
  3. Stop providing presentation tools to your representatives!

2. I don’t need to know what drives my salespeople

Let me ask you this: Do you find that your salespeople’s motivation fluctuates? Do your different initiatives to motivate, have a limited sustainable impact?

If you’ve answered yes, ask yourself this question: Do I know what motivates each of my representatives?

If you don’t know precisely why each of your representatives shows up each day, you’re missing an essential piece of the puzzle when trying to motivate them to help them improve their performance.

If you think your representatives are working to earn their commissions or bonuses, it’s probably not the answer they would give you! Underlying the financial gain they seek is usually a desire to afford a family trip, a new kitchen, a vacation home, a new Ski-Doo, and so on.

How can you correct this belief?

  1. Meet with your representatives individually to understand their personal goals (objectives).
  2. Help your reps calculate the income they need to generate to achieve their personal goals.
  3. Monitor sales performance and meet regularly with each salesperson to review their sales objectives and the attainment of their personal goals.

3. I can’t let a representative lose a sale

Not all sales are good! A big deal doesn’t necessarily mean a good sale: some may not be profitable, others may bring in “toxic” clients. That’s the first part of the problem.

The second is that if a sales manager tries to save each rep and doesn’t let them lose sales, they’ll never learn to close their deals themselves. Sales managers tend to behave like a “good parent” and protect their reps from failure, but failure is necessary.

How can you correct this belief?

  1. Coach your representatives on lost deals.
  2. Let your representatives known that you’ll let them complete their sales process alone. You can offer them coaching during the process, but without directly interfering with the sale.
  3. Celebrate failures as much as successes.

4. I don’t need to elevate my sales team

Bringing up this limiting sales management belief usually strikes a nerve. Often, sales managers tend to think that they have to “settle” for the current level team and that everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are static. Even if sales managers are generally inclined to offer their team some ad hoc training, the commitment stops there.

No matter how good a sales team is, there’s always room for improvement. It’s usually a matter of willingness and knowing that you can have more!

The most significant problem is when a team is underperforming, but the sales manager isn’t aware of it. It happens more often than you’d think.

How can you correct this belief?

  1. Evaluate your sales force to get a clear idea of its strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Implement a program to develop critical sales skills and abilities.
  3. Recruit better salespeople than your current best salesperson.


I only addressed 4 beliefs that limit the effectiveness of sales managers, but there are many others. It’s important to understand that limiting beliefs are not synonymous with incompetence – they’re only blind spots. We’re generally unaware they exist and don’t understand their negative impact on our work.

Limiting beliefs offset the benefits of sales management skills, which is why it is critical to work on them to increase your effectiveness as a manager and that of your sales team.