Being a sales manager means not being restricted in any aspect of our business. To understand the breadth of what the position requires is to comprehend that everything seen, touched or spoken of determines whether sales will be good or not.
People are the most important ingredient. Not just those whose job it is to sell but each and every employee that has even marginal contact with those who enter onto our properties. A security guard, a grounds worker, a clerical or accounting member of our staff will impact the emotional response that defines the experience by those who are within or out of our gates.
Some employees believe they are not obligated to insure respectful and modulated responses. A grounds worker encountering hostility over tractor imprints on a grave, missing flowers from a vase, leaf accumulation that is unattractive, or insisting upon space to perform a burial can be an ambassador of good will or the foundation for resentment. The image conveyed is never limited to the one employee or occurrence but is a broad brush that colors the entire institution.
A sales manager is involved in construction and landscape planning, vendor selection, aesthetics, employee hiring and firing, training, finances, advertising, marketing, community relations and involvement in the lives of those we serve. The great sales manager wears every hat in the house because that is who and what he is. Some may consider him to be putting his nose where it does not belong not understanding that the job demands nothing less.
Our profession is staid in many ways. Innovation, motivation and excitement are not assets widely accepted by General Managers whose expectations of the Sales Manager are to meet the budget. Selecting a person who wears all the hats needed to guarantee success may not be the best choice for these GM’s. They prefer continuity believing in stability not realizing that by doing so they are forcing their business to fall behind losing eventually to competitors.
Reviewing the classifieds Sales Managers seem to be in great demand. Yet I wonder if this reflects hiring those who are either unable to perform or failing to truly accept what we expect a Sales Manager to be. Perhaps the fault lies in those who do the hiring. Not knowing oneself or what is sought always leads to misfortune for all.
Being a Yankee fan for my entire life I point out that firing Joe Torre because he did not win the Series yearly missed the fact that every year under his leadership they made the playoffs.