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5 Principles of Tightrope Walking for Better Management Under Pressure

Walking a tightrope as a sales managerWalking a tightrope as a sales managerHighwire tightrope walking is one of the most amazing spectacles you can ever watch. How do they stay calm with so much pressure on them? There are a few basic rules they follow and they all apply to the art of high performance sales management.
Any kind of management position is stressful, but sales managers in particular carry added pressure in in that the company is looking to them to deliver critical revenues and profits. On top of this, sales managers are accountable for the morale of the sales team, making sure reps hit the numbers, and keeping the bottom from falling out of the company.

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As a result, sales managers are consistently under intense pressure from their own management, from employees, and from competition to stay on top of the game. There are many sales managers out there who have trouble maintaining a valued leadership under that kind of scrutiny and some become emotional or lose control.
Here are some principles of tightrope walking that sales leaders can use to stay composed and in control when under pressure.

1. Know Your Environment. High performance tightrope walkers will study the area surrounding them prior to an event. Are there winds, drafts, or distractions? Same goes for successful sales leaders. Never, ever walk into a meeting with a boss or senior executive  without all if not more data and insight than you will need. You can never be overprepared. If numbers are involved, come with them. You will have more credibility and will be taken more seriously. Arguing that the company could earn or prevent financial loss over time by implementing your proposed sales techniques is best believed if you have the numbers.

2. Sense the Elements. Tight-rope walkers are constantly checking the winds and elements so they can adjust. The same goes for successful sales leaders. People who are passionate about their ideas and want to see them embraced may experience challenges if they have a hard time listening to the viewpoints of others. Successful leaders leverage all the viewpoints around them before making critical decisions,

3. Don’t Let the Wind Knock You Down. Many sales managers feel committed to a singular vision about the most effective ways of running their sales teams. As tight-rope walkers know, the wind dictates your body position and similarly the way you move forward will always be up to the boss.

If your ideas are discarded, learn not to take it personally. Keep a level head while you’re under pressure – even if you’re passionate about your ideas, don’t push it after a rejection. Work with your boss rather than fight him or her.

4. Keep Moving Forward. When the rope wobbles, tight-rope walkers instinctively know to keep moving forward. If you’re having a debate with your own boss and the discussion gets off track, you can take control and tactfully focus the discussion on the sales goal.

If you’re interested in having your ideas heard and taken seriously, particularly when you’re under pressure, don’t put yourself into a situation where you let the meeting get off track.

5. Keep Your Head Up.  Looking at one’s feet is the surest path to failure for tightrope walkers. Balance requires keeping your head up and looking forward. Many sales managers fail under pressure because they aren’t able to respond to a question or concern quickly enough. What happens when it looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about? You’re not taken seriously, and your contributions are undervalued. Be prepared when you walk into a meeting – not just with relevant figures, but with an answer to every question that could be thrown at you – and then some.

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Connect:

Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.

He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.

Connect:

Eliot Burdett
Connect:

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting

Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless. Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner. He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.