I remember working for a great sales manager. He gave me a great deal of authority and the freedom to run my business the way I wanted. I took what he gave me and ran a thriving and successful business. Then he got a demotion and became a salesman and a competitor. That’s when things got ugly because he became jealous.
Leopards Don’t Change Their Spots
What made it more difficult for him to succeed as a salesman was that he didn’t want to work at it. He was a lazy salesman. You can be a lazy manager if you have good salespeople working for you. You might not be a good manager, but at least your numbers look good because others are doing the work for you. It’s not easy to be successful and lazy as a salesman.
His choice was to go after my business because he thought by bullying he could take easy sales from me.
Those who know me understand that I have a strong sense of right and wrong. He was wrong.
We both sold through distributors, and legally a distributor in our business could sell anywhere. One of my hardworking distributors, along with my help, was selling a lot of product. Unfortunately for my former manager and his distributor, my distributor’s business was coming from his distributor’s territory. Along with his distributor not getting new business from competitors, the distributor was losing his existing business to my hardworking distributor.
This lazy salesman took his losses out on me. He was jealous of my success.
He went to management to complain that my distributor was not allowed to sell where he was selling. He knew he was making a false claim, but that didn’t stop him. My argument was that the market needed to decide, not management.
I won the argument. He became more difficult to work with.
Use Jealousy to Promote Good Outcomes
You may work with other salespeople who are more successful than you are; you could become jealous of them. Instead of looking at their results, I want you to focus on something else.
What are these successful salespeople doing that is different than what you’re doing? How hard do these people work? What relationships are they building? What are they doing to build these relationships? What are they doing so that customers buy more, recommend them to others, and won’t consider switching to the competition?
You have a choice on how to respond when you notice others who are more successful than you are. You could become jealous and angry; you could think up strategies that cut corners and ultimately harm you and your reputation.
Or you could make another choice. Jealousy is good if it propels you to do better by working harder and smarter. It’s good if you’re humble enough to recognize that there are other people who are better than you.
Stop and think the next time you envy someone else’s sales success. That success could be yours, too, if you make the right choices.