Advice: "My sales manager is pushing me to be overly aggressive on the phone, and it's costing me deals"

Want to submit a question and be featured in our advice column? Click here. (Don't worry, you'll remain completely anonymous).

Dear Quota Team

I sell to SMBs, so, needless to say, my job involves a lot of cold calling. I've worked here for just over a year and have been mostly in the middle-of-the-pack, but I'm still new to sales and have been pretty happy with my growth. I'm always trying to get better. A few months ago I got transferred to another team and have a new sales manager who keeps pushing me (and the entire team) to be extremely aggressive in our cold-calling and our follow-up with prospects who show even a tiny bit of interest.

I've been doing what I'm told, but it has led to me getting screamed at and cussed out by prospects A LOT. I'm selling basically the same product at the same company, just in a different segment. I wasn't getting anywhere near this much resistance from prospects in my previous role. Getting verbally abused on the phone every day sucks. I was able to suck it up for a while, but doing it day in and day out is starting to take a toll.

More importantly, I feel like these aggressive tactics are actually hurting my chances to close deals. I feel like by being so aggressive/pushy in my follow ups that I'm losing deals I could have easily won. I also think that there's no way that this type of aggressive selling isn't hurting the overall company brand image. I want to bring this up to my manager but I don't know how. I don't want to seem weak or like a complainer. I also don't want him to think that I think I know better than he does. All I know is I can't keep this up much longer — for both my mental health and my wallet, as I'm not earning as much as I was before I got transferred. What should I do?

Frustrated in the Northeast


Dear Frustrated,

Two things:

  1. Sales is hard. Rejection doesn’t feel good, neither does being treated rudely by prospects, but it’s all part of the game. It’s the reason why sales reps can make so much money — if it was easy, then everybody would be making six figures in sales. Your current role just happens to be structured in such a way where there’s a high volume of outreach and (naturally) a high rejection rate. Short of leaving, there’s nothing you can do about that. Focus on what works, and try to do more of that, insomuch as you can given your company’s requirements. 
  2. The real issue seems to be that your sales manager is pushing you hard to do things that you think are actually making you lose winnable deals. You’re not the first rep this happened to and you won’t be the last. Of course, you can try talking to him about it, perhaps even ask for a bit of leeway to try things your way for once. But before you do this, make sure you’re prepared to have a target on your back, lose your job, or to get laughed out of the room. And, of course, if things are that bad and you don’t see them getting any better, you can start looking for a new job. Good luck! 

You might also like

Everything sales, straight to your inbox.

Sign up for The Quota, a fun, free weekly newsletter for salespeople and sales leaders -- from the people who brought you Sales Humor.

Thanks for subscribing! Just one more step!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.