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Real Life Sales Managers from Hell

Got a lousy sales manager? Not to worry. No matter how bad things are, they could be worse. A lot worse. This post contains a gallery of the worst sales managers of all time -- as contributed by Sales Machine readers. I've provided some polls, so that you can vote on your favorites. (BTW: the last manager in the gallery is the proverbial doozy.)

READERS: EMAIL ME YOUR "MANAGER FROM HELL" STORY and I'll add it to the gallery!

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The Stalker
When one of his reps questioned him about an account that she should have gotten credit for, he began stalking her. He would drive by her house and take pictures with his camera phone as evidence that she wasn't working. The worst part? He parked outside of her 9 year old son's school (ostensibly to observe her picking him up after school during work hours). You've got to wonder about a grown man that will park outside a school watching small children and taking pictures. The rep quit 2 weeks later. (Contributed by lynn.simmon)


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The Hypocrite
We had these "leadership" meetings every morning where we went through leadership DVD's and did the entire workshop. In every point of leadership, our manager was either weak or did the exact opposite. We were forced to have a 30 to 45 min. discussion on how "we" could apply the lessons that we learned. Having to listen to him espouse these ideas and techniques was funny at first and then absolutely frustrating. (Contributed by Zimm01)


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Mr. Know-It-All
My company recently hired a sales manager who has been with us before but quit to go to competitors. Even though it's been six years since he worked for us, he already knows everything! You can't ask a question or he'll tell you you're suffering from short-term memory loss. You can't ask him anything in front of a prospect that even remotely infers that he doesn't know what he's talking about or he'll just clam up or walk out! He's arrogant, he's sarcastic and he's the ultimate control freak. (Contributed by lynn.simmon)


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The Great Demotivator
I had a boss who forced the reps to push unsellable products into the channel to pump up sales figures, but he kept giving the team "motivational" talks that bordered on the psychopathic. One time he told us that they should "get out there and rape and pillage and leave no wounded." I'm a woman, so that particular motivational angle didn't exactly motivate me. (Contributed by my Mom!)


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Mr. Unavailable
I live and work in Chicago and at one time worked for a NY company and had a NY-based Sales Manager. At the end of each day I had to phone in, from the Chicago office, and give a detailed report on that days sales activities, . The scheduled time was 5 p.m., but most days he was busy, so I would have to call back on the half-hour until he was available to talk to me. He would not call me, I had to call him and hope that he was free. For about 3 weeks I did this, many evenings not making contact until after 7 p.m., having a 30 minute conversation and then going home. (Contributed by mcdonaldj)


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The Screaming Seductress
I used to work in a fairly young outside sales organization, which means that we frequently went out for a few too many drinks after work. Once our regional manager came out with us and also had a few too many. She must be one of those friendly drunks, because she proceeded to makeout with, dance on, and hug all of the male sales people. We finally sent her home in a cab after she face-plowed in the middle of the bar. Throughout the weekend she got wind of her obnoxious behavior, so to redeem herself, she yelled and screamed at the entire sales force for making up stories about her at the Monday sales meeting. (Contributed by kprizy)


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The Mad Micromanager
His idea of selling included providing a daily log that detailed who we talked to or visited, the length of the visit, what was said. . .you get the idea. He would ask us to execute to a plan, and then send emails with conflicting directions. If you questioned him in any way he considered it "insubordinate." Talking to anyone above him on the corporate food chain was the equivalent of mutiny. At one point he issued a written instruction that we were to no longer speak to anyone who ranked above him, "I am where the buck stops here." He actually sat in his office with the door closed and sent emails to staff who were literally no more than 15 feet outside his door. (Contributed by hsteck-yeaton)


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The Kamikaze Pilot
I went on a sales call with a previous sales manager to visit our largest customer. We were struggling with deliveries and putting his monthly, quarterly, and eventually annual revenues at risk due to our inability to do what we said we would do. So, here I am looking at Mr. Slick and expecting him to back me up in my explanation of the changes we were implementing to make things right. Instead, he literally stood up, put both hands on the table, leaned over, and said, "Where else are you gonna go? Who else can you get to build this?" I believe that my chin may have actually hit the floor. It took the customer less than a month to find someone else to build his product. (Contributed by hsteck-yeaton)


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The Family Guy
Every month, sales reps competed for Sales Rep of the Month The person who won this title almost every month just happened to be the daughter of the owner of the company who happened to also be the wife of the sales manager. It never failed that one day before the end of the month, she suddenly made the highest sales. The sales manager made a big deal about congratulating her, passing out her prize money at sales meetings and company meetings, with her name on a plaque. By contrast, the rep with the lowest rep was awarded a plastic chicken that he had to carry to every meeting. (Contributed by ninagilmour)


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The Bathroom Monitor
My boss, who managed the cash management operation for a large San Francisco bank, would wait until one of the guys in the group would head to the bathroom. Then, while the poor unsuspecting guy was standing in front of the urinal, he would run in, wave his arms, and shout at the top of his lungs, "Bill, why aren't you out on calls?" This experience was so terrifying that many of the men in the group took to taking the elevator to other floors when they had to use the bathroom. (Contributed by belitch)


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The Nasty Nicknamer
Our district manager was in the early stages of Turrets Syndrome, and - when under stress - prone to sudden, emotional outburts...in front of his direct reports and clients. Once, while on a sales call with me that turned out poorly, he challenged the prospect to a fist-fight. He regularly coined negative nicknames for sales people who were struggling ("No Sale Jones"), and used them openly in front of the group; He also coined vulgar phrases for selling strategies and tactics, and expected the group to use them during training meetings. (Contributed by jay.james)


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The Moonlighter
Our new general took the laziest, biggest time wasting employee, who has already left the company once for another job, and makes her our sales manager. She spends the majority of every work day selling her candles for her home business (her mommy biz!) or on the phone with her mom or husband. She is outside sales, but is in the office as much as inside sale or even the receptionist for that matter. (Contributed by EO_classifieds)


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The Exhibitionist
My boss has a weight problem (he's a big, big boy) and yet he entertains us, almost every day, by wearing into work elastic banded short shorts. Hence when he sits in a chair away from his desk, we are all treated (his secretary especially appreciates this) to the sight of the silhouette - in full blossom, shall we say - of his "testicular pendula." It was basically The Full Monty without the Broadway songs. His secretary is thinking of doing an "Oedipus" and blinding herself with pins.


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