I remember the not so distant “good old days” when I made sure that I was home every Sunday night to watch one of my favorite shows. You would have to be from Mars to not know of or remember the HBO hit show The Sopranos which featured an inside look at some of the “alleged” New Jersey mob figures.
I know it seems like this is a product of the twisted mind of a sales consultant who has been on the road for a few weeks too long. But one evening while watching a re-run of the show, I began to think hmmm…
What if Tony Soprano was your sales manager ?
I realize that there “Is No Mafia” as every Italian family member has told me so passionately. I also know that crime doesn’t pay in the long run and by all means I don’t wish to glorify any illegal enterprise, but let’s face facts. Business is business. So in that spirit, let’s think about what would happen if “T” was guiding you on your path to sales success.
I wonder how he would address these sales challenges?
1. Sales Person tells Tony that he lost a sale and that he is depressed. – ” Business is business. ” He would say, “ Feh-get about it ! “ I think he would also add, “What’s wit you ? Work is no place to get your needs met, so stop your whining and get back to being the earner ( Person who brings the boss the money each week ) you’ve always been for me capisce ? “ ( Do you understand ? )
2. Sales Person Wants Tony To Lower The Price To Get The Job – I think “T” wouldn’t put up with that one for sure. He would probably say something like, “ Whoa, ( The reaction that any guy from New Jersey has when he is surprised by what he hears ) what do you think I am Fort Knox ? Grow some stugots (testicles) and learn how to handle objections before I have some friends of ours ( Other people in the mob ) visit you (Harm you in some way) and take you for a swim. ” ( Throw you in the ocean off the back of my boat “Stugots” with cinder blocks chained around your ankles. )
3. Sales Person Asks For Loan To get Them By Until Next Paycheck – Ouch, I can barely stand to watch this one. “ Hey what are you oobatz ? ( Are you crazy ? ) What am I a shylock ? (Loan shark) Maybe if you wasn’t such a mortadella, (derived from an Italian sausage, meaning a loser. As in ” Guy’s a mortadella. “ ) you could provide for your family by getting some referrals from your customers and stop acting like such a cafone. ” (a peasant or lower-class person)
4. Sales Person Blames Lack of Sales On the Weather – “ This thing of ours ( The business of the mob ) only works if you work it. I don’t care if it’s caldo (cold) or boliente (hot) outside. Stop acting like your mezzo morta (Half dead) and just bring your tribute (The money) in like we agreed or I’m gonna have to lower your points (change your commission percentage) and do some spring cleaning (Get rid of evidence that you ever existed) around here.
Would Tony Soprano Succeed?
Actually, I think Tony would have some good attributes along with his obvious dysfunctions as a manager. His organization values revolve around ” taking care of our own “ which indicates his loyalty to giving people a chance as long as they are loyal and give their best effort.
I think that Tony understands perfectly clear that even though you may be a “ made man “ that your crew can still make or break you.
Also, Tony would do a great job of delegating responsibility, distancing himself from the action and not meddle in how the sausage gets made just so long as it gets made. In fact he could literally watch the sausage get made as he sat outside the Pork store with Pauly and the gang, but instead he is found sipping a coffee and relaxing while others do the work.
Even though this article was written tongue in cheek, you as an underboss (Sales Manager) can still learn a few lessons.
Remember, col tempo la foglia di gelso diventa seta. ( An old Italian saying meaning, “Time and patience will change the mulberry leaf into satin.”)
Ciao, ciao for now !