Salespeople make up a complex sector of the professional space, don’t they? More often than not, they’re part of a team, yet they naturally compete against one another. Most are genuine and charismatic, yet the stereotype surrounding them is less than flattering. Though authentic enthusiasm is a key ingredient for great sales talent, at times, the field can be challenging to say the least and at times quite disheartening.
It goes without saying that not everybody is cut out to work in sales or truly understands their sales potential. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that a sales leader have the necessary skills to motivate and inspire while getting the most from their staff.
So, with such a key responsibility, what exactly does a trustworthy, dependable sales leader look like? Having worked under, been one myself, hired and recruited many of them, I have a fairly reliable opinion on what works and what doesn’t. When it comes to sales leaders, part of the recipe for success is to ensure they bring the following to the table:
1) They’re Resolute In the Face of Opposition
Call it courage, boldness or tenacity, I don’t care—whatever the case, your sales leaders will need to remain resolute in the face of opposition. From sales slumps and unhappy customers to clunky pitches and goals that fell by the wayside, the last thing those following their leader will want to see is fear or uncertainty. The best sales leaders know exactly what success looks like, and it’s their mission help others find it, as well.
2) They’re Tough, but Empathetic
In the business world, when people think of managers, they think of confident, fast-talking leaders with little time for a lack of perfection. While confidence and urgency can certainly be seen as positives, there’s yet another skill which trounces both in importance—empathy.
Empathy is the ability to relate to the feelings of another. Sales is an emotional rollercoaster. When leaders are able to get their hands dirty in the details to listen and understand the situation, take the time to teach struggling salespeople according to their abilities, improvement is quickened and results improve. It’s a simple concept, but one that few sales managers are able to embrace.
3) They Regularly Express Appreciation
There’s a difference between sharing words of praise and those of appreciation. Too much of a good thing, can be a bad thing. This is often the case with praise. Given too frequently, and they lose their power to uplift, inspire and motivate.
On the other hand, appreciation is different. Offered up frequently, expressions of appreciation are also able to uplift, inspire and motivate, but they’re less linked to results, and more to the people who receive them. Making sales on a routine, predictable basis is hard work. As such, the best sales leaders regularly express appreciation to people who work tirelessly for them.
4) They Promote Unity and Communal Power
Salespeople are naturally competitive. Each and every day, they’re actively competing against industry rivals, other sales units, like-minded teammates and even themselves. Competition is great, but with so much of it going on, it’s often hard to develop a culture of unity in the workplace.
Expert sales leaders pay this no mind, opting to bringing individual salespeople together, instead of pitting them against each other. This is difficult, but leading by example, when a manager makes this a priority, others follow suit.
Needless to say, as far as sales are concerned, the sales leader role is one of the most vital. Using each of the above as a guide of sorts, you’re bound to make the right hire. But enough about my thoughts—what’s on your mind?
Getting away from what I’ve already shared, what else do you consider essential when hiring a new sales manager? In the comments section below, share your recruitment secrets with the rest of my LinkedIn readers. Until then, thanks for reading!
Note, this was originally written on LinkedIn