Published on May 18th, 2016
Being a leader is all about inspiring. Whether it's inspiring yourself, your coworkers and employees, or your clients. Success in sales is far less about what’s being sold and increasingly about how it’s sold -- by inspiring trust and confidence.
The best sales leaders create an exceptional sales experience that gets the complete buy-in not only from their prospects, but by their team, by conquering these three specific leadership areas:
The golden rule of sales should be “listen more than you speak.” Whether it’s listening to your customers, employees, or your teammates, your ears need to be open at all times.
Taking time to digest what’s being said will help you gain valuable insights into a multitude of things you may not have been aware of originally. Don’t just listen, but actually analyze what’s being said.
Often it’s also about what’s not being said. Take notice of silences and pauses in your conversation. These usually have some significant meaning. For instance, when you’re with a client, but you’re not getting enough questions that could mean they’re disengaged or disinterested.
Take a step back to observe what the problem might be and address it. Internally, if your team isn’t sharing success stories or common issues and objections that they’re receiving, what’s the block in communication?
Challenge yourself to pause after each question or comment to give your client a chance to respond. Whether you realize it or not, you might be filling in these gaps (asking leading questions, or over-explaining), while it will be more beneficial for them to do more of the talking.
Within your sales department, consider holding meetings where you discuss challenges and successes. This will help create a forum for peer sharing, listening, and learning to uncover common themes among your team.
Make sure you’re also speaking with the marketing team as often as possible. Ask specifically about discussions that might be happening on social media about your company or industry. Dedicate various opportunities throughout the day to listening more to your prospects, colleagues, and to industry thought leaders.
Being trustworthy and honest is essential in any relationship, but within hypercompetitive sales teams sometimes secrets and suspicion overrule.
Being a leader means setting an example for those around you, whether they’re teammates or those you manage. Be someone everyone can trust and don’t let skepticism dissuade you from trusting others. Successful teams work together by supporting and believing in each other.
Build rapport with your team members by actively taking an interest in their work, but also connecting with them on a personal level. Get to know those around you and let yourself be known.
If there’s someone you don’t particularly trust, start addressing that issue. Is it a prior experience that makes you uneasy or is it simply in your head? Reach out and try to resolve whatever block exists to repairing the relationship.
Leaders take accountability for their actions.
By demonstrating you can own your work on all levels, whether it’s successful or a misstep and leading by example, you earn the trust of those around you.
Holding others accountable is also crucial because it enables your team to work as a cohesive unit with purpose and direction. When everyone is clear on their responsibilities, they are more focused and able to accomplish group goals.
Keeping track of key sales metrics that affect the bottom line is a major part of accountability, but there are also the intangible aspects like empathy when relating to clients and building trust and rapport, that have to be brought into the mix.
Ownership can potentially be the source of some disappointments, but remember that holding others responsible actually empowers them in the long run. When someone feels responsible for the success of themselves and their team, they are more likely to do everything they can to get it done. No excuses!
Write down all the things you are responsible for in your role. Create goals for yourself in every single one of those areas and evaluate yourself weekly. Take into account specific measurable targets, in addition to those personality aspects that build your selling persona.
By successfully staying on top of everything you need to do for your sales team , you’ll demonstrate your ability to produce results and will soon be able to take ownership of more things you’d like to do and inspire others along the way.
Leaders aren’t born thoroughbreds, but they can certainly train themselves to excel in their ability to listen, trust, and take ownership in sales. Master these skills and you will be well set-up for success.