Consider what you need to be and have to improve sales management and sales management skills. Before you do that, consider what it takes to be a sales leader. In my humble opinion, if you don’t have these, don’t even bother.
- A Navy SEAL once told my peer advisory CEO group during a talk on leadership that after combat duty he became a trainer of SEALs—you know: the guy in the movies encouraging people to push themselves out of their comfort zones. Anyway, he trained leaders to be great. He discovered that the number one quality that distinguishes great leaders is that they believe. They believe in their team, in their capability to get the job done under the toughest of circumstances.
- You can have all the authority in the world. The fancy title, the boss, the owner, the CEO. It doesn’t matter. If you don’t have the permission to lead, by those you’re leading, you’re not a leader. Think about it. They give it to you and they take it away at any moment. You have to earn it.
- You’re going to get kicked. You’re going to get kicked some more when you’re down. And when you get up, guess what? Yep, more kicking. It’s going to hurt. One of the most profound things a top salesperson said to me when I asked her what it took to be the best performer over and over again on the team. She said “the butterflies.” “The day I go into a sales meeting without the butterflies is the day I get into trouble.” Don’t attempt to get rid of the pain.
- We call it head-trash. The good news is everyone has it. That little voice that tells you “it’s not working,” “it will never work,” “you’re no good,” “I suck,” “life sucks.” It’s OK to hear your head-trash—just don’t act from it. Say, “I get it—they are never going to perform for me. Thank you for sharing, and here’s what I need to do regardless.” In other words take action—the correct action, not the action your head-trash is telling you to take. During this time refer to point number 3 above.
- Not touchy-feely love, but love for being alive, love of the privilege to lead and to have people follow and to rely on you. It’s one of the greatest honors.
When you have these five things, you can go to work on the technique of developing sales management skills and the mechanics needed to get the job done.