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Most people in sales management or with a title that is responsible for leading a sales team, speak about leading by example.
However, exactly what does that mean?
Many think that to lead your team by example, is to sell as much or as more as each member of the sales team. In some sales organisations, this may be practical. However, in many other situations, due to time constraints, additional responsibilities and a host of other reasons, it may not only be impractical, but impossible for the manager to lead the team in sales. And should the sales manager still be responsible for “closing sales” too? In some companies when a sales rep moves into a sales management role they step back from the day to day selling and are now responsible for motivating, coaching, developing and driving the sales performance of their teams.
So how can you lead by example?
Excel in the following four critical areas and you will not only lead your sales team by example, but lead them to another level as well!
Just remember that your goal is to L.E.A.D.!
L = Loyal
The single most vital leadership area that your sales people must see in you is a complete and unalterable loyalty to your company, products or services and your industry. You must believe in what sell wholeheartedly, but also in HOW you sell it. You have to have total faith in your sales processes, your operating methodology, sales philosophy and the future of your entire industry. Your sales teams must know that you eat, sleep, walk, talk and even bleed your company at all times.
E = Ethics
First, you need to have a set of ethical standards that are uncompromising and you must practice what you preach. You must have a zero tolerance for anything that in any way represents a misleading concept or statement, misrepresentation, over exaggeration or a fabrication of any kind. In addition, you need to posses and demonstrate an unyielding personal work ethic. Be the first one in, and the last to leave.
A = Attitude
You need to be the unshakable rock of positivity. Nothing, from tough economic times, to competitive issues, to personal problems, should ever dampen your enthusiasm, passion and optimistic outlook on today, tomorrow and beyond. You should be able to see some good in everybody and everything. Your sales people should get a boost of positive energy just from being in your presence.
D = Done It
Finally, to lead by example truly, you need to have been there and done that. While it may not be possible for you to get in the field and sell with your team, the goals and quotas you assign should be things that you have accomplished at sometime in your career. You can tell your sales team that they should be closing ten sales every week and that it is easy and all they have to do is follow the plan. However, if you have never, personally closed ten similar sales a week in your life yourself, you have a serious credibility problem. The team needs to know that anything you ask of them, that you are not only willing to do yourself, but have done it.
L.E.A.D. and your sales team will follow!
MTD Sales Training