LEADERSHIP SERIES: Research suggests that Sales Leadership is the difference maker between good performance and superior performance. And how sales leaders embrace five essential roles is critical to the success of their teams. We hope you find this series of short informal discussions around sales leadership useful and thought-provoking.
Is Selling Really An Individual Sport? Getting Your Sales Team to Work Together
Nearly every book, seminar, video, and article on selling treats it as an individual effort. You work harder, motivate yourself, maximize your territory, etc., your sales and income go up. The rest of the selling world, and even the producers within your own office and company, are there to be competed against, end of story… right?
Not exactly, but it isn’t surprising that so many sales managers think that way. After all, they’ve been hearing it since the early days when they opened their first accounts.
To get the most out of your team, however, you need to break out of that mindset and start seeing your producers not as a group of individuals, but a collection of talents. You should already know that the different members of your sales team have different strengths and weaknesses, but what you might not realize is that strong sales leaders use those differences to their advantage – and to the advantage of the men and women on their staff.
The best way to do this is not to focus on shared weaknesses but common strengths. In other words, think about what it is that each and every member of your team does best, and then use them to teach what they know to the rest of the group.
Usually, having them give a five –ten minute presentation in your sales meetings is a good way to do it.
This has several benefits. First, it gets all the men and women who are selling for you to think about their talents and hone them even further. This is great for both confidence and skills, and might lead them to better production in and of itself.
More importantly, however, is that it allows you to take a lot of separate skill sets – like opening accounts, mastering product knowledge, giving top-level customer service, finding referrals, managing time, and negotiating, to name a few – and increase them throughout your team.
And finally, it takes some of the training burden off of you. The more your sales team is teaching and encouraging each other, the less time you have to spend designing (or bringing in) training programs from the outside. All in all, it’s a big win for everybody.
A lot of people might treat sales as a completely individual effort, but smart sales leaders know better. Take some time to identify the key strengths each member of your team possesses, and then get them busy teaching each other at regular intervals. A little competition might be a good thing, but a lot of teamwork can accomplish much more.
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