There is an art to being a successful salesperson, and there are commonalities among the top sales leaders in business. As a salesperson, you may already possess some of these traits, but it doesn’t hurt to examine your strategies and employ some of these traits to take your sales skills from good to great.
Once you prove your skills as a member of a sales team, you may find yourself taking on new roles, such as a leadership position. Successful sales leadership requires a set of unique traits. Whether you are in a current leadership position or strive to become a leader, understanding and developing these traits will help you reach your goals.
- Focus on the TeamBeing in a leadership position requires you to shift your mindset from being more self-centered to supporting a team. Sales can often come with an “every man for himself” mentality as you try to close more deals than the next person. A good leader, however, will focus on their team as a whole by encouraging, supporting, and helping to develop the skills of all of their diverse team members.
- Communicate EfficientlyA good leader can communicate efficiently with their team and their supervisors through verbal and written communication. A leader’s effective communication allows everyone to be on the same page and focused on the goals of the team and organization, which helps drive successful sales. Ineffective communication of sales leadership can overwhelm or confuse the team and leads to wasted time as everyone tries to clarify the mixed messages being received.
- Be Organized and ResourcefulManaging a team of salespeople is a complex task that requires efficient organizational skills. An effective sales leader will develop a way that works for them when it comes to managing their team to avoid falling behind. Being organized also allows for increased productivity of the leader and their team, which can lead to increased revenue. Additionally, leaders must understand the resources available to them and their team and be organized enough to quickly access those resources so they can provide them to the salespeople who need them most.
- Embrace ChangeStrong sales leaders will be flexible and adapt to changes within their industry. As transitions within the industry occur, they embrace the changes and provide their team with training to help them understand how changes impact the sales role. Leaders will work with their team to figure out how to adapt sales strategies to the changing market and conduct analyses to determine if their new strategies are effective.
- Be a MotivatorSuccessful leaders in sales will understand how and when to motivate their team. Motivation goes a long way as a reward for a job well done and can inspire teams to continue pushing through when sales are not going as well as the team had hoped. Development of a recognition or rewards system to acknowledge team members who are achieving key performance indicators helps to create drive within the team.
- Provide Objective FeedbackWhen sales reps are struggling to meet quotas or close deals, they may be feeling lost and unsure of what isn’t working. An excellent leader will provide specific and objective feedback on their employee’s performance in a way that allows the team member to recognize their specific downfalls and modify their strategy to increase their chances of successfully closing deals.
- Have a Passionate and Positive AttitudeTop sales leaders are passionate about their careers – it’s more than just a job to them. Passionate leaders seek to build genuine connections with their team and take pride in helping others grow and reach their goals. This goes alongside having a positive attitude and viewing failed deals and setbacks as an opportunity to learn from mistakes to become both a stronger salesperson and leader.
- Be Goal-OrientedAll salespeople need to be goal-oriented to some degree, but sales leaders take setting and reaching goals to a new level. Leaders create specific, detailed, and ambitious goals and develop action plans to meet those goals. They create short-term and long-term goals for themselves and their team to provide direction and motivation.
- Be a Good ListenerBeing a good listener is not only essential as a salesperson trying to meet client needs but also as a leader helping to meet the needs of your team. Being a good listener as a salesperson allows you to formulate more personalized deals for clients that are more likely to be accepted. Being a good listener as a sales leader allows you to tune in to where the strengths and weaknesses of your team lie and help individual team members develop action plans to improve sales performance.
- Continuously Develop Your SkillsJust because you’ve made it to a leadership position doesn’t mean you should stop learning and improving your skills. You can benefit from learning new sales techniques as they apply to changing industries or by taking courses on how to improve leadership skills.
Lead by example and show that you value continuing education for yourself and your team by advocating for funding for group training to support the whole team’s development. Shapiro Negotiations Institute offers corporate sales training to help take your team’s skills to the next level.