Five Traits of Strong Sales Leaders

Leadership often seems like a natural trait that some individuals are gifted with at birth.  In reality, leadership is more often a group of traits that culminate in the ability to influence others to take action.  Leadership is a journey that never ends and one that you can continue to develop and strengthen like you would a muscle in the gym. Below are five core traits of a sales team leader, which if you develop into your core traits, will help you carry the influence on your team to achieve greatness.

Be Genuine- Strong leaders genuinely care about the success of the people around them.  They genuinely want to help others and share wisdom that will lead people to take actions that will reward them.  If you only care about your team taking actions to make yourself successful, your team will sense that, and they will resent you.  Of course, ultimately, their success will be your success, but focus first on how you will make them successful.  Really listen when your team members are asking for help.  Don’t let email or other projects distract you.  Give your team members your full attention to fully understand how you can be of service.

Build Relationships- John C Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Build relationships that are so strong with your team members that they are excited to come to work each day because they get to come to work with you.  Plan a team outing and learn about whom your people really are when they are not in the office.  Be a mentor to at least two or three members that you believe could be future leaders in your organization.  Take them to lunch and talk about leadership opportunities with them.  Let them know you want to see them in a leadership position and you plan to help them achieve that role.

Be Able and Willing to Perform your Team Member’s Job- The reality of sales is that the profession, in general, has a high volume of turn over. Chances are very good that a year from today, the vast majority of the people who are on your team today will not be on your team then.  It’s hopeful, you will have also changed team members because of growth and expansion but it still remains that your team roster is going to change often.  While some of your team members may remember how incredible you were on the phone, many have probably never heard you in action.  The fastest way to grow credibility in a sales leadership role is to jump on the phone and show your team that you still have the skills that earned you your seat.  Schedule time each week to sell new business with your team.  Your team members will be listening.

Be the Pulse of the Team- If you show up late and cranky, your team members will be affected.  Put your game face on each day.  It’s your job to provide the energy, momentum and excitement around selling. Put on some music, clap your hands and hand out some cash if you are having a rough day.  All three of those things are guaranteed to make your team members smile, which in turn should make you smile.

Deliver Feedback- I have a rule.  If I’ll say it about you, I’ve already told you.  Make sure that your team members know where they stand both on the good and the bad.  Make a point to deliver both praise and discipline right away.  When you see your team members taking the right actions, love them.  When you see them pointed in the direction of termination, pick them up and put them back on the road of success.

Remember, great leadership cannot be truly developed if you only workout these traits once in a great while.  Strong leadership is about consistently using your leadership muscles everyday.

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