In my new book “The Relationship Selling Secret”, I address twelve competencies every sales leader should develop. I’d like to address the first three in this newsletter and in the following months we will address the others.
1. Excellent communicator
Everyone talks about good communication, but many take it for granted. How often is your communication with your salespeople two-way? Ask yourself, “Who’s doing the majority of the talking?” I believe we should follow the model where two-thirds of the talking is done by the customer. Just like with your customers, strong sales leaders ask questions to get their people to open up. Every conversation with your salespeople should be a coaching moment. You can only address their needs when you know them – by asking questions. Two-way conversations not only meet their developmental needs, they build trust. When your team trusts your intentions, they will come to you more often and they will value your advice and feedback.
When the sales leader is confident, their team builds confidence. Great sales leaders know they’re not perfect, and they also know that their decisions will not always be accepted by everyone on the team. But the leader’s intention is to do what’s best for the team, and when they exude confidence, the team will buy in to the leader’s decision. Confidence is also based on the leader’s experience and knowledge. They’ve learned by the mistakes they’ve made in the past and, hopefully, have corrected since. Strong leaders will also be open to input from the team and take their insights into consideration. The best leaders are more interested in doing what’s right than being popular, which starts with being confident.
Optimism builds momentum. The formula is Momentum (P) = MV which is mass times velocity. With optimism, the team’s speed of execution increases, and their results improve. They say that optimistic salespeople sell 25% more than those that are pessimistic. Optimism starts with the leader who sets the tone of the team. Be careful though of being too optimistic. There is what they call the positivity ratio where you should be positive to negative with a 3 to 1 ratio. Anything greater is not realistic which can set the leader and the sales team up for disappointment. The bottom line is optimism is contagious and salespeople want to work with a leader that is looking with the eyes of opportunity.
Let’s look at the Four Personality Styles – Blue, Gold, Green and Orange – and how their natural strengths relate to these three leadership competencies.
Most of the time the Blue style has excellent communication skills. They believe in having genuine conversations with their salespeople and in building trust. That’s why the Blue style is known as The Relator. Blues typically put the needs of their salespeople first and will give them every opportunity to succeed.
When it comes to confidence, the Gold and Green styles shine. Golds are confident and enjoy the leadership role, and the Green style is the expert, and has confidence around their expertise and knowledge. The Gold style is known as The Director and the Green style is known as The Detective.
Being optimistic is a natural strength of the Orange style. And that makes sense since the Orange is known as The Activator. They are the energizer bunny, and their priority is always to win, having that competitive nature.
It’s important to know your personality style so that you can better understand your strengths related to communicating, having confidence and being optimistic. When you know your strengths, you can leverage them to better work with your salespeople. It’s all about building relationships with your people.