In America’s Cup racing, just because someone is a great sailor does not necessarily mean that they will make a great skipper. The skills needed to lead a team of people are not the same as those who can get their foot in the door of multiple clients, listen for opportunities, and overcome objections to close a sale. Leadership skills rely heavily on communication, evaluation, motivation, and problem solving. Great sales leaders are resources that individual salespeople rely on to help them accomplish their goals and remove obstacles to achieving their best.
Before someone is made a sales leader at your company, their competency in leadership skills as well as their desire to take on a leadership role should be identified and evaluated.
Here are five core skills for sales leaders that need to be examined.
- Selling Skills. This can encompass nearly two dozen facets. Sales leaders need to understand the sales process well enough that they can lead someone else to execute it. This includes command of the sales approach, handling objections, prospecting, lead management, technology proficiency, and content presentation. If they don’t understand the process, they can’t hire the right people for each role, help train, and evaluate where a team member needs help.
- Management Skills. There are probably a dozen management skills a sales leader should have at his or her disposal. These include team building, managing diversity, resourcefulness, and conflict management.
- Communications Skills. Good leaders need to be good communicators. That doesn’t mean smooth talkers. They need to excel at active listening, presentation skills, written communications, oral communications, and abstract reasoning.
- Intellectual Capacity. Great leaders are smart. But there is more than one kind of smarts. Common sense and street smarts are to be prized in the sales environment. There are about a half-dozen intellectual areas that are important. These include brainpower, innovation, creativity, judgment, adaptability and pragmatism. What are the top skills needed for your company?
- Interpersonal Skills. Being personable is great, but it is not enough. There are more than a dozen areas of importance when it comes to interpersonal skills. These include passion, ambition, tenacity, intuition, work/life balance, flexibility, persuasion, assertiveness, and energy.
I strongly believe that sales leaders are made, not born. In other words, no one is perfect and all must be developed. Newly promoted sales managers should be developed in a number of areas. These include strategy and customer management, process and productivity, sales talent management, and the use of metrics and rewards. School is never out for the sales leader; there is always something new to be learned and improved upon if you want your team to achieve smooth selling.
For more tips on how to implement smooth selling techniques at your company check out my book.
Smooth Selling Forever enables small and mid-size business leaders to generate significant, predictable, and sustainable sales growth. Based in the science of selling, when applied correctly and managed vigilantly, smooth selling produces revenue results in a systematic fashion.
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