If you could only focus on one single skill to help generate sales success for you, your team and business what would it be?
It's an ever important question to ask as we constantly look for the one thing that makes the most difference. As we try to fit in more with less time, you manage the team, create presentations and reports, motivate, inspire, coach and the list seems to never end.
There are so many references to leadership traits out there and I'd encourage you to explore the research on the power and influence of 'Humility' in leadership as discovered in research including Jim Collins and the team behind the well known book Good to Great, as well as studies published in the Academy of Management Journal and Organization Science, it’s true. Those leaders willing to put others first and listen to others point of view are the ones people will follow.
I read the study and couldn't fault the perceived value of that trait. I also believe it’s important to look at the context of traits that reflect the day to day life of a sales leader.
Among all the 1000s of leadership books out there, in most genres and disciplines the skill of being able to motivate and empower others is critical. Here's why.
“Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.” John C. Maxwell.
A humble leader opens the door to creating a healthy environment for challenge and growth. An empowerment focused leader can move and inspire people to take greater action and become more of who they can be because of that environment.
The only way you get your team to perform better is if they believe they can. Your ability to empower them is critical to exposing them to their potential.
Here are three things this week you can do to cultivate the skill of empowerment with your account management or sales team.
Ask them more questions - Don't be quick to give your team the answers to every problem they have. Use the power of questions and coaching as a tool to help them take responsibility and action. Of course you want to offer guidance but don't let that be the first place you go. If they just see you as answer they'll never really discover the answers themselves. Check out my article on meetings to get some great questions to ask HERE
Bring them problems to solve as a team - It can be easy to hold things back from your team or use the same strategies to work on changing problems. For example if your sales process seems to be slowing down at the presentation phase because of overuse of email. Why not bring that to the team and get them to discover new ways they can solve that challenge for everyone. Result being. Everyone gets focused on one core activity. They can support each other in the process and the goal is to reduce lead times. All you do was give them the challenge.
Encourage solution focused thinking and not activity focused thinking – It’s very easy in sales to be busy doing something and not really accomplishing anything. Metrics can sometimes lead to a lack of focus if not properly framed by the sales manager. The great John Maxwell told a story where he asked his team to come up with three possible solutions to every problem they had. Result was it changed the ability not just to problem solve but think in terms of solution first and not activity. He then praised that behaviour and guess what. They did more of it.
If there is one thing this week I'd encourage all sales leaders to work on its the skill of empowerment.
Like the great Bill Gates said
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be the ones that empower others"
Good luck and make today a day of empowermen