1: What percentage of people’s thinking is emotional?  And what percentage is logical/rational?  

The answer?  “People are 100 percent emotional,” Brian Tracy asks in his book Sales Management.

This week, we’ve been exploring what makes a great sales leader.  (Which is the same thing as what makes a great leader of any type.)

Brian tells us there are two critical leadership qualities.  We’ve looked at the first leadership quality: Clarity.

Today, we turn to the second leadership quality: Consideration.

What does consideration look like in practice?  It’s investing the time to build relationships with each person on our team.  

“When we talk about business, we focus on sales results,” Brian writes.  “And when we talk to the individual, we focus on a personal nature.”

When top salespeople were surveyed about what made them successful, they often said: “I always felt as if my boss cared about me as a person, as well as an employee.”

What is the best way to connect with someone?  Be curious.  Ask them about their personal life, family life, and how everything is going away from their job.

Doing so “immediately triggers feelings of warmth toward the manager and greater commitment and loyalty to the company,” Brian observes.

2: The best leaders understand that one size definitely does not fit all.

Individual consideration is critical.  Each person on our team is different, and we need to make it our business to understand what motivates them.  

Do we treat each person the way we want to be treated?  Actually, no.  We treat each person the way he or she wants to be treated.  

“Remember each person is different,” Brian observes.  “Each salesperson may require a different style of leadership, or a combination of styles, depending on the person’s experience and personal situation at the time.  Be prepared to be flexible and to treat each salesperson as a unique individual, different from every other salesperson who reports to you.”

3: Brian suggests we understand the different approaches available to us: Telling, selling, managing, and motivating.

“For example, a new person requires ‘telling,’ which is a directive, hands-on style of managing,” Brian notes.  We “tell the person exactly what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and how it will be measured.  We then follow up, like a master teaching an apprentice, to make sure that the new salesperson is doing exactly what’s required to get the results we expect.”

“Selling” involves taking the time to explain what we are doing and why.  We “encourage and persuade them to do what they need to do to get sales results, both for the company and for themselves.”

The next style is “managing.” This approach is often appropriate for experienced salespeople “who only need a little direction and guidance to do their jobs,” Brian writes.  

We give clear direction, establish the right metrics and standards, and then give these salespeople the freedom to perform.  “People who have worked under exceptional leaders say that one of the things they liked the most was that they had considerable freedom to determine their daily work routine as long as they delivered the sales results expected of them.”

“Motivating” involves creating incentive structures that encourage salespeople to perform at ever-higher levels.  “For example, the most successful companies have regular sales contests of some kind,” Brian writes.  

The sales leader creates opportunities where salespeople can earn bonuses, prizes, vacations, and financial rewards when they meet and exceed their targets.

“One of my clients had a simple reward system,” Brian explains.  “He would take the top-selling salesperson out to lunch at an expensive restaurant on the first day of the following month.

The top salespeople, who were earning good incomes already, would not be motivated by a small increase in their income.  But being taken out to lunch by the boss was a status symbol, which strongly motivated them.”

At the end of each month, there would be a burst of sales activity among the top salespeople to finish on top and earn a lunch with the boss on the first workday of the next month.

More tomorrow.


Reflection: Am I spending enough time building strong relationships with the members of my team?  Do I understand what specifically motivates each person?

Action: Journal my answers to the questions above.

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