Leaders who don't listen will eventually be surrounded by people who are nothing to say!


Sales and salespeople are limited by leadership effectiveness. Salespeople will rise to the leader, limit themselves to the leader, get squashed by the leader, or leave to avoid getting limited or squashed.

To grow a successful sales-driven business, leadership skills need to mirror and stay on pace with sales skills. When they get out of balance, and sales skills or growth are outpacing leadership skills, problems begin. Communication is usually the first area where problems become obvious, and if they are not resolved, they will bleed into every area of the business. Eventually, if leaders are not upskilled, sales will slump, turnover will increase, and your key players will begin to leave.

Sales leaders who practice effective communication and leadership skills will inspire and require better sales results. Part of this training includes realizing that their sales team is a segment of their customer base and that leading them effectively requires at a minimum the same selling skills that they deploy with their premium customers. If they also serve their team by ‘clearing the path’ (listening for obstacles that prevent them from achieving their highest production and removing them), they will build productivity, loyalty and retention.

Here are a few examples of how your sales team flourishes or dies by your sales leaders:

Leaders who effectively lead salespeople do these things well:

  • They listen
  • Listening for areas to praise
  • Listening for opportunities to coach and evolve
  • Listening for opportunities to clear obstacles out of the way
  • They ask smart questions to inspire creativity and creative solutions
  • They look for behaviors to praise vs. behaviors to criticize
  • They observe, relate to and value the happiness and well-being of their team as much as their productivity
  • They engage in difficult conversations when necessary
  • They offer genuine opportunities to grow and evolve
  • They perceive themselves as both servants and leaders

Leaders who limit salespeople do these things:

  • They don’t make themselves easily accessible to their sales team
  • They avoid conversations when possible
  • They always seem in a hurry
  • They aren’t organized & often miss appointments
  • They don’t follow up the way they say they will
  • They offer praise only when salespeople ask for it
  • They serve only when salespeople demand or require it
  • They offer few or no opportunities to grow and evolve and provide little constructive feedback

Leaders who squash salespeople and hold them back do these things:

  • They are focused on themselves and their career aspirations at the expense of the team
  • They are superficial and fail to build trust with their team
  • They perceive salespeople as necessary ‘evils’ rather than solutions
  • They have not developed excellent listening skills
  • They ask questions only for their own benefit – not for the benefit of the salespeople
  • They offer superficial praise, usually for following them
  • They expect salespeople to serve them and to make their job easier
  • They tend to attract ‘yes’ people instead of producers

Source: Karen Joy

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