Coming Into Your Own: Becoming a Sales Leader
As you progress through your career, there comes a time when you need to stop moving horizontally, and begin to climb the ladder. When you realize where you are most valuable, and you decide to take the next step, that typically comes with the added responsibility of leadership.
Recently, we profiled what a rookie sales manager would look like, in this blog post. This profile depicts an overeager rookie manager who wants to be great right out of the gate. While this is a noble endeavor, and enthusiasm can be a great trait if channeled correctly, it can also derail a career from the start if the enthusiasm isn’t harnessed. Once you’ve had a chance to read about ‘what not to do,’ let’s examine what can make a strong leader.
There are endless tactics and strategies that can improve your ability to manage, but below I have identified three pieces of advice that standout to me.
1.Know Your Value
If you’ve entered the realm of leadership, you’ve already discovered where your talents lie. When you assume your new position, don’t forget what got you there. Continue to demonstrate the traits and qualities that allowed you to separate yourself from your peers, and rely on your instincts when you enter a situation you’re not familiar with.
As we mention in recent blog post, each time you entertain a negative thought, you’re hurting yourself. By filling your subconscious with negative thoughts, eventually you begin to accept them as facts. So what should this tell you? It means that not only should you know your value, but also act with confidence so others see your value as well.
2.Act with Confidence
This advice is not unique to leadership, but it rings true. There’s inevitably going to be a learning curve when you shift into a leadership role. Owning your role as manager and acting like you belong will go a long way when ingratiating yourself with your new subordinates and team members. If you show confidence as a leader, it’s much more likely that your team will not only admire you, but also learn to build trust with you.
However, this doesn’t mean to overpromise and under deliver. Acting confident means knowing what you excel at, discovering your weaknesses, and working to improve both. If you don’t know how to get better on your own, find someone who can assist you, such as your boss or a Sandler coach. You’ll also have much more credibility among your team if they see you consistently working to improve your skills.
3.Ask for Help
The first two pieces of advice given in this post are meant to inspire you to be better and use your existing talents to grow and develop in your new position. This third piece goes in a different direction, but is maybe the most important. It’s important to know when to ask for help. When learning a new skill – such as leadership – you need to make sure you have the correct system in place to succeed. That means having resources for growth. Ensure that you have enough time to practice/study, the right open-minded mentality, and the correct people to learn from. Whether that’s your own boss or even a mentor, such as a Sandler coach, it’s important to get feedback and advice from someone who’s been in your position before.
You should also understand that it’s okay to ask for help – it’s not something you should feel guilty or ashamed about. I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss or mentor says, “No, I can’t help you,” or “That’s not the right approach, I would do it this way.” Asking for help is a strength because it shows that you’re looking to improve your skills and actions as a leader. Having an open mind to advice from others and accepting failure will help you readjust your process or system the next time around.
Acting confidently, knowing your value, and asking for help when you need it are three ways to assist early growth and development in your new role a sales leader. By taking these actions, you’ll see your skills improve, and your team will, too. The willingness to continue to improve your leadership skills will build credibility and trust with your team as you lead them on their journey to success.
For more strategies and tactics on management and leadership development, check out our full-length video course on the 49 Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.