5 Sales Leadership Tips That Help Inspire People To Drive Results

Sales is the lifeblood of any company. Todd Zaugg is a salesforce performance expert and author of Warrior Sales Monk. He is also CEO of Matrix Achievement, a salesforce consulting firm that works with the biggest brands on the planet and has trained over 40,000 people on sales, reports Forbes.

As CEO of an organization that has trained thousands of Fortune 500, Fortune 1000, and start-up companies, Zaugg has many great insights that can inspire teams to perform better at sales and produce better results. Here are five sales leadership tips that sales leaders can implement to help inspire people to drive results.

Doing The Right Thing, Then Doing It Right.

Integrity. Values. Respect. Trust. According to Zaugg, these are words that help keep your customers and your team motivated for the long haul. The following “Values Waterfall” is an actionable way to keep you and your organization on track when having to make tough decisions. “Conversely if you flip this waterfall you can get yourself into trouble”, says Zaugg. Following this process may have helped United Airlines avoid their recent hiccup.

• What is best for my customer?

• What is best for the company?

• What is best for my team?

• What is best for me?

“There is an argument for the fact that values can help win sales opportunities and also increase margin”, says Zaugg. For instance, if people perceive your brand to be ethical, driven to exceed customer and quality expectations, environmental, etc, they will pay more for that perceived experience. At a minimum, if you are working in a market that is highly competitive and shrinking, values can be the tie-breaker.

Talent And Talent Alignment

Zaugg says that hiring people to your culture is mission critical to “doing it right.” Placing them in a role that helps them “do what they do best” is equally important, but it doesn’t stop there. You have to continue to cultivate that talent.  You need to understand that your “A” players expect you to surround them with other “A” players or morale will suffer and you will begin the journey towards collective mediocrity inside the department that is the lifeblood of the organization – sales.

How do you avoid this? Zaugg advises the use of behavioral hiring instruments and a comprehensive interviewing process. “Great hiring instruments can be calibrated to your industry and your current top performers”, says Zaugg. Set clear expectations of the role and the DNA required to do the job (DNA—things you can’t train like “initiative.” There are usually 15 non-trainable DNA components). For instance, the classic delineation of Hunter versus Farmer is a real thing. Zaugg says this always reminds him of the scene with Mark Wahlberg from the movie OTHER GUYS when he said “I’m a peacock, let me fly”.  Zaugg goes on to say that you should counsel people into other roles like sales support or out of your organization. The key is that your “A” players expect you to take charge in these situations.

Mental Toughness

Peter Drucker said leadership is learned. What that means is that you are going to make mistakes. The key is to get back up again. Wharton Business School reports that the average millionaire has failed seven times before they “make it” and that 33% of entrepreneur millionaires are dyslexic. “Being mentally tough takes many shapes and forms, but one of the most consistent scenarios is the one in which you must be willing to remove emotion during decision making”, says Zaugg.

For example, Yuchun Lee, a member of the famous MIT Black Jack Team that was featured in the book Bringing Down the House, and the entrepreneur who sold his business to IBM for a half billion dollars, said recently in a New York Times article “…the ability of the company to know what is true, what is not true, and what’s real and what’s not real. That grounds everything.” Zaugg says that Lee is using this same philosophy as his new venture Allego is breaking industry records.

Zaugg explains that the human factor of emotion is both a blessing and a curse for sales leaders. “People are motivated by emotion, but that same emotion gets them into trouble during stressful situations”, says Zaugg. “The neuroscience of human decision-making clearly indicates that we humans process information emotionally before thinking rationally. A mentally tough leader needs to have the intestinal fortitude to reverse that flow.” He says that contract negotiations and customer service activities are great examples of understanding how to be mentally tough and keeping cool during difficult situations. Additionally, when great leaders communicate, they reverse that process again and use emotion that is strategically deployed for maximum impact.

Influence

According to Zaugg, nothing separates average leaders from great leaders more than the ability to influence. He says influence is ignited when the sales leader connects the mission and vision to each individual player on the team. Employees respond more to the managers who adjust their style to meet the style of the employee in order to connect. Here are the key components of Influence:

1. What? Be able to concisely describe the objective.

2. So what? Connect the objective to the motivators of each individual on your team as well as your customers and prospects.

3. Communication Style Versatility. Can the leader adjust their communication style to each of the players on their team? For example, the balance between being high human touch versus high data touch like Dr. Spock from Star Trek.

4. Synthesize and Simplify. Boil it down and use metaphors and stories to effectively communicate the message in a highly relatable manner.

5. Set Clear Expectations. Connect each team member’s role and activities to the objective and describe the level of accountability.

6. Lead by Example. Nothing speaks louder than action.

7. Empowerment. Allow team members to be accountable for their own actions and give them the opportunity to experience being empowered, whether it is a specific project or an element of their role, make sure to reward or re-direct as appropriate.

8. Failing Forward. Be prepared for the fact that nothing is perfect and that the key is to calibrate and move on.

Develop Your People

It is easy to get blinded by the day-to-day stress and pressures of hitting the number and leading a team, however, research shows that developing your people is good for recruiting, engagement, and increased sales performance. “The greatest competitive advantage of any organization is truly NOT their products or services, but instead it is the ability of that sales person to have an effective communication with a prospect or customer”, says Zaugg. “Nothing else matters. Nothing. You can take that to the bank. If you start with that singular focus it will help you adjust your current organizational structure and processes.”

Zaugg advises that you stop thinking that developing your people will lift 100% of your team. It won’t. Every team has 20% climbers, 60% campers, and 20% quitters. If it’s great training, the top 20% will give you the return on investment.  “We have worked with high net worth veteran sales people that have changed behaviors and improved performance by sharpening the science and skills related to their critical activities”, says Zaugg. Goeff Colvin’s book, Talent Is Not Enough, says it all when it comes to development, “true professionals are constantly working on their game.”

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