Are You


by Jim Pratt

EACH OF US IS ULTIMATELY RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR LEVEL OF SUCCESS. As Sales Leaders, we have the unique opportunity every day to coach and lead our associates to new heights. Are we continually gaining peak performance from our teammates? Remember that any inadequacies in our team is a reflection on our proactive coaching efforts.
   Depending on where you are now and the size of your sales force, building a world-class sales organization may take three to five years to achieve. If you are ready to lead, join us in the ongoing challenge. "World-class" is attainable if you have a passion to achieve it, if you have the budget and other resources to devote to this purpose and the support of your CEO.
   First, how do you measure up? Sales Leaders interested in greater team success have two choices today: either we wait for the market to improve, or become more effective Sales Leaders. Each of us has the tools to forge his or her own destiny. Increasing the skills of salespeople is the most direct way to build a sales team. Just as we train our salespeople to focus on building relationships rather than chasing deals, we encourage managers to strengthen their mentoring abilities instead of pursuing numbers.
   Recently, Sales and Marketing Management magazine surveyed more than 200 sales managers and discovered what it takes to be a great Sales Leader. Despite the different industries represented, there was strong agreement on what makes a sales manager stand out.
   Here's your chance to benchmark yourself against what others say it takes to lead and manage successfully in today's business environment. Rate your proficiency at each management skill identified in the Sales and Marketing Management survey:

   Ability to Motivate
   Goal Setting

   Listening was cited as the most important of these skills. "You can't decide or lead without having knowledge," explains Bernie Steiner of GPS Transportation. Suggestions for listening improvement include:

  • Prepare and commit yourself to active listening.
  • Look for your prospect to reveal his or her Highest Value Needs when listening.
  • Concentrate and try not to let your thoughts wander.
  • Plan to report the general essence of what you are hearing to someone else later.
  • Take notes - but adapt your note taking to be appropriate to the speaker and the situation.

   In the Lamalle Report on Top Executives of the 1990s, the top five factors cited in achieving success by those earning over $250,000 annually were:

  • Communication (cited by 71%)
  • Intelligence (64%)
  • Integrity (54%)
  • Experience (50%)
  • Enthusiasm and positive attitude (46%)

   Our associates look to us to be active communicators and inspirational leaders. But remember, people will listen to what you say but their behavior will be shaped by what you do. In a future issue of Transaction World we will address the concept of preparing to lead in more detail.

Jim Pratt is the CEO of the Pratt-Daly International Sales Consulting firm based in San Diego, CA. Jim's experience includes leading sales forces of one to 4,800. You may reach Pratt-Daly at 800.374.0300.