BEING GREAT AT SALES DIDN’T MAKE ME A GREAT SALES LEADER.
I got my start in sales selling on-air advertising for a group of radio stations. I was the fastest account executive in my company to reach $250,000 in sales, and then the fastest to a million dollars in sales. I won contests, made lots of money, and had a ton of fun.
Then it happened. I became a sales manager, and my real education began.
First, I learned that the salespeople who worked for me were not me. They weren’t motivated by what motivated me. They didn’t prospect the way I did, they didn’t conduct sales calls the way I did, and they didn’t close business the way I did. In other words, I couldn’t hit my number by cloning myself. I had to learn how to lead.
Second, I discovered the team didn’t trust me either. My aggressive style that succeeded in the marketplace alienated the people on my team. I had some major bridge-building to do.
And, finally, I learned I didn’t know the first thing about coaching, the all-important skill for developing successful sales representatives. I talked too much and rarely listened. I hijacked calls and pressed my own agenda. I tried to be a sales superstar, ready and willing to close any deal at any time, and stunted the growth of every member of my team.
I was my own worst enemy, until I found a better way: leading salespeople from the inside-out.