8.5 Qualities of a Sales Leader. How Many Have You Got?

8.5 Qualities of a Sales Leader. How Many Have You Got?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer
@GITOMER

KING OF SALES, The author of thirteen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His real-world ideas and content are also available as online courses at www.GitomerLearningAcademy.com.

Take me to your leader. If you have one.

Are you a leader? Do you aspire to be one? Are you a true leader or a leader in name (or title) only?

Leadership is the true challenge for the next decade. Entrepreneurial ventures are starting in record numbers, competition is stiffer than ever, customers are demanding more, profit margins are thinning. All of these trends create leadership opportunities.

  • Do your people follow you or avoid you?
  • Do your people respond to your assignments?
  • Do your people complete their tasks? On time?
  • Are the meetings you lead structured, supportive and encouraging?

Where do leaders come from? Everywhere. Some have natural aptitude and environmental advantages, but all leaders must learn the fundamental skills required if they want to gain or maintain their position.

If you’re having a hard time following, you might try leading.

Here are a few leadership challenges to ponder…

  • Are you tired of being a follower?
  • If you want to lead, where do you start?
  • Are leaders born or made?
  • What is the best way to become an effective leader? Are leaders born or made?
  • What are the leadership skills you need to develop?

If you are one, or want to be one, here are 8.5 qualities of “what it takes” to be an effective leader…

  1. Maintain a positive attitude…Solution oriented. Action oriented. People oriented. A leader’s enthusiasm is contagious. If you get too close, you can catch a serious case of success.
  2. Embrace change…Change is certain. Followers tend to resist change. It is the mark of a leader to welcome change and take advantage of the opportunity it presents.
  3. Deploy courage…Douglas MacArthur said, “Courage is just fear that holds out a little longer.” Good advice. George Patton said, “I don’t take counsel from my fears.” Good advice. Leaders choose courage.
  4. Take a risk…The biggest risk is to never take one. One of the hallmarks of success is the willingness to risk. Leaders are determined to win or try again.
  5. Listen…Listen with the intent to understand. Leaders listen to learn. Your prospects know their needs and they know what’s happening on the front lines of their business. Just listen.
  6. Communicate…Leaders set the example for open communication. Use their heads. Say what they feel. Speak from their heart.
  7. Delegate and Empower…Leaders share responsibility. They don’t dictate, they set examples for others to follow. Leaders encourage growth in others by challenging them to take new responsibility, encouraging them to succeed, and supporting them if they fail. Leaders understand that mistakes are lessons on the way to success.
  8. Understand others, yourself and your situation…Leaders understand the importance of an open, inquisitive mind. A constant quest for knowledge brings greater understanding.

8.5 Commitment…Commitment is the catalyst that makes all the other leadership qualities a reality. Daily re-dedication to commitment is the difference between leaders and would be leaders.

Rate yourself between one and ten in those 8.5 areas. If your score is under 80 (highest possible 90), you need help.

Whether you lead your company, lead your sales team, or lead your peers, how you employ and implement your leadership skills will determine your leadership success.

If you’re a business owner…You’re wearing many hats of leadership. Many company owners fail to realize their first job and biggest responsibility is in sales. How you lead the sales team determines how the rest of the business fares.

If you’re a sales manager…Lead don’t manage. Your hands-on support and encouragement is often the difference between exceeding your sales goal and finding a new job.

If you’re aspiring to be a leader…Start small. Lead a group or committee. Do whatever is necessary to make it a winner. Do it again, until it begins to feel natural. Respect the power of leadership, and the power of the people you seek to lead.

The one rule that is universally applicable, the rule that if followed by every leader would make them great, yet is the rule that is employed the least: Lead by example.

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