In our blogs, the EcSell team talks a great deal about how to improve your sales leadership and coaching skills. The longer I study the field of sales coaching, the more I am amazed at the far-reaching applications of this discipline. Whether in your one-on-one meetings with your sales reps, parenting, or leading your motorcycles club, being an effective coach is critical to your success as a leader. Yes, I just said that sales coaching and motorcycle clubs (at least in Hollywood) are connected. Here’s how:
If you’re currently watching Sons of Anarchy and you’re not past Season 4, you might want to mosey on over to a different blog to get your sales coaching fix for the day, might I suggest this one as a good alternative.
Over the past couple of months, my spouse and I have been watching the FX series Sons of Anarchy. The series centers on a motorcycle club, their less-than-humanitarian business dealings, and the familial and personal relationships of the club’s members. Briefly, in Season 4, the leader of the motorcycle club, Clay, is confronted by his Sargent In Arms and most loyal fellow member named Tig. Sparing all the unnecessary details, the gist of the storyline at this point is that the majority of the club is starting to question Clay’s leadership. In previous episodes, he has made some pivotal decisions that affect the club without the typical collective vote. Tig decides to confront Clay and tells him that he’s losing the support and trust of the club members by going into his office and shutting everyone out. Basically, decisions that affect the club are being made without group input and without a sense of collective efficacy.
Could this be you? When the workweek is hectic and complex, do you shut out your fellow sales team members?
In our Through the Eyes of the Sales Rep survey, we clearly see that keeping good communication between you and your sales team is an important trait of top sales managers. Reps who indicate their manager is an ‘excellent leader’ are more likely to agree that the team is usually involved when important decisions are being made.
For sales managers, a good portion of the job involves making important and often tough decisions. When possible, counsel with your team to include their input, ideas, and insight. Other times, you may find that counseling ahead of time with your team isn’t possible or where the right answer will likely be unpopular. In these types of situations, explaining your decision making process is critical and serves two purposes.
First, by explaining your thought process, you are building collective efficacy. In other words, when everyone is kept informed and feels involved, the sense of commitment to and connection with the team is strengthened.
Second, explaining how you came to a conclusion is a coaching opportunity. By walking through the problem, the choices, and your final solution, you are also teaching problem solving skills. Using real-life examples in this way is an effective way to prep reps for future decisions they will need to make on their own.
As our data and the Sons of Anarchy help illustrate, keeping lines of communication and input open are important traits of a good leader. For more ways to improve your sales coaching leadership abilities, join us this spring for our Sales Coaching Summit: