Do you remember that game show “Let’s Make a Deal.” In a nutshell, the contestant was willing to trade away a prize to see what was behind Door #2. Sometimes it was a brand new car and sometimes it was a bathtub full of baked beans.
Over the years, I’ve come to realize just how fortunate I was.
In the early stages of my career, I witnessed many salespeople come and go, and I naively believed that I was just better.
My perspective shifted as my career progressed, especially when I took on the responsibility of leading a large sales team and playing a key role in the hiring process.
On numerous occasions, I found myself with multiple “can't-miss”, “A+” sales candidates eager to join my team. However, depending on which sales manager I assigned them to, they would either be on their way to success, or on a performance plan within their first 6-12 months.
You can guess which one was which.
For you sports fans out there, it’s the 1st Team All-American Quarterback who is drafted by the Chicago Bears and is labeled a “bust” within a few years…but could’ve been a hall-of-famer had he been drafted by a different franchise.
The BIG question, of course, is why? What do great sales managers do differently?
I’ve discovered that it can be distilled into five key factors, which I call the '5 C’s':
They Care: Effective sales managers genuinely care about their team members as individuals, not just as employees. They invest time in understanding the unique needs, motivations, and challenges of each team member. By showing empathy and support, they build trust, which is crucial in a high-pressure sales environment.
They Communicate: Great sales managers are skilled communicators. They are clear and transparent in their messages. They actively listen to concerns, ideas, and feedback, creating an open and collaborative work environment. They set clear expectations and provide constructive feedback.
They Coach: Sales managers act as coaches, helping their team members improve their skills and achieve their goals. They provide guidance, share best practices, and offer constructive criticism when needed. They identify strengths and areas for improvement and tailor the way they lead and manage.
They Challenge: The best sales managers challenge their team members to reach new heights and exceed their sales targets. They set ambitious but attainable goals and encourage their team to step out of their comfort zones.
They Celebrate: Effective sales managers acknowledge and reward the hard work and successes of their team members. Celebrations can take various forms, from public recognition to incentives, and can foster a positive and competitive spirit.
Burt & Chris embodied the 5 C’s. I'm certain that my time under their direction, guidance, and tutelage was the difference-maker in my early success, confidence, and career as a salesperson. If it wasn’t for them, I don’t know where I’d be.
Over the years, many people have asked me for advice as they embark on a career in sales. My number one recommendation is this: Above money, benefits, title, or perks, seek an organization with a great sales leader.
Carver Peterson helps growth-minded leaders of B2B professional & technical services firms achieve predictable and sustainable revenue growth through a refined strategy, defined process and aligned structure.