How to be a sales leader

Most people do not start out thinking they are a natural manager. Everyone starts with self-doubt, worrying about their own limitations. Surprisingly, we all suffer from Imposter Syndrome.

I’ve been through it and here are my tips to make a good showing until your experience helps you believe in yourself.

Start by at least pretending to be self-confident

First of all, doubt aside, presumably someone put some consideration into hiring you, appointing you. You didn’t just walk in and sit at the manager’s desk, right?

And if you worry whether you are “good enough” to be a manager, then I suggest that you have the right temperament and inclination to be a good manager.

When I say “pretending” I mean that you should act like a manager despite your self-doubt. Presumably you’ve seen other managers and know what is expected. You may even have seen what not to do!

In your daily interactions you should try and act like the best version of any manager that you’ve worked for or even admired from afar.

Read and be informed

Being a manager comes with heavy responsibilities. So, read and educate yourself constantly.

Read everything about your company, your company’s products and services and your Industry. For example, if you are an IT sales manager, make sure you keep up with developments in the world of IT – especially your competitors and partners.

By doing this, you will also act as a model for your team members to emulate.

Think before you decide or act

Make decisions based on good information and data. Asking for input from your team is the mark of a good Manager because you acknowledge that you have talented people working for you and benefit from their input.

Get to know your team members

Get to know who they are professionally.

Sales people are put under a lot of stress to achieve their targets. And this stress may also be compounded by personal stress.

If you are going to advise and manage individual team members, then spend time getting to know them – listening to them and understanding them.

Don’t avoid managing conflicts

Think carefully about how you handle conflicts. Team members may come into conflict with each other or with members of other teams. Sometimes with Customers.

You owe your team members to fully understand any conflict situation they are in. You are responsible for hearing their perspective.

Team members need to feel that you will be able to support them if they feel that they are the injured party. Or, if they are in the wrong, that you will help them address the conflict and help them to do better and be better, and get them out of trouble!

Help your team members to develop

It may be that your company offers instruction and training for employees, whether it’s about new products or new sales techniques or even self-development. But you can’t abrogate your own responsibility here.

If you want the team to succeed then you need to inject yourself into their development. When you look at their individual training, you might decide to add to it, based on a specific area of weakness you have observed. Maybe they need to improve their presentation skills or their analysis of business opportunities.

What I mean is, you should proceed as if you are going to be a good manager. If you act in this way, before long you will actually be the manager you want to be, and will even start to forget your self-doubts.