Sales management is a challenging role, one that requires many talents and skills. The effective sales manager must have problem-solving skills in order to properly diagnose sales performance issues.
They are excellent teachers because they’ve learned how to teach and transfer the habits and skills that create top producers.
Let’s add another one to the list: CMO. Chief Motivation Officer. You’re the person that keeps the sales troops positive when all appears negative.
But the most important skill is emotional self-awareness. That which you are not aware of, you cannot change.
The unaware sales manager may be blind to their behaviors that affect their ability to lead and coach.
Without self-awareness, sales leaders unknowingly create sales cultures that don’t feel safe, shutting down communication and sales results. They aren’t aware of that what they are saying or doing creates fear or anxiety.
For example, it’s easy for busy sales managers to show up to coaching sessions hurried and harried. They can say all the right things, but they are unaware that their facial expression and tonality is sending another message: “Hurry up. I have a lot to do.”
Not a safe coaching environment.
The salesperson tunes into the emotional state of the sales manager and chooses not to bring up any real sales challenges. “Maybe it’s not the right time to discuss this. I don’t want to waste my manager’s time. Maybe these issues aren’t big enough to discuss.”
The sales coaching conversation is shallow and superficial rather than deep and beneficial. The salesperson doesn’t receive the necessary coaching to improve sales results.
The emotionally self-aware sales manager recognizes the importance of consistency in words and actions. He models the behaviors he expects from his team instead of the “do what I say but not what I do” approach.
When a seller makes a mistake, he remains calm and centered. He knows emotions are contagious, so he avoids negative behaviors such as jumping to negative judgements, quick conclusions or worse, blame.
His focus is on asking questions to fully understand the selling situation, and to better discuss solutions and valuable lessons learned from the mistake.
This behavior creates a safe working environment.
His sales team learns to remain stable when adversity hits. They model their sales manager’s words and actions.
The result is everyone working together to figure out the root cause of the problem, what they can do to prevent it and how to use the lessons learned to achieve better outcomes on future sales calls.
Emotional self-awareness is an essential skill in leading and developing high-performing sales teams.