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Three Investments a Sales Leader Must Make

Many of the most important investments a leader can make are not financial in nature. But these non-financial investments are what improve financial results.

These investments, even though they are not financial, are among the most expensive investments a leader can make. You see, they are an investment of her time.

An Investment in Listening

Listening is the ultimate sign of caring. We teach our salespeople that they must care about our clients in order to win their business and succeed in helping them achieve results. We teach them to care, and we teach them to listen.

Our caring for and about our people precedes their caring for our customers. They care for our clients in exact proportion to how we care for and about them.

People don’t do what they are told. Organizational chart authority is the weakest form of authority; you are being judged on your moral authority, and it is only your moral authority that your salespeople will follow. You have to walk the talk when it comes to listening.

Listening to your people reinforces that you care about them and their ideas. Making the investment of your time to listen reminds your salespeople that you care about their ideas, and that they are personally important to you.

An Investment in Communicating Values and Goals

For your salespeople to believe, you have to invest in communicating your values and your goals. You values provide meaning. They provide the reason why we do what we do and, more importantly, why we do not do what we do not do.

Communicating values is more difficult than simply communicating roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities. And it’s more important.

The investments you make in communicating your values bring life to your goals. They values give the goals meaning and purpose. Values help to provide the mission, the answer to the question: “Why?”

An Investment in Coaching

When I was young, I believed that you hired great people and you left them alone to do their jobs. I was wrong. This is a certain form of neglect.

Your job as a leader is to remove obstacles, and that extends to the internal obstacles that your people face. Your role as a leader means removing the obstacles that prevent your people from reaching their full potential.

Coaching, directive or non-directive is the right tool for developing your people and helping them remove obstacles. Coaching is another investment of the leader’s time. It is a serious commitment, and it is the most powerful tool in the leader’s development toolbox.

Coaching moves people through their personal obstacles and rockets them towards greater performance. It is an investment worth making.

Questions

Why is it easier for a leader to commit to financial investments than non-financial investments?

What makes non-financial investments so expensive?

What happens when these non-financial investments aren’t made?

What other non-financial investments does a sales leader need to make?


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Comments

comments

  • http://theasggroup.com Johnogorman

    Hi Anthony lots to ponder in this post. As we are working on a project right now around incentives, I would suggest the sales manager really needs to take the time out to decide on the exact behaviours he/she needs the team to work towards. I guess this falls under the category non financial investment (in the form of time)? Defining, refining and working on getting these behaviours right links to your point about values and will supports listening, coaching and attainment of financial goals.

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      I agree, John. The behaviors and incentives all flow from the leader’s value and the leader’s goals, the “why.” I don’t think any leader disagrees with any of these ideas; I think we struggle to make the investment of time when there are so many competing demands. But, these are the underlying investments that we need to make.

      Thanks for your always thoughtful comments!

      A

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      I agree, John. The behaviors and incentives all flow from the leader’s value and the leader’s goals, the “why.” I don’t think any leader disagrees with any of these ideas; I think we struggle to make the investment of time when there are so many competing demands. But, these are the underlying investments that we need to make.

      Thanks for your always thoughtful comments!

      A

  • http://openviewpartners.com/ Brian Zimmerman

    Anthony great post!!  Many of these go overlooked by todays managers.

    • http://www.thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Brian!

  • http://www.ithakaleadership.co.uk/ Leader Development

    Great post Anthony. I never though about an approach like this to tell leader’s investments. All three are perfect with no objections. These are the must things a leader should invest to succeed and achieve company goals. Brilliant. 



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