Managing a team of salespeople is no easy task and requires a great deal of work and dedication. It’s a job that requires not only fulfilling your own duties to the best of your ability, but also acting as a guide and a leader to inspire your team to do the same. No matter what kind of training or good advice you have to offer, the most effective way to lead your sales team is by your own example. When it comes to your expectations for your employees, you need to be able to match and even exceed those expectations in your own work. If you fail to lead them by example, you risk losing respect and credibility. Give your team a clear representation of what you expect by modeling it in your own behavior. Here are 6 of the most effective ways you can lead your team by example:
1. Set high expectations
Setting the bar high for yourself and your team shows that you are driven, committed to success, and are willing to put in the hard work to get there. By setting an expectation and adhering to it yourself, you demonstrate the standard of work that you expect. By showcasing the excellent performance you require, you’ll show your team that it’s attainable.
2. Stay involved and up-to-date
The best way to gain respect from your team and encourage their good work is to be involved in what’s going on. Don’t shy away from getting your hands dirty with the less pleasant tasks. One of the most frustrating things for employees is when their manager stays in their office and remains unaware of what’s going on in the rest of the office. In addition to being directly involved, you should also prioritize staying informed and up to date. Try to keep up with the current events in the mortgage realm so that you continue to improve on your expert knowledge.
3. Listen to your sales team
One of the best ways you can model the respect you expect from your team is by being a good listener. In every interaction with your employees as well as with clients and partners, make sure you’re listening actively — listening intently and summarizing, not interrupting, asking questions for clarification, and responding thoughtfully. You should encourage an open forum with your team by planning group meetings as well as individual meetings. This allows employees to discuss any issues or challenges, and it shows that you genuinely respect them and care about what they have to say.
4. Keep a positive disposition
Remaining positive in stressful situations not only improves the morale of the whole team, but it also inspires them to act similarly. Work at keeping a positive attitude, even in the face of frustrating situations and challenges. Letting negative emotions take over and broadcasting them to your team will only make matters worse and continue spreading that negativity. A positive disposition is contagious as well, so set the tone of optimism and positivity for your office.
5. Follow up and follow through
After you’ve met with an employee and discussed something specific (whether it be areas they can improve in or an issue they are having with a colleague), make sure you follow up. Check in with them to show that you’re invested in their progress and success, and they’ll in turn be more invested in the company. Following through with promises is another key attribute of great management. Not only does this increase your team’s trust in you, but it also encourages your team to do the same when dealing with their own client relationships.
6. Accept failure and create solutions
Leaders who expect to avoid failure (their own or that of their employees) are setting themselves up for disappointment. Failing occasionally is not only inevitable, but it’s an important part of learning and growing. Start creating a culture where failure is accepted and be honest about your own failures. This will allow for your team to feel they can take necessary risks along the way and experiment with innovative ideas. Match that acceptance of occasional failure with a willingness to form new solutions. If you can demonstrate how to bounce back from failure and use it to learn and progress, your team will be more apt to follow your lead and do the same.
There are all kinds of managers out there — those who demand excellence from their team without putting in the work and those who take the time to consciously lead by example. True leaders have a team of employees who trust and respect them because they know their manager is invested in each of them personally. If you’re looking for ways to solidify your relationships with your sales team, make sure you are leading by example.