Emotional Sales Leadership

I was recently interviewed on a podcast based in Europe around the topic of the importance of emotional leadership. The interviewer asked me a series of questions regarding the topic and why I felt it was a critical success factor for most organizations.

In retrospect based upon the podcast I came away with even a stronger opinion on the topic of generating the right level of emotion-that is positive emotion into the sales team.

It is important to track sales metrics to better understand the sales formula or recipe for success and to analyze leading indicators that will allow the sales manager to better predict future revenues. Balancing the mechanics of sales management with emotional leadership techniques requires the sales manager to take the next step up the ladder of professionalism. Many times we have seen organizations with failing sales or lacking the growth they expect to simply throw money at a sales training organization to fix the problem. That approach simply becomes a band-aid.

I am not saying sales training does not work or is not required but many times the ability of the sales trainer to interject their emotion/passion during the workshop helps pump up the sales team and short term impact occurs, however several weeks later that emotion is no longer felt and sales fall back to the original level. We call this the balloon effect. The air or excitement has seeped out of the balloon and now it is simply limp and looks like it did before the balloon was blown up-just like the underperforming sales team. Many times the sales manager enjoys the emotion as well, but they simply forget to reinforce the sales skills or to build on the positive emotion from the event.

So what specifically can any leader do to create Emotional Leadership?

  • Create an atmosphere of fun: make sure the sales team enjoys their job. This is not to mean that accountability and expectations are not set, it simply means that there is excitement about what the salespeople do and how they do it. HINT: Run an annual sales trip contest.
  • Provide a vision: where will the company/sales team be in 18-24 months? Share an expected Organization Chart and ask the team for their insights. HINT: set sales objectives that lead you to your goal.
  • Focus on training salespeople on belief: focus on how your products/services benefit your clients as much or more as what your products/service do. HINT: Visit client offices to see the impact you company has had on their organization.
  • Create a sales training program on attitude: Use video’s or books that share the concepts of mental preparation and positive attitudes, not the simple rah/rah material but courseware that changes lives. HINT: Twice a year focus on this kind of training.

As sales leaders you must recognize that every time you walk into a room, talk to someone or even send an email the message you send gets magnified. Use emotional leadership to create an environment of high performance.

What other ideas do you have to create that positive emotionally driven sales team?