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Do High-Performing Salespeople Need to be Led?

relationship-salesRecently I found myself in a discussion with several sales managers over the topic of dealing with high-performing salespeople.

One of the managers stated clearly that he didn’t want to try and lead the top-performer, for fear of risking something bad happening.

As our discussion moved along, several others added in that when the end of the quarter is approaching, the last thing any of them want to do is disrupt the flow of their top salespeople by spending time with them.

There are two issues with this belief, and I hate to say it, but it’s a common belief I hear from sales managers.

First issue is that this belief implies the salesperson is stronger than the sales manager.

I’m not saying the sales manager should be a better salesperson, but I do think they should have something they can bring to the party. Don’t underestimate the role you play as a manager.

Second issue is it says there is no possibility for stronger results than the top performing salesperson is already delivering.

Think of a top performing athlete. Did they get this way all on their own?  No. They got to be the best because of the coaches they had working with them.   Just as with most sales managers, the performance of the athlete is most likely better than what the coach could do if the coach was in the competition.  This still does not mean the athlete isn’t benefiting from the coach.

Minimally, the sales manager should be working with the top performing salesperson in setting goals and evaluating them along the way.  Also, the sales manager should be working with the salesperson to simply evaluate what is happening and their outlook about their job.  The best way to do this is by asking questions.

By asking the top peforming salesperson questions, you as the sales manager have the same goal as a salesperson has with a customer.  Your goal is to get the salesperson to see for themselves things they might otherwise be missing.  This, in turn, can have a positive impact on their skills and their performance.

Regardless of how strong of a sales manager you are or how inadequate you may feel, if you avoid coaching the top gun salesperson, you will never know how much success you and the salesperson could have achieved.  

You are a sales leader. Your actions should reflect this.

Copyright 2013, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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2 thoughts on “Do High-Performing Salespeople Need to be Led?”

  1. Coaches need to work with their Top Performers to keep the roadblocks out of the way, learn from them to replicate behaviors with underperforming protégés and send the message, “continuous improvement” is important to the strategic growth of the firm. Your post is right on!

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