October 8, 2018
BIZ BOOKS

How to manage a sales team

"The Sales Boss — The Real Secret to Hiring, Training and Managing a Sales Team" by Jonathan Whistman (John Wiley & Sons, $30).

Having managed sales teams for over 20 years during my corporate career, I know that sales management isn't like managing any other process in a business. In sales, no two days are alike. In order to respond quickly to the "you don't know when they're coming" requests and concerns of customers and prospects, the salespeople and support staff are always "on." They juggle stop-that-do-this shifts in priorities constantly.

Whistman stresses that the role of the sales boss (SB) requires a high EQ (emotional intelligence) because the team's attitude and mentality fluctuates based upon the day's happenings. He sees the SB as "the thermostat, not the thermometer." As a thermostat, the SB monitors the "temperature" of the staff and works to smooth out their emotional peaks and valleys, and given the number of times salespeople hear "no" before hearing "yes," the valleys outnumber the peaks.

A high EQ SB connects with the emotions of those involved and transitions their focus from "what happened," to "what was learned and what's next." The learning drives the results of what's next. By maintaining the even-keel perspective, the SB gains the trust and respect of the team.

To exercise EQ, the SB must be actively engaged. That doesn't mean micromanaging. It does mean "involvement without control" by knowing who's doing what. To become involved, the SB readily seeks feedback, which helps gauge "temperature" and team rhythm and drives EQ-based actions.

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