Kevin F. Davis
Off the Cuff Interview Question: “How can a successful salesperson be promoted to sales manager?”
Other than the obvious advice to be sure and hit your numbers consistently, what can a salesperson do to increase their chances of being promoted into sales management leadership? Answer: Do everything you can to prepare yourself to succeed in the position. To prove that you are serious about wanting to move up into a leadership position, you should take steps now that demonstrate you’re starting to think more like a manager than a rep. Here are 3 steps you can take:
1. Critically examine what it takes to sell effectively
Just because you are good at selling doesn’t mean that you can teach others how to sell. To do the latter, you have to understand and be able to simply explain all the components of effective selling. So starting today, take time after every customer meeting to ask yourself some questions: Was I fully prepared? What one or two questions should I have asked that I didn’t? Did I make a real connection to the prospect? How would I explain what I did well, and what I did not so well, to someone else?
2. Pay more attention to other reps’ strengths
Every salesperson has unique strengths. Some succeed because of a higher activity level; others because they’re more consultative sellers and so have higher win-rates; still others are great at social media and networking. Suppose that Ann is another rep in your company who is very successful. Ask yourself, “What unique things does Ann do really well, better than others, that contributes to her success?”
A common mistake many new sales managers make is to hire reps in their own image, someone who reminds them of themselves. If you have a greater appreciation for other success attributes besides those possessed by you, you will be positioned to make better hiring decisions and build a stronger team.
3. Get ahead of the curve: Study how to become a great sales manager
Learning from the school of hard knocks is no fun. It takes way too long to learn and it’s far too stressful along the way.
Know this: that managing and leading a sales team requires a completely different set of skills from selling. The pathway to becoming a great sales manager starts with you admitting to yourself that you have a lot to learn. The key to ensuring a smooth transition into the role is to study as much about leading and managing others as you can.
Good luck along your path!
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