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Be ready to change hats often, and every sales manager has not one job, but four.

You know as a leader, you're going to have many different roles throughout the day when you interact with your team and your coworkers. We call them the four hats of leadership. Those four hats are supervision, training, mentoring, and coaching. All four of them are equally as important. Supervision, goal setting, setting expectations, having daily conversations, sales funnel management. All the things that you would do day by day to set the stage and what you would consider general management stuff is supervision. You're going to spend the majority of your time in that role.

When it comes to training, you're going to spend time on training. What do you do with training? That's where you're teaching the skills necessary for your people to succeed. If they're in charge of finding that new business, you may be training them on how to get past the gatekeeper. Here's your script, here's how you write a letter on LinkedIn to get people to say "yes, please call on me." The list goes on and on and on.

Then, of course, you have mentoring. Mentoring is where really somebody that has the experience and the trust of the organization that they do a good job is helping those who don't have that level of success. It doesn't have to be an age issue. It's not necessarily an old and a young. It's an experienced and an inexperienced. It's really in a particular role, because even me, after 30 years, I could be mentored in many different areas. It doesn't mean that I don't have 30 years of experience. It doesn't mean that I'm not great in certain things. We all could excel, and mentoring is focused in on, "how do I think about certain things? Here's how I attack this market. Here's how I look at this." It's not the words that you use, it's more of the approach, the thoughts and the strategic things.

Finally, coaching. Coaching is where you're showing people how to apply the skills necessary. This is where you're helping people take their game to the next level, and you're helping them uncover hidden areas that are holding them back from being even more successful. Coaching, you may help them understand that fear of talking to strangers is something they should be working in. It has nothing to do with their script. You're helping them, coach, take care of these demons called fear, doubt, and worry. That's an issue, that's a coaching thing.

Whether you have the supervision hat on or the training or the coaching, all four are important. Here's what you have to figure out. Where do you spend your time now? Where do you spend your time every single day? Create a pie chart for yourself. Say, over the last week, how much time am I spending in coaching? How many time in training? How much time am I spending in supervision and mentoring? Do an as-is model for yourself. Once you've seen that, determine what it should be, if you were in total control of your time, what should it be? Then decide, also, where's your highest impact? Is it training, is it coaching? Figure out, “Can somebody else help you with the training if you're spending the majority of time in training and not doing any supervision and not doing any coaching?”

If you're skewed one way, how do you backfill that? Because spending all your time supervising, I get it, but you're not developing your people. Eventually, your stronger people will leave you. Why? They want your attention. Why? They want to be developed. When people stop stretching and growing, they leave the organization. You have to be well rounded as a sales leader. By wearing and understanding each of these four hats, you are well on your way to being flexible and also being great at each of these four roles. Good luck.

THE SANDLER RULES FOR SALES LEADERS details a sales management process that works. It offers 49 timeless, proven principles for effective sales leadership, based on the Sandler Selling System. The book is the sequel to the Wall Street Journal bestseller THE SANDLER RULES, also authored by David Mattson. 

Interested in Sandler Training? Contact us today.


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