The fearless sales leader

January 29, 2016



Let’s be honest, sales people are a necessary evil. They serve a sole purpose, that is, to sell. Salespeople should follow simple instructions and essentially do what they are told. Ultimately measured by numbers (not service) they should just focus on results. They whine about a lack of support, the market and competitive forces?! We have a great product that is easy to sell, I wish they’d just start closing and stop complaining! Then we might respect them.

Sound familiar? The above dialogue is of course a dramatic reflection of some of the sales management conversations that are shared across too many businesses. As you can imagine this type of attitude creates a culture of fear among team members that manifests into their salespeople becoming fear based and transactional — which cascades down into the customer experience.

Nearly every mature business has a sales manager/s and team leader/s, but are they effective? Even better, are they fearless?

Why is fearless leadership critical to your sales team’s success? According to research done on transformational leadership by professors Bernard Bass and Bruce Avolio — 45 – 60% of organizational performance is proven to be driven by transformational leadership. In our experience at BOOM! Sales working with sales teams across market leading organisations, these numbers are conservative i.e. the right leadership drives performance.

The most common form of sales leadership is transactional leadership, that is to say, surface level engagement and leading by numbers. A sales culture that is driven by numbers, will ultimately produce a company whose days are numbered. The natural enemy of transactional leadership is fearless leadership. How do we know if we are demonstrating Fearless Leader behaviors?

Here are the traits that define a fearless sales leader: 

  • Leads the charge, but is ready to follow.
  • Clear on the vision and committed to the vision.
  • Transparent and inclusive.
  • Inspires trust through vulnerability with peers and team.
  • Embraces constructive conflict and courageous conversations.
  • Is self aware and self challenging.
  • Has the courage to fail — fuelled by passion.
  • Mentally tough and resilient.
  • Looks beyond self to empower the team.
  • Demonstrates a genuine duty of care.

The fearless sales leader challenges the team to think more deeply about what they do and constantly improve themselves. Weekly training, coaching and role-playing are a given. They reshape culture and drive high standards of performance. This culture then becomes fertile ground that inspires more leaders to grow from within, and grow the business.

This is the place to be if you want to make your mark, but guess what else is happening? The business is winning and so are the customers.

 Trent Leyshan is the founder of sales training company BOOM! Sales and author of Outlaw and The Naked Salesman

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Trent Leyshan

Trent Leyshan is founder and CEO of BOOM! Sales. Sales expert, sought after speaker and facilitator. He is the author of Outlaw & The Naked Salesman.

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