Influence is described as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself. It’s what great sales managers do.
The best sales managers influence their salespeople to consistently execute the right selling behaviors and attitudes every day. They do this through the development of their own influence skills: Emotional self-awareness and empathy.
Without emotional self-awareness, sales managers aren’t AWARE of how they are showing up to coaching conversations with their sales team. Sales management is a big job, with multiple priorities competing for attention. With emotional self-awareness, sales managers can show up to coaching conversations half-present. They are physically present, but not mentally, and the salesperson knows it. As a result, the coaching conversation is superficial. Who really wants to put in the effort of holding a conversation with a person that isn’t fully present?
Low emotional self-awareness leads to low other awareness, which leads to low empathy because empathy is a paying-attention skill. You must be present to win. The half-present sales manager misses the real coaching conversation, the one that’s not being verbalized by the salesperson, such as:
- “I’m not sure how to keep up with all the information that is coming to me. How do I remain relevant in an ever-changing business environment?”
- Imposter syndrome. “I know I’m supposed to call on bigger opportunities, but I don’t know that I’m good enough.”
- “I’m wondering if I’m cut out for this business. My last two deals fell out of the sales pipeline.”
Sales managers that aren’t aware and fully present end up working on the wrong end of sales-performance issues. They default to auto pilot, dispensing the same information about tactical and strategic selling skills, when they should be focused on improving the salesperson’s mindset or ability to handle adversity.
Influence is the ability to affect the behavior of another human being. It’s what great sales managers do. Develop the two Es of influence by developing your emotional self-awareness and empathy.