Extraordinary sales leaders aren’t born, they’re created. They are shaped by life, work experience, training, adversity, success, and more.
The problem is, extraordinary sales leaders are extremely rare. You might not recognise one at first because you might not have ever met one before.
So what makes a good sales leader? Most extraordinary leaders share a similar set of characteristics. Here are six key personality traits we’ve observed among them over the years. Look out for these traits when recruiting your next sales superstar.
Surprisingly, being sales-driven is a trait you can’t take for granted when leading a sales team. Once someone is promoted to a leadership role, other responsibilities vie for their attention – for example, systems, processes, products, recruitment, and staff training.
It takes an extraordinary leader to maintain a sales-driven approach while also keeping up with the other demands of the role. The best leaders understand that prioritising sales is paramount and must take priority.
“Research shows that sales-focused CEOs generate more revenue and shareholder return than CEOs who are not sales-focused,” says Grant Holland, SalesStar chief executive – Australia and New Zealand.
“And, of course, the next tide of sales-focused CEOs will come from current sales leaders.”
You are unlikely to come across an extraordinary team leader in their early 20s; they simply won’t have amassed enough experience. Time ‘in the game’ is essential.
“Most extraordinary team leaders are shaped by their career experiences to-date. They have usually spent time in challenging industries with little to no product differentiation, forcing them to think creatively about how to gain a competitive advantage,” says Paul O’Donohue, SalesStar founder and group CEO.
“Adversity gives extraordinary leaders a chance to truly shine.”
Extraordinary leaders are deep thinkers. They are quick to identify patterns and make intuitive decisions based on trends. They never “hope for the best” or rely on luck to get them through tough times. Instead, they strategise for success.
Imagine being able to rely on your team to meet their targets consistently, year after year.
One trait that always sets extraordinary team leaders apart from the rest is consistency. Their ability to produce predictable, consistent results – no matter what the market is doing – is what makes them so exceptional (and rare).
“An extraordinary sales team leader will never back away from making their numbers. They are disciplined and they engineer success,” says Grant.
If you really want to put someone’s leadership to the test, observe how they respond to a challenging environment. What do they do when external factors threaten sales? How do they react to hostile market conditions?
Extraordinary leaders are incredibly adaptable. They move with the market, not against it. They manage to produce good results even when nothing seems to be going their way.
Lastly, extraordinary leaders are highly respected by their teams. They are personable, approachable, and know how to get the most out of their reps.
“They have an ability to make magic – to make sales teams, clients and prospects feel a deep and personal level of engagement. They have the EQ to unlock the best from people,” says Grant.
They understand that, at the heart of everything, sales is about people and performance. And they are extremely motivated to produce extraordinary results every single day.