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If you're like most Sales Managers, you came to this position because you had great success as a salesperson. But managing your own sales is not the same as managing your team. As a salesperson, you could easily measure your success through numbers of appointments made and vehicles sold. As a Sales Manager, your success is measured by the success of others. That's not always an easy transition to make. However, it is ultimately a rewarding one. Being a Sales Manager provides you with the opportunity to share your knowledge and expertise, and to help others grow professionally and personally. As the saying goes, when you elevate the success of others, you elevate your own as well.
Today, salespeople respect those Managers who are tuned into their needs, and who are willing to come out of their offices and give them the attention and training they want. The best Sales Managers are available whenever needed, but know when to let go and let a salesperson experience success (and perhaps failure) on his/her own.
Keep in mind that just because you were a great salesperson doesn’t mean you’ll make a great Sales Manager. The best take the skills they've learned on the showroom floor, and add the traits of effective leadership. Your role as a leader will then be to encourage your people to succeed. There may be substantial monetary rewards in being a great sales leader, but the greatest reward is having helped others reach their goals. Your material possessions won't really matter once you’re gone. Your greatest legacy is the people you've helped build, who are left to build others in the same way.
If you can look down the road and realize that you're changing the lives of the people on your team, that should be the major reason why you became a Sales Manager. The thrill is no longer in the individual sale; it's in your team's success. The times when you have to sit back and watch your salespeople fail are frustrating. But it's part of the job — to let go of the leadership position, where you show them how to do it — to letting them show you how they do it.
My suggestion to you is be passionate about your work, and remember that enthusiasm is catching. Be proud of what you do, and be proud of what you have to share with your salespeople. Let your effort and activity levels be a model for your salespeople to follow, and you’ll find that your legacy will be intact.
ps: You should know that I became interested in Management when I first became a salesperson. We had several Sales Managers in my dealership. One of them was a task-oriented Sales Manager who concentrated on his own agenda and pretty much stayed to himself, and one Sales Manager, Roger, who was people-oriented and cared about his staffs success.
Roger was the type of Manager that didn’t have to tell his salespeople what to do. If the lot needed to be changed, he went out to begin the process and his salespeople followed. If we had a contest, he made it fun to participate. If he came in to help close a deal, he would develop a plan of attack with you before he went in. If we were in a slump, he wanted to know why so he could help us get out of it. If we were down, he was motivating. When we came to work in the morning, we were happy he was there. He wanted us to work with him to increase sales for ourselves and the dealership, not work for him.
I’m telling you this story because I learned from the very best Sales Manager there ever was. I truly feel my success as a Sales Manager, and eventually a business owner and trainer was directly related to having known Roger. I am his legacy.
This is the introduction to my newest book, Under New Management: Sharpening Your Skills as an Automotive Sales Manager. To learn more about this, and I must say, outstanding work, visit http://www.autosalesmanager.net.