As Head of Sales or Vice President Sales…will your salespeople run through a wall for you?

I don’t care what business you’re in your ability to inspire and get the most out of your direct reports remains to be an obscure trait. Having been in the sales business for many years as an individual sales contributor and sales leader I’ve yet to put my finger on that magic trait that some people have in getting others to follow. Now, I hear most of you reading this passage yelling “it’s charisma”, “charm”, “intelligence”, “good looks”, “being famous” etc etc…all traits that do not guarantee support from others. Let’s look at it this way if you’ve been in any relationship whether being married, best friend of someone, or great relationship with work colleague I think many of you would agree that these superficial traits fade over time right? When you meet me for the first time I’m fairly charismatic with a sprinkle of intelligence but that doesn’t mean you have my best interest, you may not have my best interest for a few meetings….that’s the reality of our existence as human beings. People either follow, support, and yes LOVE those who have their best interest over time. I literally laugh hysterically when I come in contact with people who brag about the number of twitter followers they have as if to say “I’m more important than you because so many people follow me” and the kicker is most of these people who follow you do so because they want to be followed how crazy is that?!

I’ve come to realize that in order to really inspire and obtain the most out of your salespeople, you must put in the time by telling them the “What”/”Why”/”WIIFT” (“What’s In It For Them”). Truly it’s the 3 W’s of connection that should be the consistent message over time in building that relationship with your salespeople.

The outline explains each below:

  • WHAT: What is the strategy/goal that you are trying to accomplish as a team? Is that strategy/goal a realistic attainment? Trying to accomplish “the impossible” while inspiring may fade and create false hope that can under mind your credibility.
  • WHY: Why should we do this? You have to coherently explain with “confidence” the purpose of this particular undertaking. The “Why” is where many sales leaders fail at getting support from their salespeople because they either assume there’s an understanding of “Why”…..or heck sometimes they don’t even know “Why”.
  • WIIFT: What does all this mean for me? Salespeople can be some of the most narcissistic human beings on the planet earth; I know this because I was one of them. This is by far the most important “W” out of the 3 because it takes focus, patience, and humility on the part of the sales leader. The philosophy that “it’s all about my salespeople” can be a challenge for many sales leaders to fully comprehend because many of them got to where they are by thinking “it’s all about me”. 

Great Head Coaches, CEOs, Teachers, and Sales Leaders don’t just happen each has a desire to connect, coach and care for those that report to them. Leadership quite frankly is not a difficult concept however it does take one’s ability to hyper focus on one thing…the other person.



Check out my presentation on “Developing A Sales Team For EXCELLENCE!


Andre’ Harrell (AH2 & Beyond Consulting)


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