When I think of Dr. Oz – a kingpin of medical media – I don’t think of someone who provides advice on leadership. But in the current issue of Fortune, he does just that.
In “the best advice I ever got” column, Dr. Oz talks about becoming chief resident at Columbia University and how he was mentored by Dr. Keith Reemtsra. Dr. Oz noted that the best piece of practical advice he received was: “you have to make everyone feel special.” You have to identify their strength and find a place where they can put those strengths to good use.
Dr. Oz goes on to provide this example: I don’t want all my producers trying to make the same TV show. I direct one producer to focus on weight loss shows while others “specialize” in shows on family issues or international affairs.
But what about sales? Is there applicability of this idea to sales management? The short answer is yes. Of course, sales managers should help each sales rep on their teams to identify their strengths and … help them apply those strengths throughout the sales cycle.
But Dr. Oz introduced an idea that got us thinking about some of the more successful sales managers we’ve worked with over the years. A vast majority of the top sales managers identify the pockets of specialty knowledge residing inside their sales team. Some of the knowledge may be solution-specific based upon what the sales reps sell. While other areas of knowledge are internal to the company, such as how to get a contract through or value adds that can be offered.
Collectively, every sales team has an enormous resident knowledge base. But in many organizations the sales people are spending too much time “reinventing the wheel” when a colleague has “been there, done that”. So what does that mean for sales managers? Top sales managers leverage their sales teams by: analyzing the sales team’s expertise, chronicling it, and then encouraging their sales team to share their knowledge and experiences. The entire sales team may find they net more time to work with their customers … and less time discovering what someone else already knows.
Check out other posts on sales effectiveness at the Sales Training Connection.
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