Sales Leadership is…

Jeff Williams

Hello, it’s Jeff Williams, President of Absolute Results.

This video is for my trainers who lead Sales Leadership Workshops and who Facilitate World Class Events for Absolute Results in over 2000 dealership in 19 countries every year. Trainers, every year you coach more than 6,000 sales managers, and 15,000 sales professionals, so I need you all thinking, speaking and acting like a Sales Leader. 

Today we’re going to define the 3 pillars of Sales Leadership, and give you a practical exercise to do today for each one

Sales Leadership is built on three pillars…thinking right, working hard, and being a good person.

Now let’s take a few minutes and break each of these down…

Thinking right.

Thinking right is not about being smart, if you are smart you wouldn’t have a leadership position (I hope). And its not primarily about working smarter or more efficiently, because many of the things you need to do as a leader are highly inefficient but very effective (like spending time coaching your people) 

We are going to discuss 2 elements of Thinking Right.

We’re going to talk about a Leader’s Perspective, and a Leaders Mindset.

Firstly, a Leader’s Perspective. Most leader’s vision is like this – they see what’s right in front of them but no further. We often talk in the car business about living in a 30 day year…when we don’t have a leader’s perspective we are literally living just day to day and even deal to deal, and that’s not leadership. That’s so often why dealers find themselves with too much inventory, a constantly revolving sales force etc…they aren’t looking past the pain of today…Sales Leaders have a wider perspective…they have a perspective that includes tomorrow and it affects everything from how they structure deals…and how they prepare for tomorrows business, today

Next, a Leader’s Mindsets…mindsets are like glasses, it’s how they view their work. 

You have heard the saying that some people see the world through rose color glasses…Leaders look through the lens of leadership which allow them to see deeper through things and bring solutions. In our Sales Leadership training we go deep into 6 mindsets.

Here is one examples for us today and this is what your homework is:

Many sales managers think that their job is to Manage Activity, but a sales leader, know their job is to Inspire Activity…if the activity would happen without you, the dealer wouldn’t need you…so lets think of our world class events…the number one activity that determines the success of the event is the appointment making activity, so I want you to list 5 things new and innovative that you can do different to Inspire appointment making activity… 

The old school management mindset was that a manager is to direct and correct…don’t do this, do this…try doing that with a team of millennials and  they will walk out…a Sales leaders, the best trainers and sales manager inspire their teams to core activities that generate sales opportunities. 

Let’s talk about Working Hard.

Working hard isn’t about how many hours we work. We are in the retail car business, of course we will work long hours…it’s what we spend those hours working on.

We have a saying at AR that if the majority of our work isn’t focused on two things: selling cars today, or creating opportunities to sell cars tomorrow, we aren’t a Sales Leader.  And yes it’s hard work to come in early, look at our day, decide the priorities and to stick to them.

It’s hard work to build a pro-active appointment culture, when we are used to living in a re-active, “come to work to wait” culture

As a trainer or a Sales Managers, Its hard work to not be comfortable with some of the “nice perks of our job”, the prestige of being the expert, the meetings with the dealers owner etc, rather than to get on the showroom and invest daily time with our team, helping them make appointments and sell cars…because their success is truly our success – and that’s easier to say than to live.

I mentioned earlier that coaching your people is inefficiently hard work, but very its some of the most effective hard work, it takes times, and truly effective coaching moments only come when we have done the intentional and daily hard work of connecting with our people, daily huddles, daily one on ones, regular sales rallies. The auto industry has talked for years about building success on the success of your people, and when margins were big it was easy to pay lip service and lie to ourselves about the quality of our relationships with our team. If we truly want to build our success on our people, then we will need deeper relationships with our team and that has a price as well as a rich reward. The questions is whether we are willing to work hard at connecting with our team, building their practical hard skills and then modeling to them with our actions, the relational soft skills.

So let’s define working hard – it’s looking at everything we do through the lens of “is this activity directly related to selling a car today or creating an appointment – an opportunity to sell cars tomorrow.

Trainers, I’d like you to think of 5 activities that you can delegate or do in advance of the event so that you can be more focused on deal and appointment activities during your world class events.

That’s Working Hard

The third Pillar of Sales Leadership is Being a Good Person…this too is hard work in the highly transactional based retail car business, but it’s rewarding hard work. 

At its core, being a good person is about coming to work as a leader each day with the specific goal of adding value to our sales team and to our customers. Today we will focus solely on adding value to our team.

With our team, it means being super clear, because to be unclear is to be unkind. Being clear about our work expectations, and exactly what daily efforts and activity we expect from our team. Being clear about our goals for each individual and the team. It’s definitely not about putting one person ahead of the team, its about being clear how each team members effort contributes to the team’s success, and then holding them accountable to their effort, because it affects the whole team

Its about being honest about each team members capacity and their potential, while still challenging them…giving them the opportunity to achieve, and when they do achieve, celebrating their success.

Its about owning their success…a 6 car sales professional usually has a 6 car manager – painful, but true…their success either isn’t important to you, or you tolerate it, so you need to invest the time to find out what’s stopping them and then either coaching them or replacing them, for their own success and the success of the team.

It means regular communication by the leader to the team…positive communication in public and negative in private…

And, it’s about celebrating their success.

A leader who is a good person is intentional about adding value by working on clarity, developing the capacity of their team, regular communication, and celebration

That’s Being A Good Person

So trainers, let’s think of 3 ways you can better communicate your expectations and 3 ways you can celebrate the success of Sales Professionals at your world class events

So in summary, leaders

Think Right – have a leader’s wider field of view that sells cars today in a way that increases the opportunities to sell cars tomorrow

Work Hard – on activities that are about selling cars today or creating opportunities to sell cars tomorrow

Be A Good Person – add value to your team by working on clarity, communication and developing their capacity, and celebrating success

The retail auto industry needs Sales Leaders who think right, work hard and who are good people

Now let’s lead well!

Listen Now
Jeff Williams


Jeff Williams is the CEO of Absolute Results and has dedicated the last 20+ years to helping dealerships, OEM’s, and sales people across the globe rethink how they sell cars. His three greatest passions are his family, his business, and his charity work.

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Yvan Boutin

List 5 activities you can delegate…can you help me with this one. I was thinking; have someone to inflate the balloons instead of me, get the balance from bank before the appontement, get the trade quote ready, get the right car for the road test etc. Is this what you are referring to?