Now we’ve all had them.

If you haven’t had them, then you will have them.

If you have had them, then you know exactly what I am talking about.

And those are the most difficult sales people, the ones that are motivated through a variety of different motivations, but the biggest one is the need to be assertive and to have power of their own. And these are typically the type of sales people that are highly opinionated, they are brash at times, they are boorish at times, they are fiercely independent, and they have a strong desire to have their voices heard.

You probably know what these sales people look like if you haven’t had one in your sales management career. If you are a VP who has a bunch of sales managers, you can probably visualize the type of sales person that we are talking about.

This is a double edged sword, because typically these power hungry individuals are your best sales people.

Often times their power or need to be assertive is reflected in a strong desire to succeed.
Typically those things go hand in hand, not always, you do have some opinionated sales people that are not successful

The ones that I have had in my 15+ year sales management career are power-centric, but also they are very successful because of their domineering style or their highly opinionated ways and their drive to succeed at all costs.

The reason that this kind of sales person is the most challenging from a leadership perspective is because most sales managers perceive these people as a direct threat to authority.

This is very common, because if you are a new sales manager, and you have a few veterans who sit in the back of the room, who second guess a lot of the things that you say, they complain about company policies and why they make no sense, or things that you have to do. These are the ones that are constantly nit picking maybe even challenging your authority at times, maybe sometimes less obvious and sometimes very obvious and sometimes in a public forum, sometimes in a private forum. It depends; there is no one way that this is done.

This personality type is fairly common amongst sales times. We’ve seen this type of personality pattern repeat itself over and over again throughout most sales teams. The good thing about it is that these type people are in the minority. If you have 100 people in your sales team, maybe 8 or 9% of your team have these personality types. Or if you have 10 sales people, maybe you have 1 or 2 power people at most.

There was one year that I had 6 sales people, and I had 2 of these people, and that was a very long, very painful sales year. However, we did extremely well.

What we will teach you in today’s show as well as next weeks episode is specific techniques on how to deal with this and get through it, but also how to harness the talents of these individual people through this power mechanism and through the ways that you can lead them, motivate them and coach them can get the best out of them and minimize a lot of the conflict and headaches that you are experiencing with them.

Often times the interaction between the sales person and the sales manager with this type of power craving personality style often results in outright conflict due to diametrically opposed ways to how things are done. They are very opinionated on how things should be done. It this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Highly opinionated people are what you want on your sales team.

You don’t want every to follow you without giving you some constructive criticism.

You want people in your group to give you constructive feedback and to question you some what. It keeps you honest and it keeps you on the right path.

Don’t look at it as a threat to your authority, look at it as an opportunity for you to get things right.

The best way to diagnose which of your sales people fall into this category of “power” personality is to take our motivational questionnaire which you can get through our paid membership at The Sales Management Mastery Academy. We take them through many questions which calls out individual characteristics so that you can lead, coach and manage them in the appropriate ways using the techniques.

One of the things about this type of sales person is that power struggles between the sales rep and the sales person rarely end with an environment of motivation. It usually ends with one person being right and one person being wrong and somebody losing face in the process.

As a sales manager, it is not your job to be right.

It is your job to increase sales. How you do that is that you solicit the opinions of others and listen to what they have to say.

Some of your power sales people may have the best ideas.

They may come across as whiners and complainers, and general pains in the neck, but if you filter through all of that, and listen to what they have to say, then you may get some of your best ideas as a sales manager in order to achieve your objective, which is usually increased sales success for the team. Or maybe it is to put yourself in a position to be promoted, or maybe you are the VP of sales and you have your own motivations that you want through the organization.

Harnessing the talents of these power sales people will certainly help you to get there.
Typically they are some of the strongest people on your team.

Contrary to what may appear on the surface, the power sales rep does not want to take away your power.

Let me say that again, contrary to what it may seem on the surface, power sales people do not want to take away your power.

Although it would seem that way because they are constantly challenging your authority these are the people sitting in the back of the room that and questioning everything that you say as you are speaking to your group.
Or they disagree vehemently with some sort of corporate policy that leads to an argument or some sort of internal debate.

If you don’t take things personally, you can get some great ideas out of them.

My point is this; not only can you get great ideas out of them, but don’t look at them as a threat, what they really want is some power of their own.

They don’t necessarily want your power.

If you share your power with another person that craves power does it diminish your own power or does it diminish your authority?

Some managers would say yes, but I challenge you to think differently.

Think of it this way:
If you have a candle and your power sales person has an unlit candle, if you reach over to the wick of your candle and light it with your candle. Then you draw your candle away, is your candle any less bright? Or less lit? No it is not.

It is lit just the same. But you have in turn lit their candle.
By you giving away some of your own power, you don’t diminish your own authority.

It doesn’t undermine your ability to lead your sales team.
If you deal with them in the right way, you can actually harness their innate talents while maintaining your authority by giving some of your power and authority away to them.

That is the key with the power sales person and how to get the best out of them.

Typically they are some of the most competent sales people and maybe some of the best sales people in your group.

The key to all of this is that the sales manager absolutely has to be flexible with his/her approach.
With the power sale person it is especially true.

You are dealing with 10 or 100 different personality types. You can’t manage, lead, and coach every one the same. You need to be flexible; you need to be a chameleon. That is something that we advocate week in and week out in the Sales Management Academy.

When you are dealing with the power sales person, this is especially true. If you have a hot temper, and they say something derogatory, it is up to you to control your emotions and take the high road, and it is up to you to be flexible in your approach, so that you get what you want.

You both want the same thing. They want to be successful, they want to make money, get promoted, move forward in the organization, satisfy their customers, have a feeling of satisfaction when they get home at night, and whatever that motivation is. You can find out through the motivational questionnaire as to what really drives them. One of the things that drive the power sales person is this hunger for assertiveness, the need to be heard. And if you constantly squelch that, you’ll never really be able to get the best out of them

You can maintain that authority, but by giving some of that power away so that you end up sharing your power.

The last part of this is that as a sales manager it is important for you to be not only competent, but also to be a confident sales manager.

So many new sales managers come to us and they are not yet confident in their approach.
If you have been around as a sales manager for a while, and you are listening to the show for new ideas, you probably have a pretty good idea of what your management style is and you have a track record of success. Or maybe you just understand that you have to be flexible and if that is the case, that is tremendous.
When you are dealing with the power sales person you have to be confident and competent.

And you can do this by soliciting their input and gaining feedback from them but really competent and confident sales managers are the only ones that can deal with the power sales person.

Another thing about the power sales person, unlike the other 5 profiles that we have for sales people, the power sales person does not like praise. Most people do like praise, but the power sales person, does not like praise. It may de-motivate them. You have to be careful with using praise and how it is used.

Not using praise, but using another technique in order to get the best out of them and to channel that personalities so that you both get what you want which is increased sales.

If this is channeled effectively, these kinds of sales people can also make extraordinary leaders.

As a sales manager, you should be looking for opportunities to mentor and to help along your sales people in their current role as to whatever their career aspirations may be and to assist them.

There are often times a tremendous leadership underlying quality, but you as a sales manager need to channel it in the right way. These types of sales people do need coaching and mentoring.

To summarize:
How to motivate your sales people that are motivated primarily by power.

  • Usually power hungry sales people are the most challenging because they are a threat to authority
  • These sales people are defiant of corporate policies, sometimes we have power struggles that occur, but often times they are the best sales people on the team
  • Sales managers should channel their energy and drive into the right way
  • Sales managers must be flexible in your approach
  • Sales managers must be both competent and confident: a combination that is effective with the power sales person
  • Be careful with using praise, they may look at it as disingenuous and they may sense false praise
  • Have them mentor under you so that they can move forward in the organization into some sort of leadership capacity
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