There’s a common misconception that sales managers must be good talkers. Its true that any leadership position requires superb communication skills in which you can clearly articulate your thoughts through the words you use and the way you communicate.

But if you are always talking and never listening, then youre going to have a real hard time leading your sales team…because you’ll never know what really matters to them.

Being a great sales manager is more than just knowing to say the right things at the right time. It’s also knowing when the close your mouth and let the other person do the talking.

Simply put, a top sales manager asks more than tells, listens more than talks.

A top sales manager is first a listener, and then a speaker.

Average sales managers never know when to shut up. They speak their mind bluntly, thinking the best solution to every problem is to rush into it head-on. On the other hand, a top sales manager withholds his, or her, ideas and opinions—he or she will say it when the time is ripe. The top sales manager also recognizes that the solution must come from the sales person himself. The top sales manager is simply there to guide, not direct.

How do you do this? Simple. You ask questions that encourage awareness and self-assessment. Listen carefully to your sales reps’ feedback in order to gain a thorough understanding of their likes and dislikes, their strengths and their weaknesses. This sort of information is your trump card to great sales management.

Lastly a top sales manager isn’t afraid to ask for feedback on his or her own performance. We are all learning and growing in our respective careers, including you, the sales manager. You are not exempted from having to face your own strengths and weaknesses as a team leader. If you could make the time to listen to the problems of your sales reps, why not go all the way and ask their suggestions for coaching practices and ideas, as well as what they think of your performance as sales manager?

Remember, a top sales manager is a good speaker, but he is first and foremost a great listener.

To learn more about sales management, visit my blog about sales management training at

Author's Bio: 

Ralph Burns, a consistently top-performing sales manager with over 20 years of sales and sales management experience.