I have a very close friend who is an incredibly successful internet entrepreneur.
Despite the fact that he toils in a highly competitive and cut-throat market, he has achieved an unprecedented level of success his peers could only dream of.
Last month, he made an enormous Mistake. It was actually a catastrophic mistake. He was doing a project for one of his clients and documenting its success on his blog and he took his eye off the ball and just plain screwed up.
Instead of hiding from it, burying it, never mentioning it, he did the exact opposite of what most people would do:
He discussed it openly on his blog for his thousands of readers to see.
Curious about this decision to publicly “come clean”, I asked him why.
“I’m actually really happy to make mistakes Ralph (does that sound insane?), in which case I am more than happy to discuss them on my blog. At one time, I hated, hated, hated making mistakes – it was all time wasted, all efforts had gone in the trash can, months of hard work simply vanished. Now I think of any mistakes as just another string in my fiddle”
A “string in my fiddle”…
The odd thing is, he told me that as soon as he admitted this huge mistake on his blog…his readership actually increased. In fact, after his “mistake” post, his readership has doubled in readership and in engagement.
As did his influence and leadership…further reinforcing his spot as one of the pre-eminent gurus in his field.
Mistakes and Sales Management
Do you have a difficult time admitting you’ve made a mistake?
If you answered yes, then you are not alone. I hate to admit I’m wrong too. I mean, who really likes to admit publicly that they are a complete dunce?
Nobody I know…
Counter to what you may think, when you admit a mistake you don’t lose leadership, in face you actually build credibility and followership by admitting you’ve made a mistake.
(Now, of course if you make the same mistake over and over and over again, your salespeople are just going to think you are just plain incompetent).
We’re not talking about that though.
I know its not easy to admit it, but as a sales manager who has endless lists of administrative tasks, upper management initiatives to carry out then monitor, sales goals and sales reports, plus daily reports, monthly reports, presentations, expense reports and HR training sessions to attend…let’s admit – you’ve got a ton of s–t on your plate!
And you are going to make mistakes.
It’s OK though, there’s no reason to hide from them.
Screw Ups Make You a Better Sales Leader
So if you do screw up, do what my friend did…admit it. Talk about it. Let it be known it was your fault. People will forgive you. People will respect you more.
In fact, your salespeople will notice this and follow your sales leadership even more because of it. It makes you more REAL and it enhances your motivational power and your influence.
As a leader of salespeople, I have written many times on the importance of achieving perfection and how you should push and drive your sales people to constantly seek the unattainable, but perfectly seek-able “attainment of perfection”.
Perfection is certainly the ideal goal to shoot for…but in reality, it’s completely unattainable.Human beings have faults and failings and believe it or not…make mistakes. You included.
So don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes, because you WILL make them. If you try to cover them up or blame others, you WILL lose followership and you will lose trust. And your sales reps trusting you is an absolutely essential element if you are really serious about achieving any level of Sales Management success.
When you admit your mistakes openly, you’ll deepen the bond you have with your sales force because they’ll see a little of themselves in you.
And you then become “likeable”.
Hollywood and Sales Management Training
Think of the biggest movies of all time for a minute. Nearly every one of them involved a hero with some kind of flaw:
Superman and Kryptonite
Indiana Jones and snakes
Nemo with that little fin…
The “little flaw”, or lack of perfection makes them…llikeable. It makes them real. It makes them like you and me. It makes us want to follow them through the entire story.
When you admit your mistakes, your sales reps will start following you like Marlin chasing Nemo…
Admit your mistakes, without fanfare, without drama and at the same time you’ll strengthen the sales leadership bond you have with your sales team.
What;s your biggest sales management mistake?
This post first appeared on Sales Management Training For Sales Management Pro, please read the originial post: here