Direct Sales Leadership: Lead to Succeed

We’re hot and heavy into the Small Biz Super Summit (formerly the Direct Sales Super Summit) and I’m excited to share the stage tonight with Nicki Keohohou from the Direct Selling Women’s Alliance (DSWA). Our conversation looks at the traits that are so necessary to build a successful organization in direct sales. But it’s a conversation suited to anyone looking to assume a leadership role in their business.

Whether you’re an army of one or a seasoned leader with thousands of people in your organization, in my opinion, there are commonalities that all successful leaders share:

  • The ability to engage the emotions of their team. It’s not enough to know the “why” that encourages people to join your team in the first place, you also need to understand the “what” that almost FORCES them to stick around. When you engage with your team at this deep emotional level, your entire organization will thrive and achieve more.
  • The ability to ask the right questions. Throw out the “yes/no” questions, and spend time digging into the heart of any issue your team faces: recruiting, bookings, sales. “How can I get more bookings on my calendar?” The answer often lies in the very questions your team asks. “Well, what are you presently doing, and what HAVEN’T you tried?”
  • Being accountable, but not responsible. As a leader, it’s your job to provide tools and resources – to lead a horse to water, so to speak. It’s not your responsibility to “make them drink”. You can’t want their success more than they do.You have to remain committed to helping them, without being attached to the outcome of the effort they invest in their business. You are accountable to your entire team to provide help. THEY are responsible for taking advantage of the help you provide.
  • Not having all the answers. Leaders aren’t charged with knowing everything – they are charged with knowing enough. Leaders need to know enough to point team members in the right direction. They are to serve as a resource or connecting point and to help empower others on the team to fulfill their areas of expertise and share them with the organization. No one person can know everything, and to expect that of yourself as a leader will only slow you down.

When you explore leadership, what kind of emotions come up for you? Some people feel their stomach tighten at the very thought to leading a team, others will salivate at even the smallest opportunity to be in the spotlight. Neither is the mark of a true leader. Leaders aren’t know-it-alls. They know enough to track, train and keep an open mind about new things that they themselves can learn. Leadership isn’t about the number of people subordinate to you, but how you serve others on your team.

But Nicki says there are 6 skills that every leader must possess. I’m anxious to learn more tonight and share her thoughts at the Super Summit. If you’d like to hear from Nicki, there’s still time.

We’d love to have you on the call!