You ever read those stories in the news of some guy or girl trying to board a plane with a dog, or a hamster, or a peacock? It’s their emotional support animal because they’re afraid of flying
Well, as their leader, you are your sales reps’ emotional support animal.
Especially with your middle- and bottom-of-the-pack people. Even with the top-of-the-pack, they need less of it, but they still need it. They’ll come to you every now and then, “I’ve got this thing going on and I just need to talk to someone about it.”
Safety and trust. It comes back to safety and trust. And that comes from allowing people to be vulnerable. And you yourself being vulnerable with them plays a big role, so that they know that they’re allowed to do that.
A lot of business owners have this idea, “I don’t want to be a therapist,” or “I don’t want to be a babysitter.” At the end of the day, if you’re a business owner, you have to be whatever you’ve gotta be until you don’t have to be that thing anymore.
You have to know Accounting. You have to be a numbers person. You have to be a systems thinker. You have to be a salesperson. You have to be a marketer. You have to be a copywriter. You have to be everything as a business owner.
And if you’re not, then you’re not going to be able to effectively run a business. There are levels you can reach, where you can get yourself out of certain tasks and roles. But until you’re at that level, you have to do the task.
Elon Musk once said, and I paraphrase, “Entrepreneurship is like chewing glass and staring into the abyss.” The reason he said that is because as a business owner, your job is to find the worst problem in your business and attach it head-on to solve it.
You get paid to solve problems. You get paid in proportion to the size of the problems you solve. And so, as a business owner, you have to find the biggest hairiest, nastiest problem in your business and then go solve it. And you have to do it while you’re solving a bunch of other problems at the same time.
Eventually, you get to a place where you can have a full-time sales director or sales manager and you don’t have to do that. And usually, that’ll happen when you’re at $5 to $10 million a year, somewhere in that range. At that level, the sales director can do the babysitting for you.
But in that gap, from $50,000 to several million, you’re going to have to play a certain role, and part of that is being the coach, being the cheerleader, and being the emotional support your sales team needs.
This is also why some of our clients hire us because they don’t necessarily want to play that role. So, in the interim, we can take the majority – say, 80 percent – of that burden off their plate. But we still need their buy-in.
There’s a common saying, “A fish rots from its head.” Your team is going to trust you more than anybody else. You’re the one who’s putting food on their plate. You’re the one paying their bills. You’re the one deciding their fate, more or less. And so, they’re going to trust you as the commander or the person charge more than anybody else.