7 Reasons Great Sales People are Like CEO’s

“You are the CEO of your own business.”  I said this all the time during my years leading sales teams. I would say it to every sales person and sales team that worked for me. I believe it.  Great sales people are like CEO’s.

More than any other position, sales has a tremendous amount of autonomy.  Like a CEO, this freedom gives sales people an infinite amount of lattitude in how they are going to attain quota.  Sales is a performance based role, like that of a CEO. Therefore, the best sales people approach sales like a CEO.

Great sales people, like CEO’s

  • Leverage others to help them accomplish their goals – they don’t try to do it all themselves.  Great sales people know how to leverage the entire organization. Good and average sales people try to do it all themselves.
  • Lead – without leadership it’s impossible to gain the support of the organization, to build support teams, to rally the client, and get those teams you need behind you.
  • Problem solve – problem solving is one of the greatest, unmeasured skills today. Great CEO’s problem solve. Great sales people problem solve for their company and their clients.  They have an uncanny knack for understanding how to get around hurdles, address challenges and accomplish what others can not.
  • Have Business Accumen- It goes without saying CEO’s have tremendous business accumen. Unfortunately, most sales people do not. Sales people MUST embrace business knowledge and cultivate their grasp of complex and simple business concepts.  The best sales people rank high in business accumen
  • Take Risks – by definition, CEO’s take measured, calculated risks.  They understand that nothing is guaranteed and growth comes from expansion. Selling is no different.  The best sales people take risks.  They understand the next big deal doesn’t come from doing what everyone else is doing.
  • Have Vision – Like CEO’s the best sales people have vision. They see multiple moves or gambits ahead.  They can see where the industry is going. They see where their clients “need” to go. They know when a product is loosing it’s edge 12 months in advance. Great sales people have tremendous vision and use it to their advantage in selling
  • Are Committed to Personal Development – CEO’s become CEO’s because they are constantly striving to get better. They embrace personal development and are always growing.  Personal insight is a critical trait for sales people. The best sales people are constantly evaluating their skills. They are always looking to get better. They know what they are good at and what they aren’t. The leverage their strengths and surround themselves with those who are good what they are not. Great sales people know their limits.

I am a huge fan of these characteristics for sales people. During my 15 plus years of sales leadership, I have watched sales people soar by embracing these traits. I have also watched sales people fail, because they were unable to execute against them.

In sales you are the CEO of your own business. Treat it that way and you will find success.