leaderHow do you successfully transition from sales rep to sales leader?

It happened to me. I was an award-winning sales rep who was promoted to sales manager. Now my colleagues (and friends) were reporting to me. I knew them well and thought we would be a winning team. Boy, was I wrong!

A Rocky Start

Becoming the boss wasn’t easy or much fun … at least not at first. I had to set goals with each person and hold them accountable for meeting their quotas. I was no longer anyone’s friend. One person yelled at me, and she finally quit.

In hindsight, I probably didn’t set realistic expectations for our new relationship, and maybe I was too demanding. I was also promoted without any training or guidance.

A Smooth(er) Transition

I will never again underestimate the significance of a rep-to-manager transition. In fact, I would go so far as to say that managing the same group of people who once worked alongside you is a bad idea. But sometimes those are the cards you get dealt.

If you do transition, take to heart these five tips from the editors at Selling Power:

  1. Be highly observant.
  2. Be empathetic.
  3. Get help where you need it.
  4. Let go.
  5. Resist the urge to fix mistakes.

Read the rest of the article for more on how to transition smoothly.

Also, remember to give yourself a break. Change isn’t easy, and it always comes with a learning curve.  Just be patient with yourself and your team as you learn the ropes.

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Comment Here

If you’re a sales manager, what important lessons did you learn when you first got promoted?