How to Earn Your Sales Reps’ Respect

Whether you’re a newly-promoted sales manager or have decades of experience on the job, you always want to inspire the respect and admiration of your sales team. As the leader, you are constantly coaching and teaching your reps to try to improve their selling skills and improve your sales results. But without first earning their respect, your team simply won’t listen to your sales advice – or you.

Respect is a tough thing to pin down, but you know it when you have it and you definitely know when you don’t. The respect of your team will make your job easier, allow your sales lessons to stick, and lead to better results across the board. But how can you take specific steps to build respect?

Here’s how to prove your worth as a sales leader and help your team reach their full selling potential.

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Work Hard

It seems simple, but the biggest key to becoming a well-respected sales leader lies in exactly how hard you work. Your team will know very quickly if you’re slacking off, sitting back, and not putting in your full effort. This will lead to your reps to not only disrespect you, but also start slacking off themselves. You need to put in long hours to show how serious you are about making this sales team a success. Work alongside your reps every day, coming in just as early and staying just as late. They’ll respect you for your hard work, and feel inspired to work harder themselves.

Prove Yourself Right

No self-respecting sales rep will admire a leader who is constantly wrong about their sales forecasts and other business decisions. An occasional misstep is bound to happen, but a great way to earn respect is by being a solid leader. If your advice consistently helps your team improve their numbers, they’ll respect and seek out your opinion.

The best way to get consistent results is to use data as much as possible to drive decision-making. Data can help you create more accurate sales forecasts, discover weaknesses in your sales process and help coach your reps to greater success. By using data to help you predict the unpredictable, you will make better decisions more often and eliminate some of the human error inherent in sales.

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Admit When You’re Wrong

Even if you use data strategically and are often right about sales decisions, you will sometimes make mistakes. As much as sales reps want an infallible leader, they also want a manager who will admit when they’re wrong and will learn from mistakes. Don’t get angry or lash out when something doesn’t go as planned and you lose a big deal or miss your sales goal that quarter. Instead, admit the error to your team, carefully analyze your mistakes, learn from them, and share your lessons openly with all.

Be Open Minded

You should be open to many things – new ideas, suggestions from your team, and more. You never know who will have an amazing idea that could make a difference to your sales results. If you’re not open and encouraging of new ideas, your sales reps won’t speak up for fear of being shot down. You should also openly share your ideas and motivations with your team. Open, two-way communication will greatly help you gain respect and keep it – so you will understand your reps and they will understand you. Even if you don’t act on a reps suggestion, just the fact that you were willing to listen will inspire their respect.


Everyone wants to be respected, but not every sales manager will be. You can become a better, more respected sales manager by working hard, making good decisions, admitting your mistakes and communicating openly with your team. With the right work ethic and leadership skills, you can lead your team to new heights.

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