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How I Lead by Antoine Nohra

Credico - How I Lead

Those of us in sales leadership (including Antoine Nohra) must recognize the talent within our organizations before it becomes our competition, and not be tempted to focus all of our energy on the promotion of our products. Focusing on product is fine – if you’re looking to meet the same quotas campaign after campaign. But if you’re looking to lead – in new markets, new verticals, and especially yourself as an entrepreneur – you must recognize that people are just as important as, if not more important than, the product.

I’ve been in the direct sales business for 25 years, starting as a rep in the field and am now Chairman of Credico, a leading global broker of direct sales and marketing services. My company has quadrupled in size since 2006, starting in Canada and spreading around the world. I am often asked how I’ve achieved such extraordinary success, and the answer is always in my team. Here I share three key steps for making the most of your organization by focusing on people:

Step 1: Nurture your talent. Over the course of my career I have learned that maintaining a continual focus on developing your employees’ talents go a long way toward the success of the company. Ensuring my employees are successful and investing in their careers, spending time to train and develop personalized career plans help to achieve higher goals. One thing is for sure; if you don’t develop or nurture your talent, your competition will.

Step 2: Be willing to share success. When I’m looking to expand our network, I ask myself a number of questions: Is the new market underdeveloped? Is there an appetite for my clients’ products? And, critically: Who can I trust among my own people to lead a new sales operation? Those I trust aren’t just good at making sales and keeping clients happy, they understand the culture of our company and are good at building high-caliber teams. Be willing to invest in your most trusted leaders; if they’re successful, then you’re successful.

Step 3: Be patient with new endeavors. There is no reward without some risk. But sometimes you must realize the risk a few times before realizing the reward. I started Credico in Canada primarily focusing on retail credit card sales direct-to-consumer. When I ventured into the U.S. market for the first time with this model, we stumbled severely. What we found is what works in one market doesn’t always work in another, and eventually learned that the U.S. market was more open to receiving energy and telecommunications services through direct sales than credit cards. Now, we have built our client base from one to 15 clients in the U.S., including six Fortune 100 companies supported by our suppliers’ sales force of more than 1,200 active agents. You must encourage the entrepreneurial spirit to find what works and what doesn’t. With hands-on mentoring and training – and a bit of patience – I’m proud to say that more than 90% of our markets are successful.

Growing your sales organization can be daunting, if you don’t focus your energy on the people in your organization. How do you lead to foster an entrepreneurial culture in your sales organization? #HowILead

[Updated from 5/3/2016 release date]

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