Herman De Kock On Visionary, Servant Leadership

Herman De Kock , Head of Sales and Service Business Banking at Nedbank Limited.


Vital stats

  • Herman de Kock
  • Designation: Executive Head: Sales and Service,  Business Banking
  • Comoany: Nedbank Limited
  • Sales force size:
    • Number of sales people: 425 general and 167 specialist sales and sales management people, managed through a matrix management and direct management design, respectively.
    • Structure (channel and geographic disbursement): This sales force is spread across South Africa, dedicated to add value to the ecosystems of businesses.

Why do you believe your sales organisation is a success?

Everything starts with purpose. In our line of work, we have the privilege to add value to businesses across South Africa. Through our sales methodology and end-to-end banking solutions, we have the opportunity to contribute to an organisation’s ability to grow or to reinvent itself to be sustainable through tough times.

This ultimately results in more jobs being created and protected. In a country that is in dire need of more jobs, what we do ultimately influences the ability of people like you and me to provide for our families. If you see this bigger picture, applying our sales methodology becomes second nature. Our sales methodology is designed to view our clients’ businesses, operations and ecosystems holistically to unlock value for them, their businesses, employees and ultimately the community in which they operate. Every time we engage with businesses with this purpose in mind, we have success.

What is your leadership style?

I have a balance between a visionary and servant leadership style. Visionary in the sense that you have to lead your people to be pioneers into areas they wouldn’t have explored on their own. But this has to be balanced by servant leadership — being visible, and present-minded.

You have to be in sync with where your people are in life and in their careers, and support them to achieve their full potential.

Related: What I Have Come to Believe About Leadership

What advice do you have for attaining growth goals in sales?

Business should be based on deep, enduring relationships, underpinned by trust. Relationships start within an organisation. If you have the right culture, you achieve wonders. A values-based, high-performance culture enables people to experience ownership and pride and to have purpose. With the right culture, complemented by the right balance between recognition and reward, people tend to go beyond the set goals.

Business is about relationships, even now at the dawn of the digital age. Respect your people and see how they excel.

What has been your greatest learning in sales?

Successful sales start with the right culture. Leadership sets the culture. Ultimately people want to show up at work to be successful. Some have a very narrow view of success, which can result in disappointment. As a leader you are responsible for guiding people to find meaning and purpose in what they do, which leads to sustainable success. And never underestimate the power of your thoughts. What we think, affects how we feel, and how we feel affects what we say and do, and that has an exponential impact on your people’s results.

What has been your most valuable mistake in sales?

We are eager to convince clients that our products and solutions are the best. This eagerness is good, but it has a downside — you don’t necessarily listen to your clients. Listening is the first step in any successful sale. Before you ask a question, listen to what your clients tell you. It will give you valuable clues on what they need. It will show you what’s top of mind for them, which opens up more opportunities to add value. This is the very foundation of our sales methodology and training.

At Nedbank Business Banking we believe in establishing a partnership with every single business we engage with. True partnerships underpinned by trust and a common sense of purpose, which grow your business and realise your dreams, can thrive only through constructive dialogue.

What is your personal mantra?

See to it that no one misses the unreserved goodness that radically changes lives and gives meaning to life — it is meant for everyone.