- Leader: Pedro Rhode
- Designation: Divisional Executive: Sales & Service Effectiveness – Integrated Channels
- Company: Nedbank
- Sales Team: 3 164 staff (countrywide and across all channels)
- Career: Rhode holds a BCom Honours; an MBA; completed a GIBS Global Executive Program and an Executive Leadership Programme at INSEAD Business School (France). His career began at Spoornet before joining ABSA, where he lifted his sales team to number one in the Cape Region. He moved to Nedbank as General Manager, having repositioned Branch and Small Business as Cape leaders prior to his current role of Divisional Executive: Sales and Service Effectiveness.
What is the secret to hiring the perfect sales person?
It’s all about personality. They must display a passion for creating value for themselves and the client and have a great attitude towards life. They must be able to tell their story well and demonstrate their ability to fully connect with, and intimately understand, the needs of our clients.
What contributes to the success of your sales team, and how do you reward them?
Effective planning and daily flawless execution is key to achieving your sales objectives. Sales leaders need to set the tone for the day, know the half-time and full-time sales performance numbers to be on top of their game.
They need to proactively plan activities for the day and decide what actions should be taken the next day to close any gaps in the sales lines (goal vs actual sales). You simply have to be totally immersed in your business, constantly. Retail is detail.
In the past we rewarded sales staff through incentives. Nowadays, and mainly because of tax implications, we focus rather on team recognition. This has helped create an environment where we collaborate and achieve success as teams. With the advent of the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles, this is under review as we move towards becoming increasingly more client-focused.
What is the best advice you have ever received about sales management?
To continuously improve yourself and adapt to the environment. Be consistent, learn to deal with rejection, bounce back quickly from disappointments and breathe in optimism.
What’s your sales leadership style?
Strong vision, people-centeredness, empowerment and decisiveness are all traits that capture my leadership style. I believe strongly in setting out the map, inspiring people to buy into my philosophy and join me on the journey. I am passionate about the brand and I role-model this behaviour, while showing unwavering faith in reaching our objectives. I also believe strongly in celebrating successes along the way, to keep my staff motivated and focused.
What’s your greatest sales/business leadership learning?
Everyone has a role to play and we are all accountable for the success of the business. It’s vital to ensure that each individual understands this, their purpose and their role in making our vision a reality. It’s a leader’s responsibility to ensure that his or her employees are competent, knowledgeable and, as far as possible, fully engaged.
Have you recently introduced any new thinking into your sales environment?
We are currently on a sales training journey called “Enabling the Sales Force”. It follows a values-based, leader-led approach taking into account that making money just for the sake of it is no longer a driver for employees.
Younger people are seeking out employers with a clear purpose and with values that closely mirror those of their own. They want to make a difference in the world. It’s part of the Nedbank way going forward and it’s aimed at ensuring the organisation’s sales staff are fully upskilled to have the right conversations with our clients, in line with our move towards a more client-centric sales approach.
We want to ensure that we create an effective combination of Customer Value, Collaborative Value and Nedbank Value and that is the juncture at which our overall value proposition is most powerful.
What is your personal business mantra?
- Go slow to go fast. Investing time and effort to gain attention, buy-in and approval will improve your chances
- Trusting the process is critical to innovation and creativity, even when the answers are not immediately clear.
- Be true to yourself and to the world. Start by doing the right thing! Focus less on greed and more on sustainability. Replace the red-line or bottom-line approach with blue-line thinking and focus your attention on what true value is, how to create it and then, importantly, measure it.