Empowering Sales Leaders Boost Team and Sales

Clear goals, understanding what’s behind them and empowering leadership are the keys to sales success, according to our very own Chris Silk, SVP of Sales - Eastern Region.

For Chris, he said it’s about, “How can I help enable my team and work together, exchange information and help out when something’s missing? We’re all on the same team.”

Chris’ keen ability to see the bigger picture has definitely helped with that over his 10 years at Open Lending. “I like to see beyond the landscape right in front of me, providing greater context to offer better answers or solutions.”

And that means, no micromanaging. “People don’t want to be micromanaged, so I offer encouragement and insight when needed.”

The proof is in the results. Open Lending had a great year last year, including the territory Chris oversees. The group is experienced and has good, achievable goals, he commented, and he’s quite excited to be adding another member to the team.

Based on its great results, Open Lending went public at the start of 2020. Chris explained that there have been some questions surrounding the move, but for clients nothing will change. Same leadership, same programs and same great service. If anything, he suggested, “The higher level of scrutiny will provide greater credibility, something not many of our peers have because they are not publicly traded.” With this greater access to financial resources, Open Lending CEO John Flynn said, “We all believe that Open Lending is still in the very early stages of where this company can go and look forward to working with our existing customers and partners to accomplish our goal of helping auto lenders grow their auto loan portfolios safely.”

Not all lenders have that kind of access to financial resources, particularly credit unions, Chris noted, which are not permitted to directly access the capital markets. That’s when Open Lending shines as a resource for financial institution clients. Even though lending is slowing, he said, Open Lending continues to grow the number of clients who are recognizing the company’s ability to help them grow and continue lending, particularly to those who’ve experienced financial hardships or dings to their credit scores. And, Chris observed, every spring, auto buying bounces back, so now’s a great time to be capturing more auto loans!

Ramping up marketing and having a clear message leads the way for sales, Chris said, who’s worked in marketing previously as well. When marketing and sales align with the corporate value proposition, and you believe in what you’re doing, that’s a winning combination, he said. Chris loves reading, and some highly influential books his career and life have been The Undoing Project, by Michael Lewis (who also authored Moneyball, but this one is more about false decisioning), and Tipping Point and Blink, both by Malcolm Gladwell.

All work and no play would make Chris a dull boy – and he is not! He loves to travel and hike with his family. He also practices yoga and enjoys running. And he loves music, whether classic bands, like The Eagles, progressive Indy music, or bluegrass.

But when he settles down, Chris loves to read, not only about business, but also learning about the ancient Egyptians and The Middle Ages in Western Europe. Talk about big-picture thinking!