CAUTION: There's a Salesperson in the Building

A book is known by its cover.
A book is known by its cover. (Flickr )

I made the mistake of wearing a plaid jacket to the office a couple of weeks ago.

Someone joked that I looked like a "used car salesman."

A book is known by its cover!

The fact is most leaders have a lot in common with salespeople. Think about what we typically believe a good salesperson should do.

  • Be likable. Like always come before trust.
  • Be trustworthy. Can I trust a guy in a plaid jacket? In most sales relationships the essential question is "can I trust what this person is telling me?"
  • Be empathetic. Care more about the client/prospect than you do about making a sale.
  • Be competent. Know your stuff, or I won't buy from you.

I've taught many sales classes and many professional sales teams. I have never focused on technique. My concern is to understand the needs of a customer. I have started every sales class I can remember with the rant ... "I am not here to teach you how to sell ice to Eskimos. They don't need ice!"

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The very best sales professionals are customer focused. People buy things because they need the product or service. Selling is not arm-twisting.

Leaders must sell their vision and systems every day. Great leaders probably demonstrate many of the same characteristics that professional sellers do. They care about their team more than a personal preference. Leaders focus on finding the balance between the needs of an organization and the needs of the individual worker. Leaders are always selling up the org chart or down it. Leaders must sell to all of their constituencies—from bankers, to stockholders, to the press.

Leaders, like sellers, die to self and are buried in a plaid jacket.

What an honor.


Today's Scripture

"Jesus said to her, 'Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water that I shall give him will become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life.' The woman said to Him, 'Sir, give me this water, so that I will not thirst, nor come here to draw.'" (John 4:13-15).




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