You may not buy my idea (after all, I am trying to sell it to you). If you don’t buy this premise it’s probably because you have some beliefs/images/thoughts about sales people that contradict your beliefs/images/thoughts about leaders.
If you already buy my idea then you will love what’s to come. If you don’t, then let’s see if I can change your mind by the end of this article.
- Salespeople can’t make you do anything; neither can leaders. Both realize they can inspire and inform, and they recognize the ultimate choice to take action belongs to the customer or follower. Great salespeople and leaders also realize that when they remember that fact, they are less frustrated and more successful.
- Salespeople are selling a vision and ideas; so are leaders. You may think salespeople are selling a product or service, but the truth is they are selling a vision of what that product or service will do or how it will make people feel when they own it. Leaders help people to see a vision of something different in the future, so they are doing the same thing.
- Salespeople know they are in the relationship business; so do leaders. Neither a great salesperson nor a great leader focuses on becoming friends with his/her customers/followers, but all focus on building meaningful and trusting relationships. Why? Those relationships make their work easier and far more rewarding.
- Salespeople realize they are in the change business; so do leaders. If no one buys, nothing changes. If no one follows, there isn’t much leadership. To be successful, salespeople and leaders study and understand individual and group/organizational change.
- Salespeople are influencers and persuaders; so are leaders. Notice I didn’t say manipulators, but influencers and persuaders. When you sum up the other four points above you come up with influence.
Are there manipulative, short-sighted salespeople? Of course. (The same can be said about some portion of the leader population), but, are those the salespeople that create long-term success for themselves and their customers? Not at all. (Not in the leader population either.)
The best salespeople are persuasion experts who influence through relationships, insight, great communication skills, understanding people and more. They strive to support and improve the lives of those they sell to, knowing when they do they have created a customer for life.
The best leaders are persuasion experts who influence through relationships, insight, great communication skills, understanding people and more. They strive to support and improve the lives of those they lead, knowing when they do they have created a follower for life.
The best leaders are great salespeople, so it is time to embrace your inner salesperson.
What’s your take?
Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/photo/business-graphics-1056963