Here are two topics that are near and dear to my heart. I want to discuss leadership and sales which are closely related for the context of this blog post.
Let me explain: As a leader you will have to present ideas to your team and get them to "buy" into your direction or strategy.
The veteran manager will "sell" the idea and get the team excited about the direction. When the team is on board the boss is unnecessary. You may be thinking, “Unnecessary, what a terrible plan.” This doesn't make sense to most people, but stop and think about it. How can you take a vacation or even get promoted if your presence is needed for your team to function? Your goal should be to make yourself dispensable.
So now you understand how being a good leader requires sales skills. So from this point forward, I am going to teach you how to be an excellent sale professional.
The sales pro is interested in one thing: helping their customer. Similarly the leader is focused on one thing: helping his team succeed.
The king tells the man, “As you can see, I am busy! Tell the salesman I don't have time." The man tells the salesman to go away. BTW: the salesman was selling machine guns!
The moral of the cartoon: Salesmen, the good ones, help.
I remember as a young engineer when I would talk to a salesman, it was always the same drill. “What do you do and how can I help?" Are you kidding me? I have to educate the salesman and then figure out how he can help me? I have enough to do, get out!
How is this possible? With the internet, customers have more choices than ever.
The only way to get business is by having the lowest price. That dismal view is accurate for an industry that is a commodity. If you find yourself in the commodity market, my advice is: GET OUT, don't walk, RUN!
What is a commodity? My definition is this, any service that is sold with little value added by you or your company. Keep your eye on how much value is being added. The moment the customer realizes that you are basically adding to the cost for no reason, you will be done. The scary part of being of “no value” is how quickly word gets around, that is why I said, RUN.
First step is to find good targets. Make sure that what you have is something they need. It doesn’t matter if they have a favorite supplier, they haven't met you yet!
Next learn about their industry. Become an expert. Your goal is when you sit down with the decision maker you are able to educate him about his industry. You explain trends and what his competition is doing well and what they are struggling with. Then you blow his mind by telling him the problems he is facing and some ideas to correct them.
How do you get all this information? Do your homework. (Google is not the extent of your homework). Meet with people who are not in management. These workers are not treated to lunch because they don't have purchasing authority. They are ignored by salesmen, but not you, because you know that the workforce knows what is going on. For a $12.99 meal and a closed mouth, you are about to be educated, and perhaps you might even make a friend. You are learning and adding value by doing the research that every executive wishes he had the time to do.
Once you become a source of knowledge, the executive /decision maker will "beg" for your time. Sales become a natural result. You are now an elite sale professional.
Why is it easier to have the ideal sales call today? Because most salesmen are lazy! They will not do the homework. Also, some genius manager thought, “Bob is very knowledgeable about our product, he should sell it!” That is a very bad idea.
This post is full of concepts that will change your life. Remember these keys. Specialize in one or two industries. Do your homework and stay positive!