It brings me great joy to see the new paradigms salespeople are adopting in today’s marketplace. I often encourage my audiences to see themselves as a “doctor of selling,” expert consultant, and in a relationship with their clients. There is however, another level of salesmanship that transcends these frameworks – being a sales leader.
What is a sales leader?
I’m not talking about sales managers or team leaders. What I’m referring to are sales professionals who see their role as more than just a job; rather they see their role as a calling. They understand the impact their product has on the people who buy, and feel a moral obligation to ensure it is in the hands of those who need it most. These salespeople place the client’s interests above their own fears of failure and rejection. Rather than being reactive and waiting for needs to arise, they are proactive in challenging their clients to strive for more.
How can I be a sales leader?
The biggest difference in sales leaders can be seen in their method of persuasion. They can sell through manipulation or inspiration. In this case I’m not using “manipulation” in the sense of conning people. Rather, I mean it as using tactics like discounting, sales scripts, and time pressure to buy. While not inherently unethical, these strategies often produce short-term revenue at the cost of long-term loyalty.
If you are going to inspire your clients, you need a clear sense of why you sell your product. This understanding will ignite your passion, which will then radiate organically to your prospects. As Simon Sinek puts it, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!” Remember that buying decisions are made emotionally, and then justified logically!
How do I inspire people?
Before entering each sales meeting, think “How can I inspire my client to buy?” Yes, you need to prove a return on investment. Yes, you need to show the features, benefits, and value of what you sell. To inspire your client however, requires thinking beyond immediate returns. Can you paint a picture depicting them as a hero or a significant part of their company’s history? In the same way a carpenter depends on his saw, a doctor his stethoscope, or fireman his hose, make creative storytelling a critical part of your toolbox!
Start by thinking of yourself as a leader (because whether you think it or not, you are!). Endeavour to use inspiration rather than manipulation as your means of persuasion, and sharpen your storytelling skills to paint vivid pictures of your client’s better future. The next time you speak to a prospect, inspire them to buy!
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Start With Why, Simon Sinek, 2011
The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon, 2011