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What Do Buyers Want? Stop Selling and Start Leading

by Shawn Karol Sandy

Here’s a new approach to the profession of sales.

For years, we’ve seen the reputation of sellers slide into a negative, pushy obnoxious stereotype of the “don’t-take-no-always-be-closing” pushers portrayed in movies such as The Wolf of Wallstreet, The Boiler Room, and Glengarry Glen Ross.

Personally, it pisses me off that so many sellers before me have created this perception and made it harder for caring, thoughtful, and professional sales pros to do their jobs. Watching people cringe when they talk about sales encounters with shifty unscrupulous sellers really makes me mad.

And, it makes me want to work harder to change the practice and perception of sales as a profession. It is a noble profession that has supported millions of people for decades—even centuries. I have adopted my own seller’s creed and this is the philosophy that I and many other sales pros live by.

The Seller's Creed

  • Selling is the first opportunity we have to add value to our customers’ experience
  • Selling is articulating your value in a way that is valuable to your customers
  • Selling is persisting with integrity
  • Selling is not pushy, manipulative, or shady techniques
  • Selling is helping people buy. It’s helping people make informed decisions

We have to be better sellers and lead our customers to decisions that best fit their needs.

So yes: sellers are leaders.

We need to lead the efforts to connect with our customers. Inform them, educate them, enlighten them. We need to lead their teams to come together and discuss their problems in a way that they haven’t before. We need to lead our customers, our production partners, and our administrative colleagues in the comprehensive experiences we deliver to our customers.

Sellers, Now is the Time to be Leaders

To make this shift, I have a great resource to share with you.

My colleague Deb Calvert, President of People First Productivity Solutions, did extensive research with the creators of The Leadership Challenge® Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner. The result is their book, Stop Selling & Start Leading.

I’m sharing this with you because I believe this book is the definitive resource for selling to modern buyers.

This behavioral blueprint for sellers includes:

  • Groundbreaking research on precisely what B2B buyers want from sellers
  • Examples of how exhibiting leadership behaviors lead to more sales
  • Steps to be more effective in selling and to re-ignite your pride in the sales profession

Instead of reinforcing the typical behaviors of selling, this book helps you define those key leadership characteristics to collaborate and delight your customers—in alignment with the new ways they go to market and make purchasing decisions.

Buyers have more power, information, and control over the sales process than ever before. How can we sellers respond to build trust, get in the door, and deliver on buyer desires in a way that is true to their process and provides leadership?

By applying the research of experts like Deb Calvert, Jim Kouzes, and Barry Posner you’ll find in Stop Selling and Start Leading. This is a great resource for you or for your sales team to get ahead of the competition.

Keep Selling, and Start Leading

Until next time, stop hoping and start leading (but yes, keep selling too—you know what I mean)!

Topics:LeadershipProfessional DevelopmentSales StrategyCustomers

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