Defining Leadership

The Role of Leadership in Selling

Daniel Sitter asked:

Leadership. Webster’s dictionary defines it as the act of leading. Warren Bennis defines it as “a function of knowing yourself, having a vision that is well communicated, building trust among colleagues, and taking effective action to realize your own leadership potential.” John C Maxwell, in his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, sums up his definition of leadership as “leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” I say that leadership is a compelling intellectual or spiritual force that moves people to action. However you define it, leadership is either effective or ineffective.

John McKenna writes of leadership on his blog, The Leadership Epidemic. His actual premise is that “most leadership sucks, including yours.” I disagree. While there is certainly evidence to support that some aspects of individual leadership are ineffective and perhaps lacking, there is also a great deal to get excited about. Leadership requires real leaders. Are you up to the task?

Take for example tennis legend Andre Agassi. His passion in life is educating kids, both in areas of academic excellence and personal development. He is an incredible inspiration and has been featured in former President Bill Clinton’s book, Giving. He has a proven formula for transforming the public education system into a working, successful and functioning institution. Agassi has provided stunning leadership in this area, making a real difference in the lives of countless children and their families. He carefully used his resources and celebrity status to springboard his efforts. He has developed a winning system that can be transposed elsewhere.

This same kind leadership example is necessary in the selling arena as well. We must take charge and lead the selling conversation. We must demonstrate for our customer that we seek what is best for her as we work with others to provide a solution for her needs. How do we accomplish that?

1. Take responsibility for the process.

2. Genuinely desire to be of service.

3. Ask probing questions and listen carefully.

4. Take action and make progress.

5. Demonstrate commitment.

6. Follow through and follow up.

7. Communicate effectively through each selling stage.

8. Represent your customer’s best interests to others.

Customers are looking for your leadership. They want and need solutions. They want to feel confident that once they expose their needs to you, the solution process commences under your watch-care and leadership. They will never consider your competitors when you demonstrate this kind of commitment and leadership.

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