If you’ve followed me for some time now, you know I didn’t get the first two leadership jobs I applied for.
It was pretty clear cut. I just wasn’t ready.
The positive side of that was, I was now on the leadership team’s radar. Even though I wasn’t ready for those two positions, they liked me, felt I had leadership potential, and were supportive of me working toward that as my next career step.
The downside was, there were steps I could have taken earlier to move my career along faster.
The biggest mistake I made: prior to me putting my name in the hat for those two jobs, my boss never knew I wanted to pursue the leadership route.
At the time, my boss, Mark, was newer in his leadership journey. Mark had done a fantastic job of building our team, bringing on great salespeople, and supporting us to be the #1 team in the company.
We were doing extremely well. We did so well that he got a country manager promotion in just a few years.
Have you ever noticed how some people are just easy to listen to? In meetings, they are always the ones whose opinions are highly coveted. In networking events, they can work a room like no other.
When they speak to their children and families, you can tell they are being heard and respected.
Why do people listen to them, when it often seems so hard for the rest of us?
The truth is, it's not about their job title, their financial stature, or even their physical stature, for that matter. Although they may have reached a high level of success, it is the communication skills these people possess that make them effective communicators and garner the respect and ears of those around them.
If you aspire to be someone people listen to, consider these 5 best practices:
Shakespeare wrote, "The eyes are the window of the soul." The first place to get someone's attention is nonverbally.
Most people make weak eye contact, which comes off as less confident. The best...
Some people are easy to trust. Have you ever noticed that?
Upon first meeting them, you just feel they are a trustworthy, upstanding person. And they may prove you wrong later, but initially you feel they are someone you can trust, divulge information to, and even take their advice.
As a salesperson, if you appear trustworthy, and prove to be over the long haul, you will sell more than those who aren't. There's no way to argue that.
While a lot of people possess the intangible qualities that lower people's walls, they don't come easy to everyone. If you find yourself struggling to connect with people you first meet, try these 4 tactics:
1. Make solid eye contact
Matthew 6:22-23 says, "The light of the body is the eye." The Bible also says, "the eyes are the window of the soul."
The quickest, surest way to build a connection with anyone is to first connect with the eyes. Hold eye contact a little longer than you would normally. But not so long that things get weird.
A few weeks ago I was working with one of my top reps. We had a couple hard meetings with some tough prospects, but over the course of our meetings I watched these prospects go from "I don't want to hear anything you have to say" to "well, maybe we should try this".
In less than 30 minutes.
Having been in sales for the better part of two decades, I've seen enough meetings like these go in all different directions. But these were different.
These customers were loyal to our biggest competitor, and they were ready for war. And yet, when we left, their walls were down, and they were ready to try our product.
So what was the difference in these meetings? One lesson I learned back in my days selling CUTCO kitchen knives:
Facts tell and stories sell
The features and benefits of a product are certainly important. They tell the customer about the bells and whistles and the products capabilities and limitations. But telling a customer relevant stories to reinforce the importance, and also to...
One of the questions I am often asked is, "What's the number one skill a sales person needs to possess?".
I used to give all the generic answers, such as "driven, self starter, history of success, resilient, team player, coachable, etc. These are certainly important skills to vet out during an interview process and to coach to, and they definitely should be.
However, the word I've been gravitating to lately is:
In his famous book The Origin of Species, Charles Darwin wrote, "it is not the most intellectual of the species that survives; it is not the strongest that survives; but the species that survives is the one that is able best to adapt and adjust to the changing environment in which it finds itself."
Often times, one of the key reasons why people don't develop to reach their full potential is they are not adaptable. Simply put, they do not have the ability to improve their areas that need improvement.
Jim Rohn used to say, "There is no greater leadership challenge than parenting."
Boy, he was right.
The longer I've been a parent, and the longer I've been in sales leadership, the more I realize the skills you build parenting children also make you a more effective sales leader.
Disclaimer: I'm still working to perfect these skills. I've got a long way to go, and I certainly wouldn't consider myself a parenting expert by any stretch.
With that in mind, here are the seven best leadership lessons I've learned while raising kids that also apply to leading sales teams.
1. Listen until the last drop
When working full time and also raising kids, things are busy and hectic, and it's very easy to be stretched thin.
With that, I often times find myself listening to something one of my kids is saying or needing, and my natural instinct is to jump in and offer the solution they need, so we can all move on.
Sometimes, I'm so quick I've got their solution before they even finish...
If you've been in sales for more than a New York minute, you've dealt with the frustration of prospects and customers not returning your calls. Probably a thousand times.
In today's world, people are busier than ever, and phone calls are harder to get returned than ever before.
Especially if you're calling to sell something.
The bottom line: people aren't calling you back because they don't perceive getting back to you provides enough value to disrupt what they already have going on.
It's that simple.
As sales people, getting calls returned will always be one of the biggest obstacles we face. If you follow the seven steps below, you will surely increase your level of success.
1. Maintain updated, positive social media profiles
If a customer or prospect knows who you are before you call them, that increases the chance of them taking your call exponentionally. The easiest solution to that - be searchable online.
Fifteen or twenty years ago, the only way for that to happen was to be a...