Create A Leadership Mindset
I think that many people tend to separate out the “moral” lessons we learn as “ethical” or even “spiritual” people and the ones we learn as workers, managers or business people. And I think that’s a shame. Because if who we are at work isn’t fundamentally the same as who we are at home or with our friends and in our own quiet time, then we’re going to lose track of who we really are.
“To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.” –Patricia Fripp
Tim Sanders isn’t ever going to have to worry about that. Because he has come to the place where it’s clear to him—through his writing, his speaking, his teaching, his consulting and his work—that if you can’t do your job with love, you shouldn’t be doing it. I’ve seen him live this out in many different settings.
“We become less curious when we become more comfortable.” –Tim Sanders
That may be hard for some people to hear if they’re in sales. The traditional way of teaching sales skills is very confrontational. But that’s not how Tim is going to tell you how to be a sales leader, and it’s not how I’m going to do it either. He’ll tell you that the mindset of a sales leader requires three things:
First, that you be intensely curious; listen more than you talk.
Second, commit to deliver value in every interaction and at every meeting.
Third, approach all questions with an attitude of, “Yes!” Does any of that sound confrontational? Or even competitive? No. Because he believes in true collaboration.
“The more time and effort you put towards understanding a problem space, the richer your information skill set becomes.” –Tim Sanders
That goes even beyond cooperation, which Tim says involves sharing resources, but where only one side owns the problem. True collaboration requires co-creating solutions. I agree with that wholeheartedly. And he extends that thinking to collaboration within our own teams. His research points out that you need at least four perspectives to get to an 80% sales success rate. Three perspectives? Your chances drop to 40% Find that additional insight somewhere in your organization.
I was most intrigued in our discussion by his suggestion to “study the upside-down,” a phrase he borrows from the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” What he means is to find the thing that is the traditional “opposite” of your area of expertise and do some research. If you’re in sales? Study buying. If you sell technology? Study the jobs necessary to do the work without those tools.
He’s a gifted speaker and a good friend, and I always come away with a notebook full of ideas when I talk with Tim. I think you will, too.
“Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking’. But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” –Roy Bartell
Listen to this episode of Aim Higher to learn more:
or listen on iTunes here.
Tim Sanders is a tech pioneer, NYT best-selling author and the former Chief Solutions Officer of Yahoo! In this interview, he shares the three keys to creating a sales leadership mindset. First, be intensely curious. Second, commit to delivering value with every interaction. Third, answer every question with a “Yes!” Tim also talks about the value of diversity of thought, and why “four is the magic number” when you’re looking for diverse perspectives.