Dan Schawbel spoke to Jim Kouzes, Deb Calvert and Barry Posner, co-authors of Stop Selling & Start Leading: How to Make Extraordinary Sales Happen, about why so many salespeople fail to connect with buyers, what they’ve learned about the buyer and seller relationship, how salespeople can become better leaders, and how salespeople can stay motivated despite the inevitable rejection.
Deb is the president of People First Productivity Solutions, working with companies to build organizational strength by putting people first. James is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. Barry Posner is Accolti Professor of Leadership and former Dean of the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University. James and Barry are most known as the co-authors of The Leadership Challenge.
Dan Schawbel: Why do so many salespeople fail to connect with buyers in a meaningful way?
Jim Kouzes, Deb Calvert & Barry Posner: Our research reveals that there’s profound and wide disconnect between how sellers behave and what buyers want. Selling is a relationship, just as leadership is a relationship. Meaningful relationships are based on trust and credibility, and these kinds of relationships cannot be developed when sellers are stuck in a sales mindset that inhibits the enabling and ennobling behaviors buyers are craving. Our research with over 500 buyers reveals that sellers are significantly more effective when they engage more frequently in behaviors associated with exemplary leadership. Stories from sellers about their “personal bests” in selling affirm this. When they act like leaders, often not even realizing that this is the case, they are more successful in connecting with buyers and making extraordinary sales.