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In Sales, You've Got to Lead to Succeed: Start by Doing a Little Extra

If you are in sales and haven't yet seen the Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson movie "The Internship," put it at the top of your must-watch movies list.

The movie concludes with a classic sales lesson, one that too many sellers are forgetting in their struggle to simply sell.

The movie's sales lesson is simple: you have to go the extra distance if you want to make the sale. When you put a little extra effort into your presentation, you will differentiate yourself and inspire your buyer. You will be leading, not selling.

The extra effort that will distinguish you isn't about polishing your presentation. Flashy graphics are enhancements that supplement but do not replace the extras that count most.

It's not about throwing a lot of value-added stuff at the buyer either. Deal sweeteners and price cuts won't do the job if you haven't already established meaningful value.

And it certainly not about providing endless options. You can easily overwhelm buyers if you don't do some filtering for them.

The extra that counts is in leading, not just selling.

To lead like the Internship team leads the pizza shop, you have to be willing to do three things:

1. You must put yourself in your customer's shoes. By empathizing and understanding what your buyer is experiencing, you will become a valued resource. Your input and ideas will be more aligned and, therefore, more compelling than what others sellers offer. Leaders seek first to understand and then to be understood.

2. You must develop business acumen to understand what it will mean to your buyer if his or her business goals are reached. Your credibility will skyrocket when you demonstrate the ability to see cause-and-effect outcomes of choices made. You will also be able to intersect at the point(s) where reaching the goal is at risk. That makes what you offer a true and timely solution. As a leader, you will anticipate the needs and remove the roadblocks to success.

3. You must paint a picture of where your buyer wants to be and explain how you can help the buyer get there. Facts and figures only get you so far. Leaders help others to see themselves in a future state, one that positively contrasts to the current state. Your words and images convincingly convey the future state AND the steps required to get there.

To succeed, you need to lead. When you do, your buyers will follow you because they will have faith in you.

The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on