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08AprStop Selling & Start Leading: 5 Steps to Competitive Differentiation, Part 2

If you're going through the motions of selling, your presentations aren't compelling. All too often, sellers present buyers with proposals and offers that are described as:

Ho Hum. Rote. Boooooring. Trite. Generic. Cookie Cutter. Irrelevant.

That's why, despite all the time you've spent to craft a glorious PowerPoint deck or bells-and-whistles presentation, buyers get distracted and start looking for the price prematurely.

If you're selling by the numbers, you'll never make your presentations more effective with flashy animations, graphics, photos or videos. No amount of exclamation points or superlatives or can fix this either. Flop factor with more of the same isn't the answer.

It comes down to this: To make your presentations compelling for buyers, you need to stop selling and start leading.

This post, the second in a 5-part series that examines five foundational principles needed to stop selling and start leading, will help you understand why. These principles are backed by 30 years of research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner on the behaviors of exemplary leaders around the world. Their research on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders® has been validated by more than 600 independent research studies.

One of the practices prescribed by this research is to Inspire a Shared Vision. Leaders have a vision for an improved future state. They enlist others in their vision by showing them how they, too, can be fulfilled in pursuing this vision. The leader doesn't form his or her vision in a vacuum. Rather, that vision is created and communicated with others who will be a part of it.

ISVShouldn't sellers do the same? Your buyers are eager for new inspiration. They crave ideas and collaborative partnerships that will help them reach their goals. While they may be suffering seller fatigue in response to all the canned pitches they endure, they will be invigorated by a leader who brings them hope and help for a brighter tomorrow.

The key to inspiring a shared vision is to think like a leader. It's not your vision that you have to cajole the buyer into believing. It's not about force fitting an irrelevant solution to kinda sorta fit their vision. Instead, it's a shared vision.

To get to a shared vision, leaders listen. They ask questions. They pay attention. They understand what their followers' long-term interests are and take  the time to connect the dots between ideas and possible outcomes. Then they tell the story, painting a picture of what could be and appealing to others to share in the exciting dream of an improved future state.

Leaders don't talk at their followers. They talk with them and about them. They don't talk in generic terms. They customize their message so each individual follower can feel as if he or she is a part of something bigger.

Leaders don't try to manipulate, fool or force anyone into doing something that isn't good for them. Instead, they discover what will benefit their followers and build those benefits into the shared vision.

Leaders don't appear to be self-serving or greedy. Rather, they are collaborative and supportive as they seek out the greater good.  They bring the ideas and possibilities together to help map out a plan that will enable others to realize their own goals, too.

By collaborating to co-create a vision, you will differentiate yourself from the sea of sellers out there who are not leaders.  To get started, think like a visionary leader and enlist your buyers in a shared vision you create together. Then you can stop selling and start leading.

Connect 2 Sell Graphic smallThe CONNECT2Sell Blog and training programs are products of People First Productivity Solutions. We build organizational strength by putting people first. Visit our website for more sales and leadership resources and tools. To learn more about our training programs like Stop Selling & Start Leading, take a look at our 2015 course catalog.  


Topics: leadership, vision, CONNECT2SELL Blog, inspiring buyers, sales, sales training, seller, selling

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