I am not a salesman

https://interimcfo.wordpress.com/2019/02/13/i-am-not-a-salesman/

Abstract: This article looks into the importance of selling in business and the relevance of the development of selling skills to career success regardless of your role in an organization.

Really?  You’re not a salesman or saleswoman or salesperson?  What are you then?  Zig Ziglar and others argue that everyone is in selling whether he or she recognize or acknowledge it or not.  I have come across people that say that they consciously and intentionally do not know anything about selling or that selling is below their station in life.  Some of them have no idea that some of the best-compensated people in society achieve the success they enjoy from being successful in sales.

What is selling anyway?   I would define selling as bringing someone else around to your way of thinking.  The hoped result of the selling process is that the other party will decide to act upon your suggestions and recommendations (closing questions).  Sometimes this results in a sale for value in which goods or services are exchanged. In other cases, you are selling a concept or ideas like a strategy or recommended course of action to a decision maker that must put their reputation and possibly their job on the line by committing to your proposed course of action.

When some people hear the term ‘salesman’ the image that pops up in their mind is the high-pressure wielding scoundrel at the ‘buy here, pay here, Se Habla Español’ used car dealership with the moussed hair, polyester leisure suit, braided leather suspenders, and patent leather platform shoes.   The sales weasel is the offensive stereotype that ‘professionals’ avoid at all costs. However, the argument can be made that the scoundrel has a much easier way of making a living than those of us that make our living by selling ideas, concepts, and strategies into sophisticated organizations.  He is not up against counterparties that in many cases are considerably more experienced, educated, credentialed or intelligent than he is.  More often than not, the reverse is true.

If you would just as soon not be bothered with selling, my suggestion is that you dispense with aspirations of obtaining or staying in a C-Suite role.  What is a C-Suite?  One definition is that it is a marketplace of ideas.  The environment is characterized by continuous, ongoing debate of concepts and strategies to move the organization forward or respond to problems and threats.  If you are not effective in getting your ideas heard, debated and accepted, you might want to start thinking about finding another way to make a living.  If you cannot successfully sell your fair share of ideas in what is usually a very intimidating, competitive and sometimes hostile environment, your perceived value will fall along with the probability of achieving your career ambitions.

What types of selling occur?  Direct selling involves interactions with the intended purpose of an agreement to exchange goods or services for money.  What I will refer to as professional selling is focused on winning in the marketplace of ideas.  In other words, getting decision-makers to take your advice, respond to your counsel or choose a course of action based primarily upon your input. Professional selling is infinitely more difficult because it has a variable that is usually not present in direct selling – politics.  The politics are carried out generally behind the scenes by competitors of yours that could be trusted co-workers that advocate for their ideas behind the scenes or behind your back, without giving you the courtesy or respect of a face-to-face argument.  They use whatever leverage is available to them behind the scenes, under the table, and behind your back to advance their causes, frequently resulting in decisions that do not make rational sense.  Suboptimal results occur because, in the presence of politics, decision making is usually irrational.

For example, I experienced a situation where some physicians were not happy with some of the decisions coming out of the boardroom and the front office.  Do you know how many visits I had from any of the doctors?  The answer is zero!  Instead, they took their grievances directly to members of the board or county commission that humored and engaged them possibly in utter and absolute ignorance of the degree to which this amounted to the active undermining of the leadership team of the organization.  I learned that one board member was accosted in the church vestibule and never made it into the sanctuary to join their family for the service.  Others are caught at their places of work or during unrelated social events.  As we are seeing in our society right now, people that are sufficiently strident about their position will resort to extreme means including violence to have their ideology imposed upon the rest of us.  If you are in a board meeting and something entirely unexpected comes out of left field and derails something that you have put a lot of time and energy into, there is a good chance you are a victim of cowardly, destructive politics.

The stakes of success in a political environment are exponentially higher.  If you are to be successful when you are up against political resistance, your arguments or the effectiveness of your selling must be sufficiently compelling to not only overcome the logical burden of your case but the political forces that may be working against you behind the scenes or maybe more accurately stated, behind your back.  If this is not selling, I don’t know what is.  Most of the time, to one degree or another, your career is potentially on the line when you are selling to your leader or a board of trustees.  Must close selling puts you in an Apollo 13 situation where failure is not an option.  I sold vacuum cleaners in college.  I learned these concepts early on.  In-home vacuum selling can be very intense, high-pressure selling.  That said, selling vacuum cleaners is infinitely more comfortable than surviving in the shark tank that is the C-Suite of most organizations I have experienced.  I guess that’s why good vacuum cleaner salesmen make around $50K and C-Suite roles pay into seven figures.

So, the obvious question is what you should be doing?  My recommendation is that you start dedicating significant time and energy to learning as much as you can about selling.  The quintessential sales trainer is Zig Ziglar. He is one of the best but not the only one.  I would also recommend Harvey Mackay. Both of these guys are retired, but their work is as relevant as ever. Effective selling requires a healthy positive attitude.  There are many excellent motivational speakers. Some of my favorites are Les Brown, Earl Nightingale, Dr. Angela Duckworth, Zig Ziglar, and Ed Foreman.  Don’t overlook some of the incredible ministers that deliver messages of hope and inspiration.  For starters, I recommend Charles Stanley, Johnny Hunt, Robert Schuller, and Joel Osteen.  I have found that the more time I spend listening to these inspiring people, the luckier I become in the marketplace of ideas in a consulting firm, among my compadres, in a hospital C-Suite or down at the local watering hole.

Contact me to discuss any questions or observations you might have about these articles, leadership, transitions or interim services.  I might have an idea or two that might be valuable to you. An observation from my experience is that we need better leadership at every level in organizations. Some of my feedback is coming from people that are demonstrating an interest in advancing their careers, and I am writing content to address those inquiries.

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This blog is original work.  I claim copyright of this material with reproduction prohibited without attribution. I note and provide links to supporting documentation for non-original material.  If you choose to link any of my articles, I’d appreciate notification.

 

 

 

ARE YOU WORKING WITH PEOPLE OR THROUGH PEOPLE?

https://eblingroup.com/blog/working-with-people-or-through-people/

Image result for ARE YOU WORKING WITH PEOPLE OR THROUGH PEOPLE?

One of the mentors I feel very fortunate to have had in my life was the late Richard Neustadt, a founding professor of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and author of the classic book Presidential Power. When I was a student at the Kennedy School in the mid-80’s, I had Dr. Neustadt for a couple of classes, got to work with him on some special projects and was part of a group of students he’d occasionally have over to his house to teach us about the subtleties of scotch whiskey.

There are a lot of insights that Dick Neustadt is remembered for but the one that is probably the most cited is that, in spite of the awesome resources at his (and, someday soon, her) command, the true power of the President of the United States is the power to persuade. To really be effective in accomplishing their agenda, the President must influence different stakeholders and constituencies to work with him or her.

Note the key preposition in that last sentence. It’s with. As an executive I was talking with recently reminded me, great leaders work with people, not through people. You may, at first, think that the dichotomy between with and through is a distinction without a difference. Not so fast, my friend. Let’s dig a little deeper on the difference between these two prepositions, with and through, and the impact they have on effective leadership.

We can start with definitions. The primary definition of with is “accompanied by.” The primary definition of through is “moving in one side and out of the other side of.” Maybe I could end this post right here. If you’re the colleague, the follower or some other stakeholder, would you rather be accompanied by or moved through one side and out the other? My guess is that for most people the answer is self-evident. You’d rather be accompanied. That’s likely at the essence of the power of persuasion that Dr. Neustadt wrote and talked about.

So, what are other markers of a leader who works with people instead of through people?

As the executive I was recently talking with told me, when you’re working with people, you start with respect for your colleagues. Unless proven otherwise, you assume that they, like you, are acting in the similar best interests of the enterprise. You assume that they’re highly motivated and qualified until proven otherwise.

You also have a focus on what they need as much as on what you need. If you only come in with what you need and what you have right and everyone else has wrong, over the long run you lose your effectiveness.

When you don’t have total control, you have to have influence.  Influence – the power to persuade – takes root when you work with people rather than through them.

The Six Letter Word Healthcare Solutions Providers are Coveting & How to Get It

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/six-letter-word-healthcare-solutions-providers-how-get-stamatinos/

If you’re like most people, you’re looking ahead to the New Year and thinking about what you would like to accomplish. With innovation being on the brink in healthcare the last several years, one thing has surely taken place: restricted access to the right people in order to talk about your solution.
It may sound very simple on the surface; however, navigating the murky waters of healthcare successfully towards gaining access to the decision maker is difficult. And if it’s your goal to gain “Access” in the New Year, it’s a highly coveted and ambitious one.

When the healthcare world was less commoditized, conveying trust was enough to make the sale. Today, there’s simply too much noise in the market place and erodes the ability to gain traction or trust. This leads to many solutions providers ending up swimming in the dreaded sea of similar.

3 Ways Trust Can Be Ruined In an Instant
Gaining access to a decision maker has a lot to do with compatibility and reputation. If you have a great reputation, they’re more likely to listen to what you have to say. Compatibility is not just about how well your personalities mesh. It has more to do with how the healthcare solutions provider sees you and whether or not they trust you.

Trust is vital in any relationship; especially, a sales relationship. It’s been said that trust is the foundation upon which salespeople will achieve success. It will keep your customers coming back and choosing you over your competitors. Unfortunately, trust can be lost in an instant. Here are three ways you can lose the trust of a healthcare solutions provider.

1. Having a Hidden Agenda
A lot of salespeople are focused solely on sales. While sales are important—after all, sales are the lifeline of any organization looking to survive and thrive—it shouldn’t be the only focus. A salesperson doesn’t necessarily have to blatantly show or tell the client that they’re focused solely on themselves. Subconsciously, clients can pick up on even the subtlest of signs. When they feel like they’re not as important as the sale, trust goes right out the window.
Here’s the cool thing, you can eliminate rejection forever simply by giving up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, be sure that everything you say and do aligns with basic mindset that you’re there to help identify and solve their issues.

2. Moving Too Quickly
Customers, especially one’s in healthcare, don’t like to be forced to do anything. In many situations, customers feel like they’re almost being bullied by a salesperson. Trying to move the relationship too quickly is detrimental to the trusted relationship between the customer and salesperson. Relationships are complex and multi-dimensional, which means that pressure leads to resistance and road blocks in your trust equity building efforts.
Contemplate letting go of trying to close the sale or get the appointment. What you’ll discover is that you don’t have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.

Simply focus your conversation on the problems that you can help prospects solve. By not jumping the gun and trying to move the sales process forward, you’ll learn that your potential customers will give you the direction you need.

3. Having No Understanding or Empathy for the Customer
Everyone wants to feel understood; it’s a basic human essential. At the very least, they want those around them to feel some empathy for what they’re going through, even if they can’t completely understand the situation. Your Potential clients & customers feel the same way. They have bad days, they may be dealing with difficult life circumstances, or they may be overwhelmed by all of their responsibilities at work.
Trust will be lost if you or anyone on your sales team fails to acknowledge the challenges that your customers are going through. In essence, the customer will feel like their feelings, even their existence, have been belittled. And, when they feel this way there is no way they’re going to trust the person who is contributing to them feel this way.

How to Build Trust and Gain Continual Access to Potential Customers
What will it take for healthcare solutions provider to start gaining access to the decision makers during the New Year? There are three steps they can take.

1. Tell the Truth
There’s no better way to earn a client’s trust than with honesty. Clients want to know what you can and can’t provide for them. Stretching the truth to gain the sale will only lead to disappointment, both for them and for your wallet.

2. Embrace Transparency
This goes hand-in-hand with honesty. Keep your promises for sure, however, don’t start making promises that you can’t keep. A lack of honesty and authenticity will definitely have an adverse effect on your reputation with the decision-makers.

3. Replace “Selling” With “Caring”
Those in the healthcare field enter the field because they want to help other people. They’re constantly caring for others. They need to be cared for, too. This is where you come in. If you make your customers feel well cared for, they’re sure to become loyal customers.
Instead of burning a lead by asking “probing” questions to qualify a potential client, you might want to consider how you can add value through concrete insights and build trust beforehand.

Moving Ahead, Access Will Be Predicated Upon Building “Trust Equity”
In the world of quotas and benchmarks things have become watered down and sales conversations have somehow become surface level and NOT authentic.
The currency of the new economy is trust. And you need TRUST beforehand to even get ACCESS.

Building “trust equity” is a long-term, never-ending effort of communicating, listening, building trust and establishing credibility. My belief is that you’ll be more likely to win over customers’ trust over time and tap into a well of abundance that’ll never dry out.

Learn How You Measure Up on the “Trusted-Access” Scale
Like any business strategy, determine what measurements need to be in place to determine effectiveness. Have a strong grip on what those KPI’s are and manage towards those goals each month.

 

42 Inspiring Quotes That Demonstrate the Importance of Emotional Intelligence

https://www.inc.com/jeremy-goldman/x-inspiring-quotes-that-demonstrate-importance-of-emotional-intelligence.html?cid=nl029week09day01&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Inc%20Must%20Reads&position=1&partner=newsletter&campaign_date=01032018

EQ is often cited as the difference between winners and losers. Use these quotes to up your game.

As far as I know, my MBA program didn’t teach any classes in emotional intelligence. While I got a solid education, I can’t help but think that I might have been served better by taking a course or two in EQ. After all, study after study has shown that emotional intelligence is the different between a successful CEO and an also-ran.

Here are some of the best quotes to inspire you to become a more emotionally intelligent leader:

  1. The only way to change someone’s mind is to connect with them from the heart.
    -Rasheed Ogunlaru
  2. Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. -Jack Welch
  3. In my 35 years in business, I have always trusted my emotions. I have always believed that by touching emotion you get the best people to work with you, the best clients to inspire you, the best partners and most devoted customers.
    -Kevin Roberts
  4. When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion. -Dale Carnegie
  5. When our emotional health is in a bad state, so is our level of self-esteem. We have to slow down and deal with what is troubling us, so that we can enjoy the simple joy of being happy and at peace with ourselves. -Jess C. Scott
  6. No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
    -Theodore Roosevelt
  7. Never react emotionally to criticism. Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business. -Norman Vincent Peale
  8. When you listen with empathy to another person, you give that person psychological air. -Stephen R. Covey
  9. Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution. -Kahlil Gibran
  10.  Remember that failure is an event, not a person. -Zig Ziglar
  11. Unleash in the right time and place before you explode at the wrong time and place. -Oli Anderson
  12. Emotional intelligent people use self-awareness to their advantage to assess a situation, get perspective, listen without judgment, process, and hold back from reacting head on. At times, it means the decision to sit on your decision. By thinking over your situation rationally, without drama, you’ll eventually arrive at other, more sane conclusions. –Marcel Schwantes
  13. It takes something more than intelligence to act intelligently. -Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  14. People with high EQs master their emotions because they understand them, and they use an extensive vocabulary of feelings to do so. –Travis Bradberry
  15. The greatest ability in business is to get along with others and influence their actions. -John Hancock
  16. Any person capable of angering you becomes your master. -Epictetus
  17. Every time we allow someone to move us with anger, we teach them to be angry.  -Barry Neil Kaufman
  18. Maturity is achieved when a person postpones immediate pleasures for long-term values. -Joshua L. Liebman
  19. Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. -Leo Buscaglia
  20. Emotions can get in the way or get you on the way. -Mavis Mazhura
  21. Experience is not what happens to you–it’s how you interpret what happens to you. -Aldous Huxley
  22. Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose. -Bill Gates
  23. Don’t let the baggage from your past–heavy with fear, guilt, and anger–slow you down.  -Maddy Malhotra
  24. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. -Charles J. Sykes
  25. It isn’t stress that makes us fall–it’s how we respond to stressful events.
    -Wayde Goodall
  26. Whatever is begun in anger, ends in shame. -Benjamin Franklin
  27. Pausing helps you refrain from making a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion. –Justin Bariso
  28. No doubt emotional intelligence is more rare than book smarts, but my experience says it is actually more important in the making of a leader. You just can’t ignore it. -Jack Welch
  29. Quick to judge, quick to anger, slow to understand … prejudice, fear, and ignorance walk hand in hand. -Peart
  30. Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs. -Charlotte Brontë
  31. The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions. -Donald Calne
  32. Change happens in the boiler room of our emotions–so find out how to light their fires. -Jeff Dewar
  33. If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far. -Daniel Goleman
  34. Don’t compromise yourself. You’re all you’ve got.  -Janis Joplin
  35. Wisdom tends to grow in proportion to one’s awareness of one’s ignorance.
    -Anthony de Mello
  36. The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
    -Carl R. Rogers
  37. I know that I am intelligent, because I know that I know nothing. -Socrates
  38. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, do we have the right to laugh at others? -C.H. Hamel
  39. We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful. -Eric Micha’el Leventhal
  40. When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen. -Ernest Hemingway
  41. Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone … just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had. -F. Scott Fitzgerald
  42. Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate. -C.G. Jung

What’s your favorite quote about emotional intelligence that needs to be added to this list? What inspires you to develop your EQ further on an ongoing basis?

THE GIFTS OF LEADERSHIP: WHAT YOU REALLY DO FOR OTHERS

The Gifts of Leadership: What You Really Do For Others

This morning, I’m thinking about gifts that touch us deeply and change us profoundly. I’m not thinking about a bottle of wine or tickets to a play.

The first gift leaders give is belief.

Doubt:

Doubt is a virtue.

You doubt rosy reports and projections. You doubt everyone who says, “Don’t worry.” You’re skeptical of unproven systems and untested people. Leaders believe cautiously.

If you’re smart, you doubt yourself a little. But a little doubt, like hot sauce, goes a long way.

Those who change us believe in us.

Belief:

Big sticks make bosses. But the tool of influence is belief.

The more you believe in someone, the more influence you have with them. The less you believe in someone, the more resistance they feel toward you.

Someone believed in you. Be that person for someone else.

Failure and belief:

Belief means most when it’s difficult to give.

Nothing says I believe in you like a second chance.

Believe when someone fails responsibly. (Responsible failure happens when someone gives their best and fails.)

A third or fourth chance – after the same failure – says you’re irresponsible. You should have changed something.

The gift of belief:

Leaders change us when they believe in us.

  1. Rely on someone today. Give them a small project with a short timeline if they’re untested. Belief says, “I’m counting on you.”
  2. Demonstrate confidence today. Everyone on your team knows more about something than you. Ask a question. Go with their answer.
  3. Respect someone today. Don’t judge them by who you are. See theirstrengths. A statement like, “You’re really good at taking responsibility,” says, “I believe in you.”

If people believe in you, teach them to believe in themselves.

What are some gifts leaders give others?

How might leaders demonstrate belief in others today?

 

 

6 Things Leaders Should Be Thankful For Everyday

http://www.leadershipdigital.com/edition/daily-marketing-operations-2017-11-22?open-article-id=7553584&article-title=6-things-leaders-should-be-thankful-for-everyday&blog-domain=jmlalonde.com&blog-title=joseph-lalonde

Be thankful as a leader

1. Success:

Yes, be thankful for your successes. Your successes mean you’re having an impact on the world around you.

Don’t hide your successes. Celebrate your successes and be thankful for them.

2. Failure:

Hold up… You mean leaders should be thankful for failures? Oh yeah, leaders need to be thankful for failure.

Failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. You can examine your failures and see why they didn’t succeed.

Learn and grow from your failures. They’re a great stepping stone to your next success.

3. Influence:

If you’re a leader, you’re influencing other people. These could be team members, customers, even your vendors.

Your influence is guiding and leading people. Be thankful for the influence you have on others.

4. Team members:

Your team is a valuable part of your leadership. From leaders in training to the people working on the ground floor of your organization, these are the people who are the foundation.

Without your team, there’d be a lot more work for you, the leader, to take on.

Be thankful for your team members. They take a huge weight off of your shoulders.

5. The organization:

Sometimes it can be hard to be thankful for the organization you work for. There comes a lot of stress and frustration when you lead an organization.

There are times when you feel unappreciated. You begin to wonder why you’re there when no one values the work you do.

This shouldn’t negate the thankfulness you feel towards the organization. You have the opportunity to guide, build, and lead the organization in a new direction.

Be thankful for the organization you work in.

6. Your family:

Sadly, I’ve seen families get passed over by leaders more often than not. The leaders dedicate themselves to leading an organization yet forget to lead the most important organization they chose to join: Their family.

Your family is part of your mission. You chose them. And they’re a godsend.

Be thankful for your family every day. One day they may not be there.