“I am not a salesperson!” said a client leader recently. It was in response to my suggestion that he invest energy and effort into “selling” his recommended approach to his boss and peers. His answer carried a hint of disdain, as if being a salesperson was a bad thing.
Selling often carries a negative connotation …
In that regard, he is not unusual; “selling” frequently carries a negative connotation. It implies that the person is aggressive, overbearing, insistent, and pushy. Often to the degree that what is being sold does not match the buyer’s needs or goals. And that the sale benefits the seller more than it does the buyer. But that is not what selling should be.
As a leader, you should always be selling. A more creative way of thinking, an improved workplace; an idea to make a positive difference. Or new possibilities, empathetic relationships, strong work ethics. Sure, this type of selling does not involve money; instead it requires energy and effort and time. But if you’re trying to make positive change happen, then let’s be very clear; you are selling something. And if you’re not trying to make things better, then why have you taken on the mantle of leadership?
But it is essential to good leadership
So if you are a leader, it is time to get rid of the mindset that you are not a salesperson. You are. One of your most powerful skills is that of persuasion. It is your ability to “sell” ideas, behaviours and actions to your staff, your co-workers, your senior leaders, that will advance you and your organization further. Seek out opportunities to offer innovative solutions, build a network of relationships, and positively influence others. By changing your inner narrative, you can also change outcomes.
What do you think? Do you agree? I’d love to hear your perspectives, even if we don’t have the same opinion. Please comment below.