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The Five Leadership Practices that Improve Sales Success

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Buyers want sellers to abandon sales-y behaviors and act like leaders. How do we know? We asked them. In our survey of more than 500 B2B buyers we found that shifts in buyer demands correspond to the evidence-based framework of The Leadership Challenge®. See the behaviors buyers prefer and learn how you can respond to these preferences by demonstrating leadership.

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The Five Leadership Practices that Improve Sales Success

  1. 1. The Five Leadership Practices that IMPROVE SALES SUCCESS A Research-Based Approach to Selling Jim Kouzes, Barry Posner, and Deb Calvert
  2. 2. Our groundbreaking research with more than 500 B2B buyers provides a behavioral blueprint you can follow to book more meetings and close more sales.
  3. 3. How do we know what behaviors buyers want to see from you? We asked them.
  4. 4. Buyers want you to abandon sales-y behaviors—that stereotypical fast-talking, high-pressure, know-it-all attitude—and replace them with leadership behaviors.
  5. 5. Buyers want you to lead them to an ideal place, and when you align your behavior to their preferences, buyers will respond favorably.
  6. 6. In our research, we found that shifts in buyer demands directly correspond to the evidence-based leadership framework Jim and Barry have developed through more than thirty years of research: The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® .
  7. 7. The Five Practices
  8. 8. Buyer Preference: Trust—without it there will be no sale
  9. 9. Buyers determine your trustworthiness by observing how you behave. You must clarify your values and set the example by demonstrating credibility, reliability, and relatability. Consistency comes from knowing your own values and aligning your actions with them. Buyers prefer when sellers Model the Way.
  10. 10. Buyer Preference: Customized solutions
  11. 11. Help buyers envision the future by enlisting them in a common vision and appealing to shared aspirations. A vision that you co-create with your buyers will be exciting and ennobling, mobilizing buyers to act. Buyers prefer when sellers Inspire a Shared Vision.
  12. 12. Buyer Preference: Innovative sellers who can recognize opportunities
  13. 13. Innovation and change involve searching for opportunities and experimenting and taking risks. Create a climate for challenging the business-as-usual thinking. Seek opportunities to learn and grow. Buyers prefer when sellers Challenge the Process.
  14. 14. Buyer Preference: Two-way dialogue and direct involvement in decision-making
  15. 15. Foster collaboration by building trust and facilitating relationships. Find ways to engage every influencer and strengthen others by increasing self-determination and developing competence. Buyers are more likely to give it their all when they feel trusted, informed, and empowered. Buyers prefer when sellers Enable Others to Act.
  16. 16. Buyer Preference: Meaningful connections with sellers
  17. 17. Recognize contributions by showing appreciation for individual excellence. This applies to your buyers and their extended teams, and to your internal team as well. And celebrate the values and the victories. It can be formal or informal, one-on-one or in group settings, simple or grand, but it keeps your buyers feeling good about the work you’re doing together. Buyers prefer when sellers Encourage the Heart.
  18. 18. The results of our research are eye-opening and buyers in our study left little room for doubt. Buyers want sellers to demonstrate leadership.
  19. 19. Leadership is about relationships, credibility, passion, and conviction, and, ultimately, about what you do with buyers.
  20. 20. Leadership is an observable pattern of practices and behaviors, a definable set of skills and abilities—and like any skill, it can be learned. Your buyers want you to learn how to lead.
  21. 21. At this very moment you already have the capacity to lead. You already have buyers who want you to lead. The remaining gap is yours to fill.
  22. 22. GET THE BLUEPRINT The question is: What are you going to do to stop selling and start leading?
  23. 23. DEB CALVERT is the founder of People First Productivity Solutions and The Sales Experts Channel, and author of one of HubSpot’s “Top 20 Most Highly Rated Sales Books of All Time.” JAMES M. KOUZES is the Dean’s Executive Fellow of Leadership, Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, and according to the Wall Street Journal, one of the twelve best executive educators in the United States. BARRY Z. POSNER, PHD, is the Accolti Endowed Professor of Leadership at the Leavey School of Business, Santa Clara University, where he served for twelve years as dean of the school. Jim and Barry have been working together for more than 35 years, studying leaders and researching leadership. They are the coauthors of the bestselling book The Leadership Challenge and over a dozen other books on leadership. Cover photo © Getty/imagewerks The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership® is a registered trademark of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The associated icons are copyright ©2011 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. www.leadershipchallenge.com