I’ve always said that those who demonstrate leadership will succeed in their sales career.

The phrase I use is “sales is leadership and leadership is sales.”

Sales leadership is not being the top performing salesperson in terms of numbers or being #1 in your industry.

I define “sales leadership” as being the type of salesperson and sales team that is seen by not only your customers, but also your competitors, as being the source to turn to for answers.

The role of the salesperson has changed dramatically with the expansion of the internet and the use of technology.  Many of the tasks salespeople did in the 1990s are now gone, being replaced by technology.   Not only have many tasks been eliminated, but for many industries, the need for salespeople has also declined.

The failure of far too many salespeople and sales organizations has been the narrow vision they’ve taken on how they serve their existing customers and develop new customers.

Customers have more options than ever before.

Gone are the days of a single choice.

What this means is the role of the salesperson is even more important.  When we allow ourselves to be seen as mere carriers of information regarding product features, then we are doomed for failure and obsolescence.

Our role today in sales is to be seen as a leader, and when I say that, I much more than merely selling top-line products or services.

What I mean is we ourselves have to be seen as a leader.  More than ever, our world is looking for leaders, but not just ones who take control of power, but also ones who empower others.  In our case as salespeople, that means empowering our customers to make better decisions.

Sales leadership is being able to ask customers and prospects questions that both you and the customer are not going to know the answer to.

Tradition-bound salespeople would never think of asking a customer a question they wouldn’t be able to answer.  In fact, most traditional salespeople are even afraid to ask a question they don’t know the answer to already.

Leadership in sales is just the opposite.

It’s being comfortable and personally confident enough to ask tough questions.

Sales leadership is about being responsible and allowing the customer to have control of a conversation.  When we allow customers to have control of a conversation, it allows us to learn far more about the customer than when we try to show up and throw up.

How do you show your sales leadership?

Do your customers look to you for answers and insights that go way beyond what it is you sell?

If they do seek out your opinion on these types of things, then yes, you are seen as a sales leader.

The amazing thing I’ve found in working with thousands of salespeople over the years is the salesperson who is seen as the sales leader by their customers in time winds up being the sales leader in their organization in volume and profit.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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