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Leadership, is it selling or buy-in?

by Bob Urichuck

Traditional leadership is like traditional selling – telling everyone what to do, and/ or what you expect.

Non-traditional leadership, like non-traditional selling, is the opposite.  It is no longer about selling by telling, it is more about engaging by asking and empowering others to make a decision.

When you engage someone by asking, you are giving them a chance to share their needs, desires and expectations.  That in turn—providing you listen to them—provides you with more information and builds rapport, or trust, the foundation to a successful long-term relationship.  This should be the ultimate goal for leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs, selling and non-selling professionals.

Then you need to empower others in the decision-making process— this is what we refer to as buy-in.  Without buy-in, you cannot successfully move forward.  It has to be the other person’s decision, or else you “sold” them, and no one likes to be sold.  They prefer to buy.

So, how do you achieve buy-in?

The process is simple.  First of all it should not be about you.  Like in non-traditional sales, it should not be about your product, services, brand or organization.  It has to be about the buyer.  Without a buyer, you have no sale!

The same applies to leaders— it is not about you.  It is about your team and where you want the team to be or what you want it to do or have.  You do that by engaging the members of the team in the problem solving, solution creation and decision making.  You now become a facilitator and make things easy for all.  This way you get buy-in and commitment, as it is not your idea, but theirs.  When it is their idea, they take ownership and become committed to produce the results you are looking for.

The key of course is to know what you want from the team and to ask the right questions that will lead them to the appropriate conclusion that they own and will then be committed to put into effect.

Then of course, you have to empower them to do so.  When you engage and empower people, like non-traditional salespeople do with buyers, it shows that you are listening and that you care.  By doing this you are building their self-confidence and self-esteem—who doesn’t want to feel better about himself/herself.  After all, each of us is the most important person in the world, to ourselves.  If not, you are your worst enemy.

A motivated and engaged environment attracts and retains top performers, resulting in better performance, increased productivity and measurable bottom-line results.

Are you a traditional or non-traditional leader?   Are you selling or are you getting buy-in?


 

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