Sellers are subject to stereotypes about selling. It’s just something we have to expect and handle. What we don’t have to do, though, is fuel those stereotypes. Chief among the negative stereotypes about sellers is the one that suggests we can never be trusted.
It’s out there. And it’s in the back of every buyer’s mind unless and until you overcome that perception by behaving differently. Unless you want to continue carrying that stigma, you will have to differentiate yourself from the stereotype (and from some other sellers who behave in ways that make it stick).
Knowing that buyers have this perception, sellers have to work harder to demonstrate that they are trustworthy. You can’t simply say you are different. You have to prove it through your actions.
To engender your buyer’s trust, you need to stop selling and start leading.
This post, the fourth in a 5-part series that examines five foundational principles needed to stop selling and start leading, will help you understand why. These principles are backed by 30 years of research by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner on the behaviors of exemplary leaders around the world. Their research on The Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders® has been validated by more than 600 independent research studies.
One of the practices prescribed by this research is to Enable Others to Act. Leaders build mutual trust with followers so they can collaborate effectively. Sellers must do the same.
In an age of empowered buyers who no longer respond to one-direction selling, collaboration is essential. But it doesn’t come easily. Collaboration requires open sharing and some vulnerability, too. Unlike traditional win/lose negotiating, the aim of collaboration is win/win — not through compromise but through expanded dialogue that gets all needs and everyone’s needs met. That simply can’t happen without a firm foundation of trust.
The most effective leaders are able to do this. They do it by frequently demonstrating behaviors that build trust and open up collaborative dialogue. When sellers step into a leadership role with their buyers, they can access these very same behaviors and enjoy the same outcomes.
If you’re getting nowhere in your negotiations and collaborations, step back to build trust. Stop selling and start leading.
The CONNECT2Sell Blog and training programs are products of People First Productivity Solutions. We build organizational strength by putting people first. Visit our website for more sales and leadership resources and tools. To learn more about our training programs like Stop Selling & Start Leading, take a look at our 2015 course catalog.