What It Means To Lead

When I was at the DSA Annual Meeting a number of years ago, I had the opportunity to meet the International President of a particular company. Fortunately it was not difficult to get him talking! 

At the age of 22, he left the United States and went to live in Taiwan... on his own! Are you wondering if he knew how to speak Mandarin at that time? He did not. 

From personal experience, I assure you that it takes tremendous moral courage to move away from one's homeland and adapt to another culture. I left for Germany when I was 20, but I had studied German for a year and a half, my German teacher was nothing shy of remarkable, and I could definitely understand more than a few words of German (Okay, okay, I had the vocabulary of a 3 year-old and was more comfortable talking about Snow White than current events, but that's surely better than nothing!).

I think it's safe to say that this gentleman leaned toward the superlative side of being. Previously he had developed the international market for a different direct selling company and helped to grow its international market to over 40% of the company's total revenues. From a few of the things he told me, I gathered that his impact at this current company was no less impressive.

Naturally I could not resist asking him, "How do you do it?"

I wish I could publish the look on his face when I asked that question. He looked at me as if I had just asked the most ridiculous question in the world because the answer was so obvious. "I LEAD," he retorted emphatically.

By the way, I found out that he began leading everyday at 5:30 AM  -  that is when he began prospectingGee! That kind of ruins the whole idea of waiting for a better time to call one's prospects, doesn't it? :)

But how does this all apply to YOU?

If you truly desire to have a wildly successful business, one of the simplest ways to accomplish that is to do what no one else is doing.

Go to any networking club and you are sure to find a number of direct sellers there hoping to find people who will want the products they are selling. If you listen to those direct sellers, however, they will fail to capture your attention and motivate you to pull out your wallet and buy or pull out your calendar and book an appointment or a home show. Why?

They are doing what everyone else does and consequently they all sound the same... B-O-R-I-N-G. Pull out your yellow pages directory and look up any service – the advertisers there all have the same malady - I-am-just-like-my-competition-itis!

When everyone sounds the same, no ONE stands out.

THE TRUTH: Customers do not buy because they understand you. Customers buy because they feel that you understand them

Keep in mind that I am not saying that prospects consciously think, "That salesperson showed he understood me. I'm going to buy something from him." What I am saying, however, is that prospects experience feeling heard! 

We humans want so desperately to feel heard. We deeply want others, even just one person, to truly know who we are. When you truly seek to understand your prospects and customers, when you demonstrate that you have a good idea of what they think, want and need, you end up sounding different than other salespeople, and YOU stand out.

When you help your prospects and customers feel heard, you create incredible value in those relationships, which allows those relationships to continue and to develop further.

Your company does not need salespeople. Your company needs superlative individuals who are willing to invest the time it takes to discover what their prospects and customers want and need, and to help them get it.

Your company does not need customers. Your company needs advocates - people who buy month after month because they thoroughly enjoy buying from the individual who is following up with them.

Your company does not need you. Your company needs YOU to LEAD, to work when others refuse, to listen with a deep desire to understand, to do what others will not.