Some sales people really work hard to earn our hatred and loathing don’t they? In our experience, top of this list is the timeshare sales person. Have you experienced this type? I’m not talking about the pleasant, calm and informative sales person who appears genuinely interested in helping people to find their dream vacation solution. No, I’m talking about the deceitful type whose sales approach is based on trickery and lies.
We’ve all been there right? You’re on vacation and you’re offered a great deal to listen to a harmless presentation in return for a free dinner or boat trip or whatever. You decide that you have time to spare and it will help off-set the cost of the vacation so you decide to attend. You pretty much regret your decision as soon as you walk into the ‘welcome center’ and see all the other gullible people like yourself, who have been prepared to sacrifice 90 minutes of their precious vacation time to sit and be sold to!
I should explain that we had been persuaded to buy our timeshare many years ago on the recommendation of some trusted friends and it has proved great for us and the family, no regrets there. The ability to swap the timeshare always leaves something to be desired but that’s another story. I decided to treat this one as a field trip – to learn about how their sales process works. I was horrified.
In the first instance their initial approach to get us to attend was based on a false premise. They had ‘sold’ us on having a meeting on the basis that the system for swapping our existing timeshare had changed and they wanted to tell us about the new plan. That was their first deception. There was no such ‘new plan’. They simply wanted to sell us another timeshare on ‘their plan’. Don’t they realize that as soon as you start lying to the customer, you’ve lost any hope of a sale? No trust, no deal! And it didn’t stop there. They went on to explain that we could trade-in our existing timeshare and they would add the benefits of their new deal. Not true. What they were offering was a one-time ‘bonus-week’.
Their whole approach was based on bullying and lying. Their process was very well rehearsed, right down to bringing over their ‘manager’ to offer us an even better deal that we couldn’t possibly refuse! They could have saved their time and ours if they had pre-qualified us as not being people who were about to spend $40,000 on a timeshare we didn’t want just because we were going to get a free dinner!
Using deceit as a sales tool is misguided. At the very best it might work to close a deal but it will lead to lose-lose, not win-win. In fact, any sale that is based on one side losing will end-up as a lose-lose. The sales person might think they have won, and in the sort-term they might, but what they don’t realize is that every customer that was forced, coerced or deceived into a sale that they regret becomes a vocal anti-sponsor for that sales person and for the company they work for.
Integrity and trust are fundamental to effective leadership. A great leader is trusted and admired, a role
model whom others wish to follow and emulate, a person of integrity. Would you follow someone you neither trusted or respected? To trust you people need to believe that you are sincere and honest, that you have their best interests and the best interests of their company at heart. Being an excellent role model consolidates all the other aspects of leadership fortifying the process of creating vision, inspiration and momentum.
1. Your behavior, setting the example
Others form a picture of who you are by observing how you act. Your behavior tells others a story. The standard of behavior, the example you set and how you defend what you believe to be right all demonstrate your integrity. This is especially true during times of change when people will be looking to see if the leader lives up to the specific values and themes they are promoting. If you earn people’s respect and trust they will want to adopt your values, both personal and the company’s, which has a tremendous effect on the organizations culture and success.
2. Self respect
This is reflected by your appearance and actions, your punctuality.
3. Respect of others
How you treat others, with sincerity, empathy and consideration. To build credibility ensure that you are friendly and approachable. Make time for others, let the other person do a great deal of the talking, listen and be sympathetic to peoples’ opinions, ideas, concerns and worries. Make eye contact, know that little things count. Offer feedback and advice and take action to address their concerns.
4. Be honest and sincere
Honesty creates a culture of trust. Be uncompromising about the truth keep your word, be honest yet modest. Defend what is right. Show people that you only expect from them what you are prepared to do yourself. Let your team know what you think is important. If you don't tell people what your beliefs are, they'll guess and hold you accountable for what they guess. Being forthright has the additional benefit of making people feel like they understand you, and it develops trust faster than any other way.
5. Always defend what you believe is right
Make sure everyone knows what the organizations belief system is. Write it down, post it on the notice board. Ensure that all your actions demonstrate your adherence to this believe system and your values. Openly acknowledge and praise others who demonstrate this. Never be too important to apologize when things go wrong, When your strategy blows up in your face, take the responsibility.
6. Be magnanimous
Be magnanimous don’t bare grudges. Invite the opinions of others, ask them what values they think are important, what integrity means to them. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view Share with
them that you have accessed your own strength and weaknesses. Invite them to do the same, making yourself available to each individual to offer your help with this. Be prepared to apologize, if you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically. Let other people feel that new ideas belong to them that their opinion matters.
Only hire integrity. ‘Walk the talk’, be firm be consistent, be honest, be respectful, be fair and kind, be the leader!
Do you agree that integrity is the cornerstone for effective leadership and that these are the traits that exemplify leadership integrity? What are your thoughts, we would love to know?
Being able to effectively communicate with others is an essential skill for anyone, regardless of their position or responsibility. All of us need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and convincingly with enthusiasm and confidence. With careful preparation, hard work, practice and a focus on clear language it is possible to develop and improve our communication skills and become more articulate. For a leader this is critical, to clearly and decisively explain vision and direction.
Sir Winston Churchill, a role model for communication?
Sir Winston Churchill, was a master communicator. We might not ever achieve the legendary status of Churchill but we should take encouragement from the fact that contrary to what many believe, Churchill was not a natural orator and was plagued by a speech impediment. Partly because of this but also driven by a desire to communicate effectively to get the results he seeked, Churchill dedicated himself to persistently rehearsing and editing each of his speeches for many hours. Hard work and practice were key components to his success together with thoughtful preparation and sincerity.
Churchill's 6 communication strategies
- Be clear about the audience you are addressing, who they are, what their needs, worries and concerns might be.
- Make sure that your communications have a well defined purpose, have a well defined objective.
- Be aware of all the facts before you speak. Do your research to make sure that you have available all relevant information
- Use simple, but precise language.
- Use humor to make you speeches easier to understand and to remember.
- Be sincere, speak from your heart. This was perhaps Churchill’s most significant tactic – his audience realized that he believed in what he was saying, they believed it too and very often acted on his words.
Additional Communication tips
1. Communicate in several methods
Communication is not all about public speaking and developing presentation skills to large audiences. Your team members want to hear new information from YOU. They want to hear your perspective on changes and new directives. Communicate key messages in more than one method. For your communication to be remembered repeat it. Be consistent without becoming predictable or boring. The first time you say something, it's heard, the second time, it's recognized, and the third time, it's learned.
2. Seek feedback and advice from others
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating and practicing important communication. Ask a co-worker, team member or peer manager to review the message or to listen to your practice sessions. Seek feedback from people after an important piece of communication - How could I have improved it? Which part did not seem to work well? What could I have done differently?
3. Involve your audience
Try to involve your audience, require them to think. A good communicator asks good questions that spark lively discussion, questions that promote a deeper understanding, if you want to get to the heart of something, ask “WHY?” five times. Don’t just stand up and tell people what to do, you want a team of forceful people who understand what you want but at the same time feel that they can make daily decisions themselves. Get people involved, ask for their input, their ideas. Show that you are listening and that you value their thoughts; give positive feedback and encouragement.
4. Have clear expectations and be sincere
What are your thoughts and what has worked well for you? We would love to hear from you!
Stop selling, help your customer to buy!
Why do car sales people get such a bad wrap? The car sales person is one of those types of people that we all love to hate. Why is that? When we want to buy a car, we want someone to help us, someone to listen and understand our needs. Most people dread the idea of having to deal with the car sales person. Typically, within a few seconds, these type of sales people demonstrate that they are not sincere, that they care little about customer needs, they only care about selling us something – anything ... or at least any car on their lot.
They are not all like that. Car sales people are not all created equal. Here’s a car sales story of a different caliber. I was fortunate to be in the search for a new car – in fact a car that would be ‘new’ to me but actually a used car … I had spent time researching the market; I had a pretty good idea of what I would need to pay for the car model and year that I had chosen. I had decided on a car that was several years old and one that had already taken a big hit in depreciation.
Get to know your customer, their needs and concerns
So what happened? Well, to my surprise this particular sales person took the time to get to know more about me. He didn’t parade around the car lot spouting-on about how great all the cars looked. He asked intelligent, searching questions about what other cars I owned; what I had driven in the past; what I liked and didn’t like; and why I was looking. He asked about me and my family and tried to build a picture of what I really needed, as well as what I said I wa
Ask questions, listen and probe, make the client feel you care
It became clear that the salesperson's focus was on ME, the potential buyer. He asked good questions, listened carefully and then started to probe more deeply about my reasoning for why I wanted a used car, as opposed to a new one. He was then able to suggest that he might have a solution that would meet all my needs AND mean that I could be driving a brand new car,
not a used one. I had never in my wildest dreams thought that that would be possible for the type of car I wanted. He showed me an exciting option, which was far better than the one I had original planned. Without pushing me in that direction he suggested, offered and compared alternatives - until I felt that I had made decision to buy new instead of used.
Be sincere and interested to build trust
How did he do that? Firstly he identified that my primary decision- making factor was my assumed monthly cost of financing a car. I had a limit, he didn’t try to change the limit, he respected the fact that I had done my homework but he presented a new solution – a lease which would enable me to have a fixed monthly cost within my budget. He explained the business rationale for leasing the car through the business and was able to talk as a peer. He was someone helping me to make an important decision. He was sincere and interested in my needs and as such made me feel comfortable and willing to trust his advice. At the same time he was looking to the long-term. What he saw in me was someone who could become a repeat customer and a source of referrals and recommendations.
So what does all this tell us? Sales people (even the dreaded car sales variety) would all do better if they focused on the customer first and their products second. Sales people should not be selling; they should be helping the customer to buy!