A Sales Leader's level of success or failure may be determined by their ability to influence people within their own organisation, as well as those operating in other companies.
Sales Leaders who use their influencing skills well are exciting to be around and they exude a positive energy that attracts people towards them. Your ability to influence others can empower people development, accelerate results and ultimately ensures an easier working environment. Influencing is about understanding yourself and the effect or impact you have on others. Though, it can on occasion be one way, the primary relationship is two way, and it is about changing how others perceive you.
Truly excellent influencing skills require a healthy combination of interpersonal, communication, presentation and assertiveness techniques. It is about adapting and modifying your personal style when you become aware of the affect you are having on other people, while still being true to yourself.
Behaviour and attitude change are what's important, not changing who you are or how you feel and think. You may try to exert your influence through coercion and manipulation. You might even succeed in getting things done, but that isn't really influencing. That's forcing people to do what you want, often against their will. You won't have succeeded in winning support. Pushing, bullying, bludgeoning or haranguing DO NOT WORK! Like elephants, people will remember the experience. Indeed, if you force someone to do something you want without taking their point of view into consideration, then the impression that person is left with is how they will see you forever. You're stuck with it, unless you deliberately change what you do in order to be seen differently. People are far more willing to come halfway (or more) if they feel acknowledged, understood and appreciated. They may even end up doing or agreeing to something they wouldn't previously have done, because they feel good about making the choice.
What Makes An Effective Influencer?
Winning influencers share a common set of attitudes and behaviours that ensure consistent success. Studies have shown that they:
• Indicate the benefits of their ideas and are able to put a context around these benefits so it creates greater impact on the individual.
• Neutralise resistance, usually in advance. They anticipate, respond and are able to plant a positive association to potential areas of resistance before the other person has even had a chance to voice them.
• Find alternative ways to influence others and demonstrate high levels of flexibility. This means that if the approach they are taking doesn't get them their desired results they try a different approach. If this doesn't work they try another approach. Ultimately, the person with the greatest flexibility will always have control over the situation.
• Listen attentively to what others say because this improves mutual understanding and conveys respect for the opinions of others. Giving good attention to people makes them more intelligent. Poor attention makes them stumble over their words and seem stupid.
• Uncover needs and wants because they appreciate that every individual is unique. They have their needs, their own set of problems and their own motives for doing what they do.
• Empathise continuously and are able to adopt different perceptual positions to connect with the feelings of others in different situations. Not only do effective influencers manage to put themselves in their customers' shoes, they are also able to wear the shoes of individuals in their sales team.
• Have developed high levels of sensory awareness. This means that their senses are fine-tuned to pick-up on the smallest details include non-verbal signals that are sometimes different to what a person is saying.
• Create and maintain rapport throughout their communication that enables them to deepen relationships, build higher amounts of trust and minimise resistance.
• Eliminate weak statements from their language and are able to create multiple positive associations by avoiding negative words and using negations in a positive way. For example; "I'm not going to say that this strategy will be totally successful." The unconscious mind has to think about the strategy being totally successful, irrespective if the word 'not' is contained within the statement.
• Base the success of their communication on the response it produces in others. If other people don't respond in the way that the influencer was wanting, they accept responsibility and change their communication until they do achieve their desired outcome.
Influencing really is that important!
You may also enjoy reading: "Recognising The Different Influencing Styles"
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Tomorrow: A treat for you on The JF Guest Author Spot - Stone Payton, with an absolutely brilliant piece, all about proposals and proposal writing - you will thoroughly enjoy it, I promise.
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