Sales Directors, Sales Managers and sales people often pride themselves on their mastery of words, whether it’s a sales presentation, motivational team speech, wowing an audience at networking events and so on. That’s what sales is all about isn’t it?
But how about when you’re being judged when you don’t say a word?
Your staff, your colleagues, your customers, your potential customers, even your family are all forming a view of you – even when you haven’t spoken.
Because you’re still communicating.
I call this The Silent Language of Sales
No words, but you speak volumes. If you’re around others, you’re communicating. If you manage a team, you could set the whole tone for the way your department runs - without saying (or writing down) anything to any of them!
Do it right and you're capable of inspiring those around you to great things. Do it wrong and you’ll drain away all their enthusiasm and motivation to do anything!
Silent leadership. The art of leading and inspiring others through any means other than words! I’ve come across some brilliant examples over the years and I’ve also witnessed a distinct lack of silent leadership at times – and I bet you have too?
So I thought I’d share my – and others’ - quick thoughts on what makes a fabulous silent leader, whether that be a leader of a team, a company, of colleagues, or leading a project, or leading a customer.
Simple, common sense habits, but sadly not as common as they should be...
Leading in sales without saying a word
1. Smile! If a leader is trying to project positivity, humility, graciousness, optimism, openness, and a general good nature, smiling would be a good place to start.
2. Think posture. Body language can speak volumes. Slumped shoulders and rounded backs are never good ways to project authority and control.
3. Arrive on time! Consistent punctuality sends a strong message to everyone –a critical part of ‘leading by example’.
4. Pay attention! Nothing says “I’m paying attention to YOU” better than actually looking someone in the eye. Looking at the floor, the wall, or worse yet, at your Blackberry or smart phone, suggests complete disinterest.
5. Be available. Much has been said about the benefits of an ‘open door’ policy. But it’s one thing to talk about it, and another to actually keep your door open. Better still, why even have a door at all?
6. Wander. Get your own coffee. Make your own copies now and again. Join in those office celebrations. Get to know what’s really going on. Join a team meeting you weren’t expected to attend. Just ‘be there’.
All very simple. Quick wins. Zero cost. Big impact.
When silence doesn’t work
Being silent can be a bad idea too. How about when a member of your sales team demonstrates a behaviour or habit that you don’t like or it’s clearly not helping them achieve more sales? Say nothing and you’re indicating to them that it’s perfectly fine to go on as they are, when it clearly isn’t serving them, or you, very well.
Or when a member of your team is not doing something that both you and they know they clearly should be doing? If you stay silent then once again you’re signalling to them that it’s fine not do it.
With either of these examples, taking no action now stores up bigger problems for later.
Of course there are plenty of courses, books, DVD’s that explore the concept of leadership. I just think that these basic ideas would be a good place to start.
By Leigh Ashton, founder of Sales-Consultancy, author of iSell, a speaker, trainer and coach. She helps people incorporate psychology alongside technical selling skills – leading to positive changes in attitude, approach and sales results. Leigh’s mantra is to leave people feeling inspired to take action!