TALKING SALES 120: "Top salespeople are authentic leaders" - Ian Lowe

John Smibert

Leadership 3        "Inspire your customers with your authentic  leadership" - interview by John Smibert.

In our many discussions with Ian J Lowe he has reminded us that our deeply embedded 'intent' determines our behaviour. We need to ensure we have to right intent in order to behave correctly with our clients.  This means the all encompassing intent to help others, to give, to create value for our customers.

Ian LoweI suggested to Ian that our intent is influenced by the way we see ourselves.

Ian agreed.  He said "I think we really need to examine the roles that we play in our own lives, and also in our professional lives, I think we need to see ourselves as leaders".

He then went on to explain that in the changed business world - that of greater volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity - we need leaders. And salespeople are best poised to bring authentic leadership to the table and inspire.  We need to see ourselves as inspirational leaders.

Ian went on to explain what this means, and why and how all salespeople should strive to be leaders.  And he emphasised the outstanding rewards that are on offer through reciprocity to salespeople who provide leadership.

Read or view the full discussion below to learn more. I recommend it for CEO's, COO's HR, Sales leaders, as well as professional salespeople.

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Ian is the CEO of Eccoh.co (formally Go-Givers Australia). He is an expert in sales transformation and a specialist in why people sell.

Interview

John: Welcome back! I've got Ian Lowe with me me again - hello, Ian!

Ian: Hi, John!

John: Hey, we've had lots of great discussions, and thank you very much for your time and your thoughts. One of the things that crosses my mind, particularly in the last discussion where we were talking about our intent, etc., a lot of it comes back to the way we see ourselves, doesn't it?

Ian: It does, it does - I think this is something I think about a great deal as well. I think with what we've been talking about recently, in terms of the volatility in the world, this VUCA era that we find ourselves in, I think we really need to examine the roles that we play in our own lives, and also in our professional lives, I think we need to see ourselves as leaders. Sylvia Damiano from the About my Brain Institute said it really well to me recently, she said "We need to own our own leadership."

John: Right. And what does she mean by that?

Ian: What she means by that is we need to see ourselves... If we think about the era we're in right now - there's so much volatility, so much complexity, uncertainty, ambiguousness - what do leaders do? Leaders inspire people into action.

John: Very good point.

Ian: Despite all the barriers and obstacles that they face, how do you inspire?

leadership1John: Are you saying we should all be leaders?

Ian: I think we are all leaders - we all have the ability, the capability, I think maybe even now the responsibility. If we think about sales, in the sales environment there are more stakeholders these days, especially in larger sales, right?

John: Oh, tell me about it.

Ian: More complex sales.

John: It's very complex, yes.

Ian: Longer sales cycles, more stakeholders, more competitors. There's never been a more urgent requirement for us to be able to lead all stakeholders through all the different stages of the buying process than now. So, to do that we need to see ourselves as leaders.

John: And I guess we need to see ourselves as being very capable individuals right from the ground up.

Ian: Yes, absolutely. It's not enough just knowing the steps of your sales process; just following that is not going to be enough anymore.

John: But we can't pretend we're leaders.

Ian: No.

John: One of the issues I come up within the personal branding area all the time is people, they try and pretend to be something they're not; and if they put out this persona, then everybody sees through it very quickly.

Ian: Yes.

John: Isn't there a danger of if we say "We're going to be a leader" that we pretend to be a leader?

Jekyll + HydeIan: Yes, absolutely - there's a huge danger, and I think that's part of the problem. There's been this pretence in the past, this sort of mask-wearing, and that's caused a dilution of trust between buyers and sellers.

John: And leaders and followers.

Ian: And leaders and followers, that there's some disconnect. And we've all seen those leaders, right? They stand up and share a vision, to the public or in the pages of the corporate report...

John: Put it up on the wall.

Ian: Put it up on the wall, that's it, and then they behave in ways that are entirely disconnected with what they've just said.

John: Exactly.

Ian: And what effect does that have on you?

John: Well, I'm not going to follow them. I'm certainly not going to believe in the vision they've just created for me.

Ian: That's right. And the same question is why should the client follow you? Why should that client follow you through the steps of a process.

John: So, you need to be authentic in yourself, you need to believe in yourself, and you need to be a leader, but authentically as yourself.

Ian: Absolutely, and that takes work. It takes dedication, it takes passion, it takes commitment, it takes purpose; it takes more than the narrow field of vision we've normally had in sales.

John: And I guess going back to the earlier discussion we had, it's something that we really have to get help with; we need mentors, we need coaches.

Ian: Yes.

John: Again, all of this we can't do on our own.

Ian: We can't. And it's all critical, because it's no longer an option; it's critical. It's critical to our individual, team, organisational success, that we're able to step up.

John: And going right back to a discussion we had a while ago of if we all are going to change the world, and we have that ability to change the world, we have to really change ourselves first.

Ian: Absolutely, and the rewards for doing that are astronomical. There's no disconnect here by being sort of an enlightened, mindful leader, and being successful - this is ~core~ to success.

John: Hey, Ian, you're a great leader, you're inspiring me to really be much better than I am - thank you very much for that!

Ian: [laughs] Thank you, John!

John: And hopefully you've inspired the audience out there.

Ian: I really hope so.

John: Thank you very much!

Ian: Pleasure!

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More short interviews with Ian Lowe:

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