Do You Follow Or Lead?

Photo by Moritz320 via Pixabay

Attract The Right Job Or Clientele:
As we attempt to advance our careers, the decision to follow or lead becomes the essential question for us to answer. During our formative years, the decision boils down to whether we would rather be popular for the moment, part of the crowd, or an outcast.

The next question for us to ponder is the level of importance each possibility holds. Those willing to give up unique thoughts to be a part of the crowd do not advance far. But those ready to go it alone for a long while have a chance to gain grounding. Continuing down this path, many will evolve toward collaborative ideas for further advancement.

My Story
As I entered the sales profession, it became commonplace to be ignored in the office. But it was almost laughable when I heard prospects and clients alike who together branded me as a breath of fresh air. I learned many lessons from the experiences before entering sales and those eye-opening situations that followed.

The simplest example is my not buying into sending the identical generic letter to every prospective client. My manager wanted nothing to do with my suggestion that we personalize some specifics, such as the industry they represent. He said that would be too time-consuming, and then the entire team laughed at my idea.

However, the outcome provided a very different result. Although time-consuming, I secretly sent my own messaging. Sure, it took a while to personalize each communication, but the investment of time proved worthwhile as the results came in.

The entire team garnered zero calls. But I received seven calls, including requests to meet with all.

Clients and prospects appreciate the personalization of communication. It conveys you are not there to make a quick sale but to do your best while giving thought to their situation.

My Lessons:
– Weigh the pros and cons of each suggestion.
– Only accept what is compatible with your way of thinking.
– Seek out like-minded people for support.
– Believe in yourself.
– Build your authentic personal brand.

Although I was always doing all of the above, it took me years to accept how I work and understand the ‘why.’ Although I understood the social issues, it was beyond comprehension why the same applies to the corporate scene. The more significant dilemma was my supposedly working with a team. My experience proved to be the opposite of teamwork.

Gaining the viewpoint of your prospective clients first is the gateway to moving the sale forward. I find it ironic that sales executives do not incorporate the same when it comes to training and motivating their sales representatives. Instead, a dull script is handed to everyone because it’s easy.

A welcoming atmosphere for each representative will develop excellent value. The only qualifier is to treat everyone as an equal whether they follow or lead. A diverse team freely providing a variety of ideas will produce better results on several levels. Sales will be more frequent and robust due to the open exchange of ideas. Further impacting the bottom-line is in enjoying longer employee retention.

Eliminating the question to follow or lead and welcoming varying perspectives are essential for adding to the company profit. If I were a corporate sales manager, I would encourage everyone on the team to share their insights and ideas to experience a happier ending for all.

Years later, I was asked to contribute articles to the Personal Branding Blog. The one requirement was to include the words’ personal brand’ in each piece. I had no idea what it meant, but full recognition came to me as I continued to write. Ever since the day I began questioning whether to follow or lead, I was in actuality building my personal brand.

When we choose to step aside to lead and then adhere to the decision, consistency is necessary for all we do. Our unique but uniform approach serves to develop trust in us. Why? People know they can count on us.
“Being the person that others can trust is the better sales strategy of all.