I remember going to a sales training seminar years ago at a company called Sandler Training, located here in the Syracuse, NY area. The owner at the time, a great man named Pete Morrissey, allowed me to take free training classes because I went to high school with two of her daughters... and because he took pity on me. 🙂

Teaching is listening, learning is talking
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The presentation was about finding the pain points of prospects, but at one point he was telling us the story about a prospect that he'd made a proposal to. He'd spent a lot of time setting things up before the presentation, and had thought it was a done deal before, then after, he'd met the potential client. They called him a week later and said they were going to try to obtain a couple other proposals first before making a decision.

Instead of just accepting it at face value, he started asking some questions. At a certain point, because he wasn't happy with what he "wasn't" being told, he pulled the proposal.

When the potential client began to stammer and said it was just how they did business, Rick, the presenter, said "That may be, but the proposal was for a specific time period. I can't guarantee my availability at any other time, so I'd rather pull the proposal. You can contact me again when you believe you might be ready, but I can't guarantee the price will be the same."

All of us in the room thought it was an audacious statement. It sounded unbelievable. None of us believed we'd have the courage to say the same thing to any potential client.

Rick's position was that the client has pretty much agreed to the contract and was suddenly hesitant on signing. It sounded like he was balking at the previously agreed upon price and was trying to get a better deal. After putting all that time and effort into it, he felt insulted by the sudden turnaround.

He then uttered a statement that was pretty impressive: "If you feel it, say it".

How simple is that? How powerful is that kind of belief? Wouldn't that solve a lot of problems, especially when it comes to both business and leadership?

Yes... and... maybe. How you say "it" is another matter. I've never been one for brutal honesty because most people can't handle it (even when they say they can), but being honest and upfront is always better than sitting around wondering what's going on and how someone's feeling. Knowing where things stand is always better than sitting around worrying about things, or sitting around thinking that everything's going well.

You want to know a truth? I'm better at this when I'm in a leadership or consulting position than I am as a business person. I'm definitely better at it when it pertains to leadership and consulting than my personal life.

Why? Because when I've been tasked to be a leader, or when I'm consulting with a business, it's not about "me"; it's about others, whether they be employees or the client. In those instances I've been hired to get things done, not sit around wondering what I can do and what could get in my way.

As an independent business, I'm way more passive aggressive. I work on getting contracts but I'm never pushy. In my personal life, I'm comfortable enough in my own skin that, except for my wife and my mother, I don't have to be around anyone I'm not comfortable with. I don't have to say anything to anyone; the only person I have to lead is me.

That's the thing about leadership; you have to be willing to take charge and get things done. You have to be willing to work with others, whether they report to you or not, and you have to be willing to make decisions and delegate when necessary.

You also have to be willing to say what you feel... without being brutal. If people shut down, you'll never get anything done unless you do it yourself.

If you feel it, say it... nicely. 🙂

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