Value-Based Sales Leadership

Value-Based Sales Leadership - JeffWest

My friend (and former client), Jeff West was a hugely successful salesperson and then team leader with one of the best-known and most-revered insurance companies in the world. I won’t say who it was but … you’ve seen their duck a few times on television throughout the years. 😉 In this guest post by Jeff, you’re going to experience some fantastic wisdom that is absolutely Jeff!

Two things I learned when Jeff was my client: One is that his team loved and respected him. They also produced big-numbers. When you read this article, I think you’ll see why.

Enjoy! – Bob Burg


I used to drive my mother crazy!

There were many times in my early years when my mother would become somewhat frustrated with me. Apparently, I was a very inquisitive child. I constantly asked questions about everything.

Me: “Why does a cat go “meow”, but a dog goes “bark”?”
Mom: “I’m not sure, Jeffrey.  It’s just the way God made them, I suppose.”
Me: “Why is my cousin taller than me?”
Mom: “He is older than you, Jeffrey.”
Me: “Why do I have to go to bed now?”
Mom: “Because I said so, Jeffrey.”

According to my mother, my favorite five questions were, “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

The simple matter is that I still think pretty much the same now as I did when I was a child… at least in that area. :-)

I always want to know “why”.

As entrepreneurs, salespeople and sales leaders — focusing on the question, “Why?” is the first step in building a successful organization. The reason is simple. When you know the answer to “Why?” — you can begin to understand the value you provide to your audience.

Why would a customer do business with you? The answer is normally found in the improvement they experience in their life or business when they take advantage of your product or service. That is the value you provide.

Why would a sales person follow your leadership? In a successful sales team, the answer is almost identical to that of your customers. Understanding and communicating how their lives or career will improve by doing what you ask of them is the key to gaining their buy-in to your organizational goals and methods. That is why they will follow your leadership.

Help them stay focused on why they seek success with your company — then keep your focus on how you can provide value to them by helping them accomplish their goals.

Value – Teach them how to communicate the value your company provides to your customers.
Value – Equip them with great training that leads to their success.
Value – Mentor them in accomplishing their personal goals.
Value – Inspire them to greatness.

Lead by providing value to your sales team — consider them your largest customers.

When you do, you will find their loyalty and commitment to excellence bringing you a great return on your investment.

QUESTION: Salespeople: what is the one area in which you need your sales leader to provide their value to you at this time?

Contrary to Go-Giver Selling?

Contrary to Go-Giver Selling? - Bob Burg

A sales professional we’ll call Rick works in the credit card merchant services industry. He wrote to me with the following concern.

Bob, I read your and John’s Go-Giver books a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’ve been in sales professionally since 2006. I’ve really wanted to make a difference and have fun in prospecting and developing business. The ‘fun’ part has eluded me most of the time.

I want to be a giver and I am revisiting your material to see how I can apply your philosophy to my career in merchant services. I work for a fantastic company that I believe in and I thought I would pick your brain! Here are two questions I’d like to ask:

  1. How do I apply your strategies without abandoning my companies recommended way of growing my customer base?
  2. Would you say your strategies can be effective in any industry or only certain industries?

My response: Rick, thank you for your kind words about the books. And, thank you for writing. I’m not sure I understand your first question. And, not knowing your company’s way of doing business, I’d first need to ask, “are the Go-Giver principles discussed in the books contrary to how your company is recommending you grow your customer base?”

Regarding the second question, the answer is yes, so long as your business operates in a basically “free-market” environment. By that, I mean your prospective customers are not forced to do business with you. As a result you must communicate to them why they will find more value in doing business with you than in not doing so.

That being the case, yes, these principles work in any industry.

Bob, thanks for your reply! I don’t think it’s contrary; it’s just that it’s focused on cold calling and closing in the first appointment, which seems contrary to your approach to business.

My response: Cold-calling is a very legitimate part of business. While certainly not as effective as working with referred customers, when there’s no other option (at least for now) then that is the way to go. There’s certainly nothing inherently “contra go-giver” about cold-calling.

And, regarding a one-call close, it’s the same. Remember, a sale, whether it’s one-call or multi-call is simply a matter of communicating value to the person in such a way that they understand they are receiving more in use value than what they are paying.

When that’s the case they will buy from you whether it’s one call or after many calls. By the same token, if they never feel they are receiving sufficient value in exchange for what they are paying or otherwise exchanging, they will never do business with you whether it’s after one call or after many calls.

If you equate a one-call close with pressuring the person then that would indeed be contrary to selling The Go-Giver Way. Of course, if you pressure someone after the fifth call, that’s still contrary to The Go-Giver Way.

The biggest challenge with a one-call close is that you’re going to have to — within that one call — establish the rapport (developing the know, like and trust feelings toward you), and ask the right questions so they tell you exactly what they are looking for. Then, assuming you effectively communicate (meaning, they understand) that the benefits of your service can fulfill their wants, needs and desires, the sale will occur.

The Go-Giver is all about focusing on bringing value to others. Do that and you will prosper greatly in your business.

Congratulations to the AMA’s Top 30 Leaders in Business

AMA's Top 30 Leaders Badge

The American Management Association recently announced the inaugural edition of their Top 30 Leaders in Business list. Congratulations to the 30 authors, thought leaders, professors, business experts and many more who were honored on their list. I especially want to congratulate my business partner, our own Bob Burg. He is so humble and I know […]

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Creating a Culture of Excellence

The Go Giver

What is the culture of an organization? How do we create a culture of excellence within our own company or organization? First, let’s define our terms. Merriam-Webster defines Culture as: A way of thinking, behaving, or working that exists in a place or organization (such as a business). The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, […]

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