Sales, marketing, and business careers are generally very competitive. As a salesperson, you are competitive with yourself, your competition, and with your peers. It’s never OK to be second place and it is certainly never OK to decline in your own performance.
Because of this harsh reality, we so often are wrapped up in our own little worlds that we forget one main, crucial component of business: sometimes, the best way for us to see success personally is to help others achieve success.
I’m not talking about helping out a competing company…don’t go and give away your corporate secrets to a failing salesperson who works for your direct competition.
I’m talking about helping your coworkers succeed. Top performers know that the bonus of helping or assisting those around them is that their efforts are almost always repaid by even greater short- and long-term dividends.
This knowledge is crucial to have if you were recently promoted to a leadership position as well. Perhaps you spent the last few years clawing your way to be the #1 sales/marketing rep in your company. Now, you are expected to lead and inspire those people you just worked so hard to beat.
Helping others succeed and leading them is not as easy as it sounds, especially in our business. We feel that is is extremely important to go over the best ways to help others win. The January 6, 2016 Forbes magazine article The Fastest Way To Achieve Success Is To First Help Others Succeed, by Amy Rees Anderson examines this very well. We took the lessons laid out in that article and applied it to the world of sales, marketing, and business.
Pay Attention to the Small Details
I’m not talking about how your coworker added an additional 2.06% profit by negotiating a great sale 4.2 months ago.
I am talking about your coworkers spouse’s name. What are their hobbies? Children’s names and ages? Where they are going on vacation and what they want to do? All of these small details may seem mundane and insignificant, but simply remembering the minor details about someone’s personal life will show them that you truly care and that they are important to you, meaning that they will work harder for you.
A comical example is from the popular TV show The Office. Michael Scott flips through his Rolodex and instantly recalls minor details about his coworkers and his customers. Of course, Dwight isn’t impressed with his entry (tall, beets) but his customers definitely appreciate how he remembers the minor details.
Share Your Network
If you are willing to open up your network and your connections to people, you will be amazed at what they will share with you. This is one of the elements where helping others succeed can pay back huge dividends quickly. Some of the most unlikely people can surprise you with amazing contacts that you never would have imagined.
Inspire Others, Don’t Motivate Them
This is a pretty odd sentence, because most people would say that inspiration and motivation go hand-in-hand. However, I would argue that there is a huge difference between the two, and one of them is better than the other.
When you motivate someone, it usually involved giving a speech or a pep talk; it’s more of a temporary feeling of indestructibility. You might psych some people up for a little while, but just like Zig Ziglar says, “Some people say motivation does not last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” It does not last, and is therefore, not that efficient.
Inspiration, on the other hand, is an entirely different feeling. When you feel truly inspired by someone, it’s usually not because they gave you a pep talk or a rousing speech. Perhaps it was just a little comment – “Hey, I just wanted to say that I appreciate the work that you do and you are valuable here. Keep it up.” Inspiration means putting yourself out there – you are helping your troops by running in to battle with them, not sitting in an office somewhere telling them to charge.
Master the Art of Honest, Constructive Feedback
This is a difficult thing to do. Whenever someone is doing something wrong and you call them out on it, their first instinct is to put their boxing gloves on and fight back. You have to be able to learn how to give constructive feedback in a way that leaves the person feeling good and inspired, not beaten and battered.
They key to this is to suggest, not demand. “May I make a quick suggestion – you did this very well and I really liked the way you presented this, but have you thought of trying it this way instead?” will go MUCH further than “That was not good – you need to do it my way.”
Be Willing to Put the Needs of Others First, Above Your Own Needs
This perhaps sounds a bit silly and counter-intuitive. By putting the needs of others above yours, you might feel as if it makes you a metaphorical rug that people will walk all over. This is not saying that you should cast aside your needs completely and totally surrender to everyone’s needs, but it is important to recognize that sometimes, the needs of your coworkers and employees might be more beneficial to the success of the company, as well to their own personal success.
The funny thing is that this actually works in helping you achieve success too. Perhaps not instantly, but over time it eventually leads to getting you everything you want and more.
It takes a lot to inspire others and to help them succeed. In the world of sales, marketing, and business, this is a crucial skill to possess, especially if you are a top performer or a leader. Help others win, and you will win. It’s as simple as that.
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