by George Hedley
"I have some deep concerns about the future of your company. I have some deep concerns about your leadership. I have some deep concerns about the management team you have assembled. Your business is not growing for one reason: You and your management team are not leading by example."
This is the opening to a letter I recently sent to a start-up company I have invested in. I wanted to shake them up and help them realize where their problems lie. Often times, business owners and managers tend to blame their bottom line woes on the economy, competition, customers, salespeople or their employees. In reality, results are the biggest indicator of leadership.
Leaders Lead By Example!
Leaders lead. Leaders make it happen. Leaders get big results. Leaders set the pace. Leaders get people to follow. Leaders create excitement. Leaders take accountability. Leaders do what it takes.
Making a profit and growing your business is simple. It starts with creating revenue. No revenue = no business = no profit. Successful business leaders are almost always big-time revenue generators who create lots of sales. The fastest way to fix a company's profit or growth problems is to generate more revenue.
Anyone can manage. Leaders go out and create revenue. (Sam Walton)
Anyone can write procedure manuals. Leaders go out and sell stock. (Jeff Bezos)
Anyone can mind the store. Revenue takes inspiration and excitement. (Jack Welch)
Anyone can organize. Leaders cold call and close sales. (Lee Iacocca)
Anyone can tell others to do it. Leaders go out and make it happen themselves. (Ross Perot)
Selling Is Not Easy!
For me, selling doesn't come naturally. I don't like to spend my day cold calling on potential customers who don't really want to talk to me. Selling is uncomfortable. Selling is not my gift. So what did I do to fix the problem? Hired a salesperson. I figured this would remove me from the sales process. Guess what? It doesn't work. He continually keeps asking me to go on sales calls with him. This ticks me off! Now what? Can I grow my business without me doing any selling? No!
In my construction business, our clients want to know the owner and project management team before making a decision to hire us. Customers want to know who they will be doing business with. They want to build relationships and develop a sense of trust during the sales process.
It is impossible to leave a professional salesperson alone and expect them to close lots of sales. It is easy to hire a salesperson do your job. The hard part is to get them to do it well without your coaching, direction and hands-on involvement. When you rely exclusively on your salespeople to grow your business and bring in profitable sales, it just won't happen. Without the owner and management team involved, it is hard to meet your sales goals.
Leaders Commit To Sell
The only way you can grow your business is to take personal responsibility to get it done. You must be the leader. You must lead by example. You must spend time with your customers. You must sell. What is your personal commitment to selling? This week? This month? This quarter? This year?
Leaders generate revenue. A personal sales approach utilizing face to face appointments with your top 20 to 50 customer targets is what it takes. Every breakfast and lunch is an opportunity to be with one of your targets. Every day arrange at least 1 or 2 meetings with potential and current customers from your list. Give your management team a weekly progress report to show your commitment to making sales happen.
Only by your example of leadership, will your team get on board as well. Make selling their priority too. Get sales commitments from every team member. If your team members won't or can't make it happen, replace them with players who will. You can't grow a company without 100% commitment from everyone at the top.
Make Selling A Priority!
Remember the start-up company I sent the letter to? The CEO got on board and made it happen. He made a personal commitment to make ten sales appointments every week. He also committed to personally generate $15,000,000 in revenue within six months. His leadership inspired those under him to get on board as well. Each team member committed to make selling their priority. This also improved productivity, customer service and profitability. All good news! Guess what? Their salesperson improved as well. With the full support of the company leaders, he was more aggressive, created leads and turned them into sales.
If your business isn't growing in revenue and profits, only you can be blamed as the leader. You lead your management or project team. You set the priorities. Have you made selling a priority? Your company needs leadership. Your people need someone to follow. The choice is yours. Where will you lead them?
George Hedley owns a $75 million construction and development company and
Hardhat Presentations. He speaks to companies on building profitable businesses,
leadership, and loyal customers. He holds 3-day in-depth "Profit-Builder
Circles" open to construction company owners in an interactive roundtable
format every 3 months. His "Profit-Builder System" includes proven
tools to always make a profit, build equity, create wealth, win profitable
jobs, motivate your people, and enjoy the benefits of owning a profitable company.