I had the pleasure of attending the InsideView (on Twitter they are @insideview) conference in San Francisco last week and I was so impressed with the number of great speakers focusing on how we as companies can sell better, including topics like social selling and social CRM.
My favorite of all the great speakers in attendance was Gerhard Gschwandtner who is the CEO of Selling Power Magazine (@SellingPowerMag). I’ve been a reader of Selling Power since the 90’s and was very excited to meet the man behind the brand and listen to his views on where selling is going today. (They have an app, people – download it.)
Gerhard started the presentation by looking for audience participation and literally had people in the audience read his slides aloud. Talk about making everyone wiggle in their chairs….but knowing that you are in a room filled with sales and marketing types (in the after-lunch time slot), you’ve got to do something to get the energy level in the room up.
Once he got everyone’s attention, Gerhard left us with some of these nuggets:
- Gerhard quoted Warren Bennis by saying that “becoming a leader is much like becoming an integrated human being.” I like this thought because it says much of what we already know we should inherently be practicing with the intention of leading with kindness.
- An integrative leader is one that links people, processes and technology – I love this maybe because this is what we are focused on doing. This says to me that it isn’t about just selling anymore – it is about solving problems. Issues in today’s business are multi-tiered and have as much to do with people as technology they are using to do it.
- There are more books on leadership than there are leaders. Well, don’t we know that is the truth? Unfortunately, there is also just as much bad information on leadership out there as good. How do you know what the right information is? You have to rely on recommendations from others and those who you admire in leadership. Pick your leadership style and find a mentor to help guide your path.
- Architecture predicts how we think. I had never thought about it this way before but it is true. Open environments produce better thinking vs. closed environments. Comfort relaxes your mind and puts you in a more creative state. Disney has an entire book called “The Imagineering Way: Ideas to Ignite Your Creativity” which goes into great detail about the environment and architecture inside the creative jobs at Disney, as well as other subjects. It’s a great quick read if you are interested in how the environment at your business may be helping or hurting you.
- There is a price associated with your connections on LinkedIn – are you using this tool to your fullest capacity when selling? I’ve often written about the power of one’s connections and about how now the hiring process is just as much about connections to others as it is about your resume. Our ability to get things done in the world of Social CRM and Social Selling has much to do with the strength of our network.
- You can improve the performance of your top 20% of sales people by giving them the best tools and educating them on how to use them. This may not help the rest of your teams, but in my opinion you should be focusing your efforts on your top producers anyway. This is the way to increase your overall profitability.
These are just a few of the tidbits that I picked up from Gerhard. He is having a sales conference in San Francisco called Selling 2.0 and I would encourage you to attend to gain more insight from this forward thinker.