How to Leverage Your Influence

Why do we get into sales? Typically it is two reasons for most people. One is to make money, and the other is often that we like working with other people.

Yes, there are good reasons to be in sales. To be highly effective and win on a consistent basis, we must remember that sales is a team effort. Its great to have a big ego (of course you would here this from me). A big ego will carry you far. A big ego is also a strong ego in my world. A strong ego is someone who knows when and how to put him or herself aside, and bring whole team along.

There are two sales then that we must constantly win to be effective in sales. The first is the one that we talk about all of the time - selling to our prospects and customers. This is where we spend most of our time.

The other is the internal sale. To be effective, everyone who supports us in our jobs has to believe that we are as great as our customers think we are (and we that we are). Top salespeople know this. They make sure that their sales consultants, sales engineers, financing specialists, product support personnel, contract administrators, office managers, administrative assistants and receptionists absolutely love them.

This is an important way to achieve real influence. When your internal team loves you, you are a force to be reckoned with. You can call resources to bear when you need them most. When a big deal comes up, and you need the extra help for the fight, the support staff will want to give it to you because they like you.

Salespeople that behave like raging assholes around their support staff don't get a lot of help when they are in a bind and really need it. Sure, you can have their boss order them to do it. Then their boss will dislike you too. And the first time you stumble, people will be line up to pile on you. And in today's less than certain economic environment, you'll be on high on their hit list.

Having been in sales for a long time myself, I admit that there have been times where I have been less than wonderful to some of my support people. Since I've been there, I know how it happens. You're under a lot of pressure. You've got a quota that you gotta make. Maybe you don't know everyone well because you are new. You are not so certain that you are going to get the help that you need before either losing the sale or being fired.

The common reaction for some people is to become a little Hitler. We have all this work that has to get done. It has to get done now. There's not enough time in the day or in the week. Yet these people that work with us, they don't seem to share our commitment to doing whatever it takes to getting the job done. Doing whatever it takes to win the deal.

So we get strident with them, speaking in stressed out voices with wrinkled faces, repeating over and over just how urgent things are and that they must get done now.

Well, these people that work with us and support us, don't for the most part have the financial incentives that we do. They aren't the risk takers that we are. If they were, then they would be in sales too.

This is the source then of the stress that comes up at times between salespeople and our support staffs. We have different incentives towards the same common business goals of selling products and acquiring new customers.

To be a leader then, one must have perspective. One must remember that while we may be in a risky business, the potential rewards are why we are here. Our support staff do not share the same rewards as we do, nor the same risks.

It is unreasonable then to expect our support people to "do whatever it takes" without having a reason for such a commitment.

You must become the reason.

When you do, you will feel your influence increasing and your power multiplying.

We want to sell and influence our support people just as we sell and influence our customers. That is, first get to know them individually. Find out what their wants, desires, and pains are. See how you can make their job easier and more enjoyable while working together to make more sales. Everybody wants to enjoy their work and to get some fulfillment from it. They will enjoy working with you, and will want to help you.

Doing this will help you to get what you want out of sales - to make money and to enjoy working with people.

© 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at

In The News:

Pets and Real Estate Sales  The New York Times
Hon Hai sales hit record high for May  Focus Taiwan News Channel
How Sales Data Can Help Non-Sales Teams  Harvard Business Review

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