Hello, it’s Jeff Williams, President of Absolute Results.
Now this video is for my trainers who lead Sales Leadership Workshops, and who facilitate world class events for Absolute Results in over 2000 dealers and 19 countries every year.
Trainers, you coached more than 6,000 sales managers, and 15,000 sales professionals. You personally confirmed more than 300,000 appointments, and you interact face to face in showrooms with more than 160,000 customers every year. So I need you all thinking, speaking, and acting like a sales leader. That’s the purpose of this message.
Now you can certainly share this message with other leaders in the industry, because the retail auto industry needs good leaders. And there’s a void to fill. And together we are going to help fill that void. So let’s take the opportunity we have today to learn, to grow and to prepare. Because when opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare. And I think I can almost hear opportunity walking down the hall and it’s about to knock on your door. Will you be ready?
Now today we are going to talk about the Voice of a Leader.
In a time of crisis, or challenge, people need to hear their leader’s voice. And the leader’s voice needs to stand out from the crowd, it must sound different, or it’s not a leader’s voice. And it needs to bring three things to the team:
Reason, Confidence, and Hope.
So let’s start by talking about the Leader’s Voice of Reason.
Now the leader’s voice of reason needs to be grounded in reality. It needs to speak to the facts of the current challenges. Not minimizing them, but factually stating them, and putting those facts into perspective. You see, when panic hits, the first thing that people lose is their perspectivebecause they are so focussed on the problems. The problems seem bigger than they are, and they feel overwhelming. So when addressing this, the leader might say, ‘we are currently facing THIS challenge. And this challenge is affecting us in these ways. And it is affecting various members of the team.’ In this, the leader is not denying reality, they are being bold about the problem, and they are sharing that it affects others, too. Now in doing this, the leader is saying ‘I am here’, I see the problem, it affects others too, and you are not alone. The goal of the leader’s voice of reason is to bring calm, and to give perspective.
Then the leader’s voice of confidence. You see the leader’s voice of confidence needs to address the concerns and fears of the team in a way that makes them feel understood, that the leader is truly with them. For example; the leader might say ‘many of you were wondering what this means to you. You might be getting questions from family, or co-workers about ‘x’.’ Then the leader can share that they are personally working very hard at finding solutions. They can speak to the steps the organization is taking to answer their concerns, to care for the needs of the team.
The leader might also point out things that are being done to solve the problem at a higher level – these might be measures being taken by government or industry, others in the company, or other leaders in society. The goal of the leader’s voice of confidence then, is to bring security.
Now thirdly, is the Leader’s Voice of Hope. The leader’s voice of hope needs to communicate to the team that they know there is a solution to the problem, even if the pathway isn’t totally clear. That takes courage. This is where the leader can affirm both the organization’s leadership team, and all the team members that together they are finding solutions. This is also where the leader can invite the team to share any positive ideas they have for solutions.
This voice of hope is so important, because the only people who find solutions are people who believe that there are solutions. So the goal of the leader’s voice of hope is to bring belief to the team. In other words, to engage them mentally, and emotionally towards solutions.
Now once the leader has communicated with the voice of reason, the voice of confidence, and the voice of hope, it’s important that the leader gives their people two things:
Firstly, they need to give them something positive to look forward to. For example, they might say ‘I look forward to coming out of these challenges stronger and closer, because we are going to find better and newer innovative ways to serve our customers’.
And they also need to give their team something simple to do. It might be a ‘best idea’ competition. Maybe something as simple as to go for a walk every day, or think back on challenges they have solved in the past. It might be a family tip, or something positive they want to do for the environment. But the leader needs to give them something simple, and practical to do. And maybe even let the people know that when you see them next, you will ask them about it.
So in summary, the leader’s voice needs to say:
I am here, and bring reason.
I am with you, and bring security.
And needs to say, we are going to find an answer, and bring hope.
Then needs to say, here’s what I need to today, because people need to be busy doing good work.
Now one last thing – if your team needs to hear your voice weekly when times are good, then they need to hear your voice more often, maybe even daily in challenging times. So let’s be that voice of reason, that voice of confidence, and that voice of hope, and let’s lead well!