Every business owner needs and benefits from leadership at various stages of growing their business.
In this blog post you’ll be introduced to practical leadership tips for staff management and smoother business growth. You’ll learn a powerful employee motivation strategy and also why doctors are great examples of leaders.
Leadership is an undervalued topic in smaller businesses so it’s well worth putting some time into to learn more about it.
Leadership from other people’s examples are what inspires us to grow our businesses or to take it to another level.
Can you name half a dozen leadership skills that are seriously important for building your business? There are probably more ways leadership skills are beneficial than you can imagine.
One example to start with is that Leaderships is what your potential and existing clients want and need from your business (but will not ask for).
To understand the relevance and power of leadership as a significant, competitive and growth advantage it’s best to start with clarifying leadership skills and how that relates to business management and owning and growing your business.
Business Leadership Definition
A leader is first of all a person with a clear vision of a better future. They see (with their mind) well into the figure of what’s possible. They imagine a better business and a better world from their vision.
Elon Musk is one such leader. Look at his “hyper-loop” idea. He envisioned a way to make transportation easier.
The leader then needs to speak with passion and conviction to ‘position’ themselves as the person for the job to then guide, inspire and support their followers to achieve that vision.
A “visionary” is a leader but without the know-how to achieve it, and that’s what sets them apart from leaders. If you notice, Elon Musk then took his vision and started to make it a reality by using his Boring Company to bore the holes necessary for the hyper-loop.
All leaders have to deal with resistance to their vision, in the form of doubt and skepticism and possible strong (or violent) opposition, but that’s ‘par for the course’ and more than likely expected with the title of ‘leader’.
Leaders aren’t concerned with the opinions of others, they’re too busy taking action to achieve their vision.
Leaders don’t have all the answers though, just ideas on how it can be started and potentially achieved but what makes them different is their self-confidence and ability to back themselves to think on their feet, and keep the vision active in their mind so it’s not forgotten in tough times, and to keep inspiring followers.
This may sound like a leader has 50 or 10,000 followers but it’s not necessarily that grandiose.
A leader and leadership is required in many areas of a business, such as…
- a business owner talking to a prospect about their needs
- answering incoming phone calls by any person for the business
- copywriting on the home page, other pages or blog posts on a website
- out in the field where a supervisor has other employees to manage
- being the business owner to lead, teach and inspire employees in team meetings
All of these situations require and benefit leadership thinking.
The Role of Leadership with Prospects and Clients
Although leadership is not spoken about with prospects or clients, it’s exactly what they want and need.
The prospect who hasn’t purchased from your business is doubtful about how to obtain what they want from your business. This is especially so when you are a service provider selling intangibles.
To sell any intangible service trust of the service provider is desired by prospects. As prospects are not experts or fully educated about what service providers do in carrying out the work requires in a purchase they have doubts (from ignorance) about what they are paying for.
A leader reassures people and in selling to people, this is absolutely essential as part of the sales process, especially if you want to win sales as high or higher than competitors. Mind you this ‘reassurance’ is not spoken of in these words, its more of a process or steps taken in a sales process that reassure prospects to the point they wish to buy.
Demonstrating authority, competence and skills of the service process all help to reassure prospects they are in the hands of an expert (company or person) that they are paying for.
Demonstrating your leadership skills is important and it’s where a lot of businesses fail at doing so, both with their marketing and ‘sales’ skills, such as answering the phone or during a face to face meeting.
First of all, a fact about leader is they are always confident, or appear to be. Confidence directly relates to competence in most people’s eyes and if the person assisting a prospect doesn’t sound confident then they feel the ‘salesperson’ isn’t competent and neither is the company that delivers the service.
Confidence is obviously a separate personality trait to competence and yet the two are directly interrelated.
Speaking softly and slowly is interpreted as not-confident in society. Keep this in mind with who answers the phone in your business!
You know this yourself as you would have phoned companies, received a quiet-spoken greeting and probably felt like hanging up immediately. Everyone has had this experience, so the evidence is there that the phone answering person is critical for your business success. The annual revenue could be effected by 10% to 20% just by this one decision.
When greeting people on the phone in your business, it’s also important to not say the word “speaking” at the end. People know you are speaking and telling your name and speaking lowers your “authority”, which lowers respect and potentially trust and that hurts sales.
As mentioned about leadership is about very important subtleties in communication that have a big impact in results.
Leaders are rarely identified as “leaders”, yet they are everywhere in society.
Doctors Are a Great Example of Leadership in Action
When you go to a doctor you are wanting leadership towards a health solution and doctors are excellent at leading you to one.
Relate how a doctor deals with patients compared to how the typical business deals with prospects. The process should be the same, but it rarely ever is.
When businesses answer phones, they typically wait for the caller to ask the first and following questions. It’s the same face to face in a meeting or quote scenario at the person’s premises.
The person in the meeting typically talks to the prospect, and during the meeting answers their questions.
Now compare that to a doctor’s appointment.
First of all the doctor doesn’t expect, or want you to ask any questions, have you noticed?
In fact, they ignore your questions and will almost never answer them.
To answer questions, without knowing great details about your situation would be a guess as to exactly what the issue is you’re having.
What does a doctor do instead? They ‘diagnose’ your situation with a couple of dozen or more questions.
Leaders ask questions so followers can recognise where they are, and understand what they need to do to get to where they want to be.
A doctor, only after asking a lot of questions will eliminate possibilities to reach one conclusion and then ‘treat the problem’ with one solution.
Leaders understand exactly where the follower is and what they need to do to get to where they want to be.
In a sales situation when someone calls your business, and asks a question, don’t do what you normally do and answer it. Because if you do, the person will often ask another question, then another and price will often be the last one, and then they end the conversation with “thanks, I need to think about it’.
The person asking questions is the leader, not the one answering them. So why let people ask multiple questions when they call your business?
Instead, if they call and ask how some service you offer, reply with “Just do I can help you best, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?”
They always say yes. Because they want help, and you’ve just said ‘just so I can help you best’.
Next, start with simple questions such as, ‘Can I have your name please?’, or ‘Can I ask if you’ve purchased from our business before’ or something similar and easy.
It’s best if you don’t answer their first question immediately, until you have asked a couple of others, like ‘How did you find our number’, or ‘have you purchased (their inquiry) previously’?
You may need some more training to make this work great, but it does work great! People start to relax as they don’t feel they have to come up with all the questions, to be their own leader. This is very important, and very beneficial when you carry this out expertly.
Sales will increase by using this process, and you’d be amazed at just how much they can.
A blind manufacturing company used to answer all questions of all callers about their blinds, but the end result, including giving them an idea of price, was no sales and lots of “I’ll think about it”, in regards to organising a quote in their home.
After putting in place a full SYSTEM of communication (leadership) on the incoming phone calls, the sales from lead to client increased massively (over 1,000%). The phone calls were longer, but it doesn’t matter if sales result – do you agree? What matters is winning sales from phone calls.
There are leadership tips in meetings or quote situations too, but there are too many details on this to type them all out. Our course is built to teach every-day employees how to lead in sales situations, on the phone and face to face.
Let’s now look at leadership in regards to employees.
The Importance of Leadership with Employees
Employees want and need leadership as much as clients and perhaps even more, although they won’t use the word leadership or ask for it.
Employees look to you as their leader (as you own the business that employs them) and you have power and authority in your role as their leader.
As a leader there are powerful methods or strategies you can introduce that will improve your business overall by creating a better leader-following environment.
One such strategy is to introduce regularly, weekly team meetings. A team meeting is where ALL employees speak (about their role and tasks), it’s not a lecture where the business owner speaks and everyone nods.
When everyone speaks, in turn, this gives them recognition, which has been proven to be one of the most important (and therefore motivating) employee desires.
That said, a good leader understands recognise of both effort and positive results is super important, and criticism needs to be kept to a minimum and individually discussed (never in a group).
Introduce a weekly team meeting where everyone speaks to see what happens. Keep in mind introducing numbers or KPIs may be necessary to see a truly remarkable difference in attitudes, participation and interest in team meetings (all supplied with details in the Academy of Business Mastery).
All leaders are very dependent on their followers to carry out their vision. It all begins with the leader stating what that vision is, (and your first step too).
Have you clearly defined your vision for your business? What that simply can mean is, your two-year goal for your business.
Do you want it to grow? By what amount in two years?
How many more employees would you have by that time?
These are the simple, easy to start with questions.
Unfortunately it’s tough to set goals if you have no real idea or strategies to achieve them and this prevents a lot of business owners from even setting goals.
It’s where leadership from outside of the business is very beneficial.
Having worked with business owners for over two decades, its become very apparent that only a tiny percentage (about 2%) of all business owners have a very clear vision of what they want and are striving towards achieving.
The primary reason why they don’t have a clear vision is because there’s a lot of doubt (from ignorance) about what goals to set, what ‘realistic’ goals are and how to achieve them (why state a goal if you don’t know how to achieve it).
Leaders play a very important role in all success ventures, and self-leadership may involve knowing when to ask for help and guidance from another leader yourself.
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ method of growing your business by 50% to 100% in one or two years, however a lot of experience has shown what is possible to achieve is a lot greater than what business owners typically believe is achievable.
For example, did you know…
- You can increase net profit a lot easier than total income
- Clients (and income) are much easier to increase than leads
- Nearly every service business can increase net profit by 50% within one year
- Strategies are what grow any business and there are 21 strategy “types” – apart from lead generation
- The best strategies to increase profit cost absolutely zero to implement
- ‘People skills’ are one of the best strategy types to learn (and one of the lest indulged in)
To have a healthy respect for what you don’t know is also a great personality trait of a leader, in other words they have humility.
If a person thinks they’re a leader, and no one is following them, they’re just a dictator, going for a walk, on their own!
Leadership is one word – servitude. Leaders are there to serve their followers, and leading by example is highly recommended.
If a leader doesn’t know what to do but pretends to know, followers, when they are leaders will do exactly the same.
This is seen in businesses that have supervisors, that may become arrogant thinking their way is always the best way to carry out any task.
A great leader understands the importance is on results, not just the process.
To achieve an ideal, efficient result does it really matter too much exactly what path was taken to get their (if it’s ethical, honest, legal etc.)?
The leader is actually there in a position of influence, not for themselves so they can bask in the glory of their accomplishments, but to serve their followers needs. The good leader knows this and this is where humility becomes important.
Humility requires courage as to admit one’s limitations or to recognize one’s mistakes and own up to them generates respect. Wanting to command respect is more about control and being a dictator than it is leadership.
A great leader is loved by their followers for they make them feel and what they achieve, and may not always be lived at a given moment. The leader’s vision of a better outcome in the future needs to be passionately promoted not just once but sometimes regularly (for long term goals) so the followers start to ‘see’ it in their mind too.
The way you make your employees feel is extremely important to your long term business success. That’s because the exact energy you give to your employees is the energy they will pass onto your clients.
Some business owners feel they need to ‘treat them mean, to make them keen’, but that’s not the case, not for smart leaders. Yes, it works to a level, but nowhere near the level of positive energy towards employees.
If you want happy clients, think about ways to make your employees happy because your employees are in effect working for your clients because that’s where their wages come from.
That’s a good point to raise in your new team meetings while working together to achieve your business and common goals.