Leader as a Salesperson

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that the impact lasts in your absence”  – Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

As I interact more and more with Leaders in my sessions and meetings, one thing I notice emerging rapidly is the fact that Leadership is Salesmanship… simply put, today, an effective Leader is a Salesperson who has to sell – whether it’s a Vision or Ideas or Thoughts to his Circles of Influence.

In today’s Multi-Level Competitive Environment and the Age of Social Media, selling is everywhere. Every stage of selling includes a level of Customer Acceptance and Acknowledgement. I often say in my sessions, that The Sales Person Persuades the Unpersuaded.

The critical question – Are we Telling Or are we Selling? According to me, the element which differentiates between Good and Great lies in the two words – TELLING OR SELLING … Telling is stating what we have to offer and Selling is offering what the customer requires – so let’s put them in the context of a Leader and a sweet spot emerges.

Leadership is the Art and Science of gaining a Buy-In using a combination of various Leadership Skills. The Leader’s Value Proposition is Realizing the Vision and Gaining Stakeholder’s Acceptance. Now when these two align, we create Leadership Impact and Presence. The Onus is, and will always be, on the leader to sell the Vision to the Stakeholders.

Leaders need to constantly Sell and not Tell. Successful Leaders use Multiple Techniques and Processes such as Opening Lines, Image Creation, Understanding Requirements, Storytelling, Objection Handling and Closing. In sales, the process traditionally has been Pre Call, Closing and then Relationship Building. Whereas in the Leadership journey, the process emerges as Vision, Execution and Employee Engagement.

I call Leadership as the power of the 3Vs.


In a leader’s endeavor, his Proposition is towards his Circles of Influence.

Emotion is the Power of Connecting with employees.

And Fulfillment is felt through the Employees’ Engagement with the Organization.

When we look back at history, we realize that great Leaders were also great Salespeople – with great Beliefs and Commitment. Leaders like Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs, right down to the current generation of successful worldwide leaders.

As I often reiterate “A leader is a factory of Thoughts and Emotions that creates the Persuasion for his Vision”.

So, Keep Leading or rather as we say, Keep Selling.



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