Relationships in business are expected, but they mean nothing without value.
We receive cold calls all the time, it's shocking how bad they are. There is little to no prep for the majority of them and more people are attempting to be challengers. The Challenger Sale is an awesome book and we're seeing many organizations implement the concepts with their sales force. It's an exciting shift. But you can't just flip a switch and be effective in challenging – it takes a focus on learning, practicing, development. It takes grace.
It's one thing to be prepared to challenge the market; it's a whole other to then challenge with grace.
Grace in a business context can be defined as:
- simple elegance or refinement of movement
- a controlled, polite, and pleasant way of behaving
- bringing honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s attendance or participation
Grace means truly listening and thinking first, both internally and externally, to understand how to bring insight in a relevant, refined, and productive manner. It's tough but it’s also worse to not think before acting.
As we collaborate with organizations ranging from Fortune 500's to start ups, too often we see great ideas falling flat because of the way companies act internally. That internal strategy meeting has produced great new ways to help buyers, yet once it's time to bring them to market, they're not successful. Well before communicating with buyers, I think this disconnect starts with the way we act internally – teams collaborating with grace leads to value. Lack of grace leads to silos and silos separate.
Think Before You Act
The next time you want to reach out to a buyer and challenge a situation – slow down and think, would this person or team appreciate the feedback and learn, or am I interrupting without value?
This question demonstrates that you are reflecting on the context, that you really care.
Before challenging buyers, genuinely empathize with them. This will help you build solutions together, as one team. Respond with grace to create collaboration over time that delivers long-term impact in how business gets done.
Lead with Grace
I think back to the many successful leaders who I've had the privilege to work with. They weren’t afraid to speak their minds, but they did so in an elegant way, focused on solutions, not negatives. They lead their company and markets with a composed level of confidence, expert listening, and the ability to bring out the best in their teams.
Social media amplifies their voice and you see leaders act with grace online. For example, they will engage the market with valuable insight, answer a support question, or recognize the great work done by their teams. How many times have you seen an email misinterpreted or said something online you wouldn't say in person? We all fall into this trap – that one liner is so easy to fire off. It's about quality over quantity.
Let's continue to challenge each other - that drives progress and innovation. But let's not forget to act with grace when doing so, online and offline. It's a huge opportunity to create positive impact.