Today’s commenter on our question, are sales and leadership really the same thing is Flyn Penoyer. Flyn is a trainer and coach and inside sales expert from the California Bay area. Flyn took a similar perspective to our other commentors in that he clearly states that leadership and sales are not the same thing.
I think if this were true you would see a great number of sales manager’s with leadership skills and leading their teams. In the real world today this is unfortunately not the case.
I appreciate the argument and see his point of view. There is certainly more different in the two roles than is the same for sure. Like our previous guest Kenneth Lund, Flyn expanded on his perspective of motivation as a central factor in leadership and compared it to the persuasion of a sales role.
Leadership is not persuasion but motivation, or more correctly the catalyst of motivation in others. Leadership is about inspiring others to a goal or objective and there, is and need not be, any effort to persuade or encourage others to follow.
In his comment Flyn makes an important distinction when he identifies the catalyst of motivation. This is exactly the point we discussed in Kenneth Lund’s post. A leader does not provide his team motivation (long term anyway) rather he provides bursts of short term emotional motivation and the environment where employees choose their own level of motivation. Done well this can create ultra high levels of motivation, done poorly it can sink an entire company.
So what does Flyn have to say about the sales professional and their persuasion?
Selling is about creating value for an exchange, leadership is about catalyzing motivation in others through vision.
I agree that this is the transactional core of the sales equation. I cannot help but wonder what old Zig Ziglar would say about this though.
“Sales is a transference of emotion”
Yes I think that is what he would say. Sales is about do much more than the transaction. It is about trust, and value creation, and solving each others problems.
Well I may not agree with Flyn completely on this point but his last comment is worth noting.
You cannot buy effort…but you can inspire it to no limit if you are a great leader.
I look for agreement rather than difference and this point I agree with whole heartedly. It reminds me of a famous quote by Charles Francis
“You can buy a man’s time, you can even buy his physical presence at a given place, but you cannot buy enthusiasm… you cannot buy loyalty… you cannot buy the devotion of hearts, minds, or souls. You must earn these.”